Trim, trim, trim…

Currently doing a rewrite on a project I’ve been working on a while. This current draft is the kitchen sink draft… the last draft was good, now a lot got added to round out the story, make it bigger, move it onto a larger stage. The core story seemed to work, now it’s gotten deeper.

I hope.

What I know is, it got longer. And it has to get shorter. That page length thing is real. Even when you’re writing an epic, which this is.

I write pretty tight. My first drafts are shorter than most people’s fine cuts. But, even then, I find I can cut stuff.

And it is so SATISFYING to watch the little page count number suddenly be a page less. A line here, a line there. Two pieces of dialogue here and there.

Always asking the questions… does this line say something that got said elsewhere, in some way? is this piece of the scene, or this entire scene about someone other than the hero and his main driving problem? Cut 2 pages last night for that reason! Eureka. Can I move these two little paragraphs into one, saving a line, while not messing up the read?

Read it out loud. Do it off a printed page with your trusty red pen. Do it on the computer.

The more you do it, the better you’ll get at it. Pages will melt away. You have to just keep hammering it.

I was in a meeting recently and the producer said, “I love your dialogue. It’s so tight. Economical. You wouldn’t believe how many scripts I see where they just go on and on and on…” That felt good.

It still has to read well. It still has to make sense and feel the way you want it to. The story needs to work. Your voice has to be there. But, there is probably a lot that can go!

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2 Comments

Filed under Details, Good Writing, Rewriting, Scenes, Screenwriting

2 responses to “Trim, trim, trim…

  1. Melody Lopez

    During a workshop where Will Akers offered writing coaching ala YOUR SCREENPLAY SUCKS – writers submitted pages which he red penned and emailed back to us…and then we went over it.

    The three scenes I submitted represented the opening image/set up. Naturally, these scenes tried to show the various interactions with the characters in the lead’s life… WELL… I thought they were different…but it turns out I was in fact REPEATING myself… it was ever so subtle…but to an outsider it didn’t look/feel like I was moving the plot forward… OMG… that was invaluable to see in my own work!

    I still owe a debt of thanks to Will for showing that to me… and this trim trim trim post speaks to the very thing…and proof that WE ALL DO IT! Amateurs and professionals… what separates us is that the professional will likely catch it before someone of importance reads it Or the amateur who gets that note from another amateur may not “believe” the note and not “hear” the note and never make the change and therefor may fail to grow as a writer to help them leave amateur status…

  2. thanks for sharing. good luck with it.

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