Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Polishing the Jet Engine

At 5:08 a.m. EST, I finally finished this damn draft. Absolutely unbelievable, how much that thing grew in the writing. I already wrote it once! And it still wanted to get bigger when I wrote it the second time.

I sound bitter, but I'm not. I'm just not as excited as probably some people (including me) are when they finish a rough draft, because this rough draft is actually also a second draft. It should have been smoother and quicker and resulted in something much more finished-looking than this.

Now, there are good reasons why this is not the case. The first draft had kind of a pathetic plot, necessitating pretty much a page one rewrite. So as noted in my previous post, the is the jet engine to the first draft's steam engine.

But still. It took a long freakin' time. This is the kind of script that should be 100 pages. It's 148 pages. I have to cut a third of this thing. And most of it feels important.

I know, I know, everyone thinks all of his material is important. I get that. But unlike some other writers (the ones I call "bad"), I actually try to make all my scenes mean something, not just be fun or funny or exciting. Probably that's because without some sort of character development, I wouldn't be able to make most of it fun or funny or exciting.

So I now have to cut probably at least 30 pages of story that I think actually matters.

Plus, I kind of have the feeling that one reason it's so long is my paragraph structures. I break paragraphs often. My action is all diced up into little manageable chunks, often one sentence long.

This makes for some really long scenes, purely from a page-count standpoint.

I'm not sure what to do about that. I have a feeling if you actually shot this movie, it would come in closer to 120 minutes than 148 minutes.

But readers and managers and agents and producers like thin scripts. Thus, I must keep the pages down.

So my rewrite now commences. I need a progress bar like Emily, so I can show how I reach my goal of being done with major rewrites by February 22.

How do I find one of those? Anyone know?

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Building the Jet Engine

I know my two faithful readers have been wondering what happened to me, and here's my explanation, but I warn you: you won't like it.

Here it comes ...


You know you want it ...

Okay then, fine! The explanation is:

I've been working my ass off.

That's right, I've now become the thing that all blogging writers hate: someone who, when offered extra time to blog, chooses to actually write instead. You know it, baby.

I would love to follow up on The Explanation by saying that all that dedication has paid off with a finely-crafted and ready-for-querying script, but the fact is that it's only gotten me a very, very rough and not-even-quite-finished rough draft.

I did finish the ending to my own current satisfaction, but I went right back to work on the beginning I'd never quite gotten to work how I wanted, so it doesn't count.

But hopefully this week is the week. Or tonight the night, who knows?

Anyway, there's this Alex Epstein quote that I'm too lazy to look up, but I can remember it enough to make the point. It goes: "You don't want to be left polishing an old steam engine when you could have a brand new, dirty, smelly jet engine instead."

And that's how I feel right now. I'm almost done building my jet engine. Sending it to the detailing crew for cleanup and paint is a mere anticlimax away.

So stretch ye the metaphors as you will—I'm going to be over here, working away.