God Is In The Details

I’m sitting here working on my pirate novel. Still. Amazing how long it takes to actually write a novel. Hell, I finished the first draft in October, I think. Maybe September. And I’m still beavering away. With great hope, I might add.

But wow, the devil or god is in the details.

When you’re flinging 61,000 words around, there is a ton of room for error. Especially as some things change and some do not. This is also true for a screenplay, but, in comparison, a screenplay is short. At least it seems that way to me.

What I’m driving at is the idea that you need to make sure that logic or continuity or details don’t kill you. Is she wearing a red silk dress on page 120, but then on page 202, she is suddenly wearing the barmaid’s dress from an earlier draft? Which pirate has knives and which has a sword? Where does he wear his knife — around his waist, or on a sash over his chest?

I’m about to change the lead bad guy’s name from Jack to Bart because, duuh, every pirate lately has been named Jack. So I’ll do a global change, but I better make sure “Jack” doesn’t appear as a part of a word any place. What a nightmare.

Plus, the logic flaw that led to this post… the bad guy, 300 years ago, ran the hero’s girlfriend through with a sword. She died. And now, 300 years later, the hero (or sidekick, really, cause the 12 year old boy is the hero!) sees her tombstone… that all sounds swell, until I realized that, “Hey, dumbass, if she died 300 years ago, she didn’t have a son who became the hero’s great, great, great, great, something grandfather… and the map would not have been in the family sea chest for generations.” I’ve done a lot of read throughs on this puppy, and only just found that GIANT mistake. Better now than later, I can assure you.

It’s tough to keep all this logic straight, but you must. It’s fun, but agony at the same time.

And, oh yeah, my computer got a virus, so the whole book may be lost, or whatever the most recent changes were from the last time I saved. I’m working off the hard copy now and praying the computer guy can find the virus and fix it. Cross your fingers for my pirate book.

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14 Comments

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14 responses to “God Is In The Details

  1. Yikes. I definitley hope you didn’t lose it!!!

  2. Melody Lopez

    At least you have a hard copy…but hopefully it wasn’t too bad a virus… and they get it for you…External hard drives sounds like a good purchase in near future for back up and those USB keys are great for back ups too…I learned that after I lost my super crazy cool budget spreadsheet that I spent over 80 hours developing for home use…and we had a crash…but I got it recovered…hope the same luck for you!

  3. It’s funny how writing a decent script is a lot like writing a novel in that you, the author, hold the entire universe in your imagination. Sure a screenplay is shorter but a story is a story, right? I figure if you can see your story move in a continuous manner in your mind’s eye, then you know you’re on to something (and you can be reasonably sure the dress stays red because you’ll “see” it when it steps into scene.)

    Also, on a more practical note: you can do that global search and replace by adding a space before and after your search term. That will get “Jack” and leave “jacket” alone. I learned that one the hard way.
    Cheers.
    /djw
    THE STORY SPOT

    • yourscreenplaysucks

      I too learned the hard way by changing some word to some other word and pressed the key that changed them all and suddenly half the words in my script were something I didn’t want… I remember, sweating, and closing the file without saving so I wouldn’t have to go through it word by word. Not a mistake you make twice.

      I just went through my book and found the shoreline was a mile from the house on page 9 and a quarter of a mile on page 200. Stuff like that doesn’t happen in a screenplay because it doesn’t take THAT long to write one. Or it least it seems to happen less, and there aren’t so many words piled up, hiding your mistakes…

  4. elaine

    I admire anyone who can be bothered to write novels. +60K words sounds like waaayyy too much work to me. My screenplay just came in at 20K, and that was hard enough.

    For backing up your work, I recently discovered DropBox (https://www.dropbox.com/). The basic version is free, and it works like a charm. My stuff is *automatically* backed up to their server, and I *automatically* have a synched copy on both the computers I use. I don’t have to remember to do anything. It’s like magic.

    My computer can explode, my laptop get run over by a car, and my house burn down all on the same day, but the latest copy of my script will still be safe and sound :0)

    The only downside is that you need to be connected to the Internet, but for most people, that’s not much of a constraint.

    • yourscreenplaysucks

      Is that like Carbonite? It’s $50 a year, but it’s set it and forget it. Unless, of course, it’s some big scam, and if you ever need it, your stuff’s not there…

      • elaine

        I didn’t know Carbonite, but I’ve just taken a look. I’d say yes, they do the same thing, but DropBox is cheaper (free!) and more powerful. Not only can you synch between machines, you can choose to share docs with others if you’re working on a joint project.

        I’ve only been using it for a month or so, but so far I’m very impressed.

      • Melody Lopez

        I think nothing is guaranteed back up plan.

        I recently learned my earlier suggestion for a USB key is flawed. I thought I lost it the other day.

        Right when I was about to hyperventilate, I found it UNDERNEATH MY CAR.

        Mr. Akers book tells us to make a habit of printing the new pages one writes…so they can be looked over (at a minimum) but to then keep writing…soon…you’ll have all 110 pages of your screenplay…

        if you follow that guidance… any lost electronic versions…isn’t lost material… …its just material that needs retyping….

  5. Melody Lopez

    Nothing is fool proof.

    Even my earlier suggestion for a USB key is flawed. I thought I lost it the other day.

    Write when I was about to hyperventilate, I found it UNDERNEATH MY CAR.

    Mr. Akers book tells us to make a habit of printing the new pages one writes…so they can be looked over (at a minimum) but to then keep writing…soon…you’ll have all 110 pages of your screenplay…

    if you follow that guidance… any lost electronic versions…isn’t lost material… …its just material that needs retyping….

    • Melody Lopez

      the darn system kept telling me the post was a duplicate….

      so the typo of write that should be right… is egg on my face…

      sadly, even spell check would miss that error..

      • Melody Lopez

        and the reason I was gonna hyperventilate wasn’t because I didn’t have other electronic copies of the work (I save it on a laptop and a desk top and print hard copies of the pages)

        I was gonna hyperventilate cause I worried someone would find it and steal it!…(needless to say I’m flattering myself into thinking its even worth stealing! LOL)

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