Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Hi Ho, Hi Ho, It's Off to Work We Go....


Some time back in March or April I was suddenly inspired to write a fantasy romance action movie. My main goal was to write something that'll appeal to the pre-teen/ teen girls. I wanted to create the same feeling girls get after seeing Kate & Leopold, except instead of "sigh...I want a 19th century Duke as a boyfriend", change that to "sigh...I want a thief from a distant land as a boyfriend."

Both the rough draft and first draft got very positive response from my female readers, but they also pointed out that it's a total mess. The structure was in shambles, lots of things didn't make sense. I got some bones but didn't have the flesh. But, through the murky disorderly script, they saw something they liked. Some scenes created the reaction I wanted. That was really all that mattered, since I don't mind fixing up a script as long as it has appeals. The worst that can happen is to write a perfect script, and no one wants to read it. Or just no one wants to your script, period.

The next draft I clarified a lot more of the world. Like writing any fantasy, I pulled out my hair trying to figure out how to get the logic in my head to make sense on page. Or figure out which of the logic in my head doesn't actually make logic sense. I wanted to create a Greek pantheon universe, where the people don't view the gods and rituals as a "religion" but as a way of life. Even after setting up clearer rules and putting in the god's story, my fellow leagues still pointed out a lot of things that didn't make sense, but more than that, I had to fix up my structure. The inciting incident was happening on page 50. Disaster.

I am now on the third draft of the script, and it seems to be the only thing that's going well currently in my life. The inciting incident is happening on pg 15. The end of first act at pg 37. Much closer to the mark. I've really strengthened my antagonists, and I have a clear view of where is this going scene by scene (for the next 30 pages anyway...). On the other hand, I look back and realize that, much of the rough draft is gone. The scenes that I originally wrote for the squeal factor are almost all tossed out to make way for plot-focused scenes. That, or maybe there're still there, I just no longer see it objectively. (I have a bad habit of hating all my jokes after reading it 3 times.) Sometimes I'm afraid that while making it a clearer, better, more professional script, I'm also butchering it. And maybe, the 4th or 5th draft what I have to do is to go back to the very beginning, the original goal, and have my focus for that draft be to make it young and fun again. Not that, er, it's not young and fun now.

4 comments:

Onyx said...

I agree with you about how sometimes when you're incorporating changes that make your script better, you somehow feel like you're butchering your script. It's strange. There have been times where I know the writing I'm doing is making the script better, but I just want to stop because somehow the writing isn't nearly as fun as when I first started banging away pages. That would be an awesome place to get to as a writer, being able to approach a re-write with the same joy and excitement that you have during a first draft.

DOA said...

Agreed, although I wonder if that's actually a stage that you can achieve. I still enjoy rewrites, but with the same kind of feeling as when I'm doing a puzzle, and never the same kind of joy as when I'm writing something from nothing... Speaking of which, how is YOUR rewrite going? You're still sounding quite sane. Is that a good sign or bad?

Sassafras said...

If you don't add some squeal factor back into that script, I'm going to make you pay . . . in charcoal candy preferably.

DOA said...

Oh no! I'm out of charcoal candy...how about "milky flavored tea"?
Squeal factor most definitely needed, as it's turning into Rufus being the one who needs some saving....