Wednesday, February 08, 2012

The Writing Week (Vol. 5) part 213 - The Ending Trickles to the Beginning

The League had its February meeting last night, and once again we focused primarily on my demon thriller. Everyone else is in some stage of development on their latest script or novel, so there weren't many tangible pages presented for the gathering. So that we'd have something to read and discuss - and since it would help me craft the plot of this increasingly logistically difficult script - I sent out the rules of the world that I'd worked on a couple weeks back.

The discussion was pretty fruitful. Doing their duty as scrupulous readers, they brought up some good questions about the machinations of the characters and their interactions. If this happens, then why do they need that to be a rule? Why do they have to submit to this power? How will you reveal all this?

This last question - the one that asks me to elaborate upon how I'm going to convey all the various rules and nuances - is pivotal. Luckily, my group members are astute and clever visual thinkers, and as a group we were able to piece together a few strong approaches to showing and not telling. Still, their ruminations made it clear that I still have a great deal of work to do in prepping how to best inform the audience of the ways in which my world works. Take, for example, Children of Men, a movie I enjoy. However, there's a blatantly expositional scene early on in which Michael Caine's character informs Clive Owen of the whys and hows of their society, despite the fact that Owen's been living in it for nearly two decades. This is clearly just for the audience, but too simple a device to seem organic. It is also the exact type of thing I wish to avoid.

During the meeting, I brought to the group one of the largest question I had and still have about the material. Namely, it deals with the ending of the movie. I've figured out how I want it to end and what it would mean for this ending to happen, but I was and am unsure of technically how it will occur in the story. Normally, I would let the writing take care of that. However, the ending and the rules that govern it is so contingent upon rules set up in the beginning of the script that I can't just wait to get there to work it out. More than with any other script I've written, the ending in this one is dependent upon hard and solid rules, which I am still working out. 

The group offered me a great suggestion that not only makes certain things easier to convey, but actually ramps up the stakes at the end, as well. Naturally, I decided to adopt this new approach. Yet, I am still left with the gaping hole before me of what in their world enables the protagonist to defeat the antagonist in a reasonable manner. 

All told, this script is shaping up to be quite a unique one for me of late. There are next to no guns or fighting in it. The material will be dialogue-cenric. And, what's more, I can't move forward with it until the rules and machinations are clear as day to me. Part of me feels that such an involved script is the wrong direction to go in, when I'm at a time where I'm trying to get something to my agent as quickly as possible. However, if I pull it off, I have a good feeling that this could be a very strong piece of screenwriting. 

Time will tell.