Monday, September 10, 2012

The Writing Week (Vol. 5) part 243 - Started a New Script

Working with a partner has been a very positive experience for me so far. One of the biggest unforeseen bonuses has been that there's someone holding me back from jumping the gun on starting a new script prematurely. When working by my lonesome, it's easy enough to say to myself, "this outline is ready; might as well jump into the page stage now." Having my collaborator, W.A., along with our producer, however, has made me hold off until the outline was about as ready to go as we could make it.

I'll admit, I used to loathe the thought of outlines. Granted, this was in college when I was a much more novice and pretentious writer. I thought that no good story could be old without giving it the freedom to roam where it might. Outline? Psh. That would only stifle my creativity. For the character to come alive and the plot to go where it needed, I had to strip away all confines and let the beast roam free. 

The result was usually trash.

In the years since, I've become heavily dependent on my outlines. I don't like to embark upon a script without one, and I'll generally do at least one full pass at an outline before getting anywhere near Movie Magic. For the sci-fi collaboration in question this week, I've done seven - count them, seven - full outlines. Probably about a hundred pages or more in different drafts. That tally doesn't even include the versions that preceded my involvement in the project. I came into the script, back in February, to a an outline, that was the result o many other years of development. And by saying I have done seven, I mean there have been seven major incarnations of the outline since I became involved. There have, as with any writing project, been multiple other revisions that were more edits than actual changes. Seven just represents the number of new documents I have created due to overwhelming changes to the story and structure.

And you know what? Draft seven isn't perfect.

There are a lot of smaller things we still have to fix, but W.A. ans I both felt that those, many of which are dependent on visuals and minute details, are best addressed in the actual pages. So, with a solid though still not perfect outline, I finally set off onto the page stage. My hope is to get W.A. a draft of act one by the end of the week. It will be rough. It won't be edited. It will need streamlining and revisions. But it will, if all goes according to plan, be structurally sounds, and I will ask him to focus primarily on the tone.

Off we go.