Tuesday, May 01, 2012

The Writing Week (Vol. 5) part 225 - The Necessary Outline

At long last! Two months after my collaborator, producer/director/actor W.A. and I first met about the sci-fi project we're working on together, we finally sent our revised outline off to the producer that paired us together. (Actually, two months for revising a project isn't that long at all, but whenever I finish a stage of a project and am able to send something off for review, I feel a small wave of triumph.)

Believe it or not, what we sent the producer was the fourth revision of the outline. I received one before the initial phone call W.A. and I had before we began working together. Then, based on an in-person meeting we did the week after that, I provided him with the big points from our chat and then rewrote the outline based on those. He gave me feedback, which I incorporated into a second draft. Drawing ever closer to something we were both really pleased with, we met again, and out of that came the third draft. That one seemed to require less drastic adjustments, so we met via phone. Of course, drafts three and four are very different in a lot of places, but the result was mutually pleasing to us. Now, we wait to see what if any notes the producer has. 

Naturally, the whole point of this process is to enable me to write the first draft of the script easily and effectively, and for that draft to be a very solid foundation for the final draft. Granted, projects change a lot between the outline and script stages, but we've worked out a lot of the questions and kinks in the story, so hopefully even if the story doesn't adhere, the logic of the world will. It's always impossible to anticipate every question a producer or writing partner or reader or agent or... (you get the point) will have about a script, and that's why the outlining process is so vital. As W.A. and I worked on the story, issues would arise. He would suggest a change based on something that wasn't working, and in attempting to fix it, I would realize that some other piece fell out of place. Or I would ask why something was a certain way, and in his response, he would see the solution to another problem we were grappling with.  Though not every bug or flaw might be addressed, our two minds have raised and answered an enormous number of questions at this point, which should make notes and then writing that much easier.