Saturday, March 06, 2010

One of those moments

I had that feedback from Blue Cat the other day and I was just thinking about it. There was a throwaway comment in it "In general, you have a nice writing style and a good ear for dialogue" which I already knew.

That's not arrogance (honest) I spent 17 years writing for a computer magazine targeted at the general public. This had two effects: I know how to express concepts, and do it concisely. Screenwriting requires extreme conciseness. (That last sentence, for example, started with three times the number of words.)

As for the dialogue ... well ... I hear my characters talking. It's not that I'm taking dictation, I'm the one telling them what to say, but I can hear them.

At which point, in my thought processes, I came to an abrupt halt (good thing I was wearing my seat belt). Monsters was 7th draft when I sent it out (but it was my second script ever), Air was 2nd draft, Running was 2nd draft ... they've all done well. But Tec, Une Nuit a Paris and Unit X were all a bit rubbish (Tec less so, but still...).

It dawned on me: I couldn't hear the characters in those last three or, at best, they were a bit generic.

It makes sense, of course: If a character isn't "real" that's going to come across on the page and ultimately Character is Plot, so if there characters aren't real, the plot won't be either.

This is a good positive step because it tells me what I need to do to fix those three scripts.

I'm currently reworking Running for Blue Cat, there was one particular suggestion which was very good - giving a much tighter plot - but I don't have time to implement it because it requires a complete restructuring of the script. However I'm doing a general brush-up bearing in mind the other suggestions.

That's when I'm not working on my web project.

(Got up early this morning to do all the procrastination tasks - writing this blog wasn't on my Procrastination List.)

What's on the turntable? "Emerald" by Thin Lizzy from "Live and Dangerous"