Tuesday, November 24, 2009

The Writing Week (Vol. 2) part 99 - Attacking Act Two (Again)

Five more weeks left to go in the year. Can that really be right? My calendar seems to indicate it is. Of course, these five weeks are almost a cheat. I think I'll be at work for maybe 3 and a half of them. That means, with vacations and in irregular schedule, I will have to work extra hard to maintain a regular writing routine. Unlike many years, though, this one demands a routine.

In accepting a recent offer to do development work for a large Production Company on my post-Apocalyptic spec, I have been given notes and a new direction to take the material in, but have no official timeline in which to do all that. Granted, the market will determine a bit about when we take the script out to studios (the other factor is the head producer's enthusiasm about the material). The holidays are a tricky time. Development (where not intentionally frozen) tends to stop a couple weeks into December. A lot of people are gone for Thanksgiving around now, and when they come back, they're close to dry on funds. So December is a relatively slow development month. Not a lot of sales being made then, which means not a lot of pressure on me to have the script all polished and ready to go then, either.

That said, I think the unspoken hope is that I'll have this draft done and ready to go early into January, so that we can be at the head of the sale season again. Also, the sooner I get it ready, the sooner the next step of my career can begin. So there's a clear incentive on my end, as well. What's there to hold me back, you ask? Act Two. The Dreaded Act Two, as we refer to it here at the League.

The majority of notes I got required a huge overhaul of Act Two. Despite three years out of school and three and a half in school, Act Two is still pretty problematic for me. I think I stared at a blinking cursor on a blank page more in the past two weeks while trying to figure out Act Two than I have in the past two years. Sure, I've made some breakthroughs, but it's tough. I know what my character's goals and obstacles are, where he is and where he has to go, but it's just difficult letting the pieces come together. Or is it more that I'm forcing them to come together? I've even determined roughly how many pages I'm completely writing from the ground up again, then evaluating what they used to do - all the while reminding myself that the new ones will be completely different - in an attempt to work Act Two. The key to Act Two, of course, is Act One. But that's not changing too wildly.

Anyway, I know what I have to do (stop procrastinating for one) and hope to come out of Thanksgiving weekend with that outline in hand. Act Two... One day I hope we can be friends.

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