I had finished a draft of the first part of the screen play, and it was…it was…well, I really couldn’t tell what it was! I enjoyed writing it, tremendously, but something about it just wasn’t right.
And you cannot fix a problem until you can identify it. I had no clue what was wrong with my baby script, I just knew that it stunk.
So I read it aloud to family members. It was embarrassing for me (since I knew it was bad) and for them (since they could hear it was bad). But it had to be done. I needed help. Desperately!
I was very fortunate that they were honest enough with me to tell me that it was a little sappy–that it read like a bad 1940s movie. And they were perfectly right, except it wasn’t just a little sappy, it was covered with it!
I talked through the problems with them and began rewriting, then and there. I could immediately tell the difference.
As I worked to de-sappify the script I realized that my main problem was that I was trying to stick to the outline which I had turned in last week as a class assignment. I forcing the story to stay within the outline, but the story was fighting back tooth and nail.
So while I was writing from point A to point B to point C, my story had gotten bored and wanted to visit point 5 and point 12 and point 32. I had not known that those points even existed!
I’ll tell you, that script is one good fighter. I would write a line, it would throw a punch, and POW, suddenly there was sappiness all over the place. It was quite a mess.
Assignment or no assignment, I’ve decided to negotiate a truce. I’ll toss out the original outline I was trying to follow and write a new one. That way, we’ll both be happy.
With any luck, the sap will stay in the trees, where it belongs.