I’m changing gears here to talk about my earlier screenplay, In the Mouth of the Lion. My readers reported back several weeks ago. Based on their combined comments, I have quite a bit of work to do, a total of about 150 marks to resolve. This is now the longest punchlist I’ve ever worked with for a fiction project, 10 pages, compared to 3.6 pages, previously.
I’ve accepted the easier marks as valid and fixed those areas. That leaves about 75 notes that, for various reasons, require a lot of study.
Part of the challenge is a problematic structure, as mentioned earlier in Reasons Scripts Don’t Fly. Character introductions are contained in scenes that flow into other scenes that don’t involve the character, for just one example. See the earlier post for the full disaster. The result is a lot (10 pages or more) of “piping,” as Snyder called it–ramp up to the core story, AND another 10 pages of denoument. Oy.
I intend to fix the manuscript. I will not be submitting it anywhere. It will be placed in a box and interred in a drawer where it can be found someday. In the Mouth of the Lion will be rewritten as a novel. Novel structure is much more forgiving than screenplays.
Much of the screenplay will be retained, but I may have to add characters and separate scenes that linearize the action or otherwise simplify the manuscript. It’s way too complex and I’ve tried to include too much reality. The novel will retain a lot of that which would otherwise require trimming.
I’ve begun the novel but revisiting my character studies. More on that in the next post.
I’ve got a couple readers lined up for my new book. This post makes me nervous about what I’ll get back. Ouch, but you have to expect it. Good luck with the next draft!
Thanks, Justin. The problem isn’t a lot of notes; it’s cryptic comments, or ones that leave you with no clear course of action. Good luck with your readers!