Monday, February 16, 2009

The Writing Week (Vol. 2) part 59 - The 60-70 Slump

You've done it. Act One is a tiny spec behind you. You've coasted through the first half of act two. You nailed the midpoint; the intensity is building and the end is starting to appear on the horizon. And then it happens. The 60 to 70 Slump.

Ask most screenwriters, and they'll probably tell you that those ten pages, coming right off the high of the midpoint, are some of the most difficult to write. Act One is often a breeze. For me, it's typically the part of my script that requires the least rewriting after the first draft. The first half of Act Two is usually an OK write, though can require more attention later. But there's something about working through pages 60-70 that just makes me want to pull my hair out. I think a large part of that is the degree to which the stakes have been raised and the action is building, a huge climax has just been hit, and everything is moving quickly. Both the writer and the audience need a short breather before Act Three, which will be intense. Those ten pages in the middle of the script have to keep the pace, come down off the midpoint, and give the audience time to both recover and brace themselves for what's next.

You can probably tell that I just dealt with these ten pages. As I write this, my cursor blinks somewhere toward the middle of page 71. I know that I'm going to do some major reworking of the pages before that. Yet, I have to remind myself that this is a first draft I'm working on. First drafts are a foundation. Granted, it's nice to write a great first draft, and I don't try to write anything unreadable, but sometimes it's important to just get the skeleton of the story out and build the rest of the body later. It just sucks that pages 60-70 are a part of that body.

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