Power To Weight Ratio

Look at every scene, see how many pages you give it.  Then, look at what’s in the scene that REALLY matters to your story.  What kernels of information or story or plot movement or character development do you have to have?  Are these important “plot-moving moments” worth the number of pages you devoted to them?

Just because you write great dialogue doesn’t mean you have to be show-offy about it.

The problem with witty dialogue is that it’s fun to write and fun to read, but doesn’t always move the story.

I recently critiqued a script for a client and he had a scene that was four and a half pages long.  All that mattered in the scene was the hero had to buy a toy, in a hurry, for a kid’s birthday party.  He rushes into a store, has a couple of false starts, and then buys a toy for the kid.  It was a well ordered series of sight gags… odd toy, more unusual toy, then really bizarre toy and he runs out.  But there was all this chit-chat between him and the store owner that, while entertaining and well written, in no way rated four and a half pages.

Out of a 110 page script, 4.5 pages is a lot.  Far too many for the importance of the scene  He eventually cut it to a little less than a page.  Works fine.

 Always ask, “Is this plot machinery worth the page weight I am giving it?”


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