Monday, October 24, 2005

One shoddy draft and I'm handing out advice!

After a pointer from Warren at The Screenwriting Life I read the first column on Word Player. Here it is/

The important bit is half way down titled: The Warner Bros. Hallway Test. Read it!

Forget subplot, witty dialog and all the rest (for now at least), and work out what your story is about. When you have done that, you can work your art.

After reading the column I wondered about my Good Guys first draft. If I had no knowledge of the story, and stopped after reading the first 40 pages, would I be able to say what the story was about?

No! Not really.

Now my script notes make even more sense!

I always knew what the story was about, but when I approached my script I kind of gave it some artistic license and went off telling the story in my own way. I knew the beats and put them in, but I left the most important bit out of the writing process. The planning! I just let the story wander up to each beat at its own pace. I did write an outline showing all the beats, but didn't make any notes as to the pace of the story.

So my advice (Ha! like I'm qualified to give any) is this:

Work out what your story is about and work out its main beats. Then draw out a little time line chart (on paper or in your head), showing pages rather than minutes, and write down where each beat must happen. Then apply all your witty dialog and clever writing crap around that.

A few months ago I would have dismissed that advice, but I'll listen to myself and I've time lined draft number two in my head already.

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