a pro script reader ponders movies, reading, writing and the occasional personal flashback

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Well, I've Done It Now

So I've been completely rebuilding the first act of my supernatural thriller, to try and play with a few good notes I got, particularly the one about jumping into my story later and leaving a little more initial mystery to my main character.

I figured that worse comes to worse, it's an alternate draft, that I can discard if it isn't working.

The immediate benefit is good; at the minimum, lopping off the first 12 pages tightens up my page count considerably. And though there are a few babies I'll have to kill off in eliminating the whole prologue sequence, at the same time a lot of the ideas at play here will be as effective -- if not more effective -- simply being revealed by my main character along the way.

So initially, it's all good. I came up with a scenario to reinvent the character a bit, and to completely retool her connection to the ultimate villain.

Then comes last night.

I woke up, around 4:45 AM, with some radical rewrite ideas buzzing around in my head. It has been awhile since I had something like this happen, and it's good -- shows my subconscious is chewing over the material, and that it knows how to bang on the wall when there's something important that it wants me to look at.

(I picture my subconscious as played by Philip Seymour Hoffman, curled over grubby notes made in crayon, in the corner of a windowless room).

So I lay there, half-awake, chewing over these ideas, which basically break down into a pair of concepts. One I discard fairly quickly; though the idea has its pluses, at the same time it brings a lot to the script that isn't going to ultimately play well in the story.

But the other idea.... Cripes. It works.

But in a dark, dark way, that changes the screenplay forever.

So I got up, and went downstairs, and sat at the dining room table, and just spent 45 minutes making notes in longhand. Figuring out how this new sequence is going to play out, and whether it is too dark and intense for the script.

And it still works. And it becomes obvious to me that maybe the script needs this... thing to happen on page 12, to really spin the story and kick into the badass end-of-act-one stuff, which will now more properly start around page 20, and not page 28.

And it's hard to retreat from now, because Pandora's Box is open. This version of the script will always be in my mind, even if I don't write it.

And it's calling to be written.

And it's going to ripple through the rest of the script. In a good way, I think. But spinning a lot, differently.

It's like the moment when you realize how incredibly, incredibly gay "Top Gun" is, and you never watch it the same way again. Not that the new idea has anything to do with homosexuality. (Not that there's anything wrong with that. But really, isn't it time to rescue Katie from building 7 at the Scientology Center, and deprogram her?)

Anyhow, the point is this --

My script will never be the script it was yesterday, even if I want it to.

Just this one idea has changed things forever.

Hopefully that's a good thing.


At 12:35 PM, Blogger writergurl said...

Nothing like the muse beating you over the top on your head. AND, waking you up to do it!

Good for you!

At 1:41 PM, Blogger Brett said...

Dammit-- what did you change now?

I demand an update.

At 1:57 PM, Blogger Scott the Reader said...

When I execute a pass at it, you'll see it. Don't worry.

At 2:53 PM, Anonymous Leif Smart said...

I'm dying to see this story now!
It certainly sounds intriguing and if your passion for it is any indiction, it will be something special!

At 12:45 PM, Blogger PJ McIlvaine said...

Yes, it's a good thing. I've had this happen to me. :)

At 7:59 AM, Blogger Julie O. said...

Right on, WriterBoy.

Write on.



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