Something is missing. It’s flat. It’s boring.
I have had these feelings on various occasions upon finishing a 1st draft of a script.
Even after all that pre-writing and outlining, the story is missing something. Perhaps it’s a bigger plot point, or action or something riveting that really makes the story original.
I didn’t notice when I was prepping the script. I was so excited that I thought the story had it all. This is why rewrites are so important.
Trust that you’ll find that missing piece in the rewriting process…
When this first occurred it was easy to shutdown and give up. I had gone through about five drafts of an old script and it still felt flat. I wanted to scream, even after all that digging and searching, the script didn’t have it. I had options….
I could panic. Throw it away and move on.
Or I could relax. Take a deep breath and be patient.
This recently occurred for a feature I’m writing. The first draft was junk. But I knew I would find it. I took it on with patience. I didn’t force it — forcing it results in a lot of further drafts that will be again, flat and unoriginal. But instead, I stepped back and reviewed everything.
I go back on my original notes for the script. I try and see what sparked the original idea in the first place. Sometimes those little tidbits of great stuff get lost in all the other writing.
I go back to the books. I began researching, looking for loose threads that can lead to somewhere great.
How can I change this story? What can happen? What is missing?
I am patient. I don’t force it. But I am adamant in my search for the missing piece.
I also trust my instinct when I find the missing link. I know it as soon as it pops in my head. Sometimes I’ll be writing something else, or be in the shower, or in bed, playing tennis or with my cats. I immediately find a pen and notebook to jot it down.
If I’m at my desk, alone, I will CHEER to myself. Literally, I clap my hands and say, “I got it!”
It’s a wonderful feeling. Suddenly all that bore and flatness of the story goes away and the script comes to life and hope is again, rejuvenated.
These are the joys of rewriting. These are joys of molding a story into something you love.
I am sad to say I have given up on one or two scripts, which I couldn’t “find”. That’s okay. Sometimes they still pop in my head, and a loose thread is tied. I write it down and say to myself…I’ll eventually come back to that.
I write on.
Always be writing. Everyday.