There’s this thing that happens with writers, like with runners, that once you break through that wall, you can just go and go. I don’t know the running thing from personal experience, as I’ve made it abundantly clear that I hate to run, but it’s something I’ve heard. But as a writer, I definitely hit my stride last night. Today I feel almost hung over from the sheer mental exhaustion, but it’s a good feeling. With the exception of a few minor tweaks, the script rewrite is done! Success! What I thought would take a few more days, at the least, wrapped itself up in the wee hours of the morning after a very long stint.
Of course after such a marathon, my mind would not stop racing. It still took a while to block out the ideas, that continued to come, long enough to succumb to sleep. And today, I don’t even want to look at it. And I’m not sure I should. A little distance would probably do us both some good. (*This is something I’ve discussed before, like with any relationship, sometimes a little separation is healthy.) Yes, I have a deadline, a partially self-imposed one, but my eyes and brain need the down time.
This particular rewrite had been lingering for some time. I had the entire third act to rewrite. That pesky act had always been problematic. It was like a kid who didn’t want to play with the friends he had invited over. They were all in a room together, but it was awkward, and I had no idea had to get them to play nice. They didn’t agree on anything I put forward to obtain a happy ending. An outside source, an established writer, and one of the few friends I’ve made since moving here, offered me some insightful and invaluable feedback. When you’re too close to something, some times you can’t see what the problems are because in your head, it reads differently. My friend’s advice caused me to look at the entire script through different eyes, I saw the holes, knew how to fix most of them, but each time I attempted the rewrite, something was holding me back. I just didn’t want to do it. Maybe it was because, faults and all, I thought it was done. Or very close to. (And in writing that, I realize that I have been lying to myself for a while.)
Screenwriting is not the same as novel writing. Once you sell your script, unless they keep you around (which is rare), you only have the opportunity to do one more rewrite to the big wigs specifications and then they’ll bring in a slew of other writers to alter all those hours of hard work, sweat, sleepless nights, and tears. They will destroy your beloved and if you’re lucky, once it’s been mutilated past recognition, they’ll ask you to come back and fix it, probably exactly to the point to which you originally sold it. Or so I’ve heard. It’s kind of depressing. I’m not sure if this was the thought that was bouncing around as I stared at my baby, knowing it needed doctoring, and yet couldn’t bring myself to do it…knowing it was going to require at least another rewrite once it went out into the world, it’s just exhausting. But it needed it in order to start the whole process. Catch-22.
But I was still faced with the hard truth that I didn’t know how to fix Act 3. Then I listened to my characters. They knew what to do. And the marathon began. The script is now 20 pages shorter, the third act reads completely different from where it began, and the kids seem to be playing well together. I’ll give it a good read tomorrow and see how I feel about it then. As for now, I’m off to enjoy a celebratory beverage.
Best of luck in your writing efforts!!
*I’d like to apologize for any errors…I can barely see straight, let alone think clearly right now. *I’d also like to say I looked this poised last night, but no…image from megrosoff.co.uk