A good guy needs a bad guy

I may have had a brainstorm regarding my antagonist.  A really good one.

I’d mentioned before about the good suggestion from the writing group about how maybe the guy who steals Lucy’s train is somehow connected to her past.

A good idea.

As I’d also mentioned, I’ve been struggling with a more…tangible goal for Lucy besides catching the real thieves.

So today in the traffic studio, I worked on fine-tuning the opening sequence, which took a little longer than expected.  Almost there, though.

But while I was working, the idea about Lucy’s goal kept creeping into my mind.  I also kept going back to her history with the antagonist.  What would it be?  Details are still forthcoming on that one.

I also stumbled onto the idea of having the antagonist play a more significant part in Lucy’s past.  A really significant part.  On several levels.

I’d go into more details, but I’m still working on it.  Suffice to say, this could represent a significant development in terms of what Lucy wants.

And it could be the break I’ve been waiting for.

So long, rules!

One of the first things I learned about screenwriting was when something had to happen.

Page 3 is statement of theme.  Page 10 is your inciting incident, and so on and so on.

I mention this because today was about reinforcing what I already have for the first act.  I opted to start with my thrilling opening sequence.  All I had written down was ‘rousing action sequence,’ which really doesn’t grab you.  So I jotted down some notes about what I wanted to happen and got to work.

After a few false starts, it started to come together.  I keep going back to RAIDERS, with Indy and Alfred Molina in the temple, followed by the escaping-the-natives/introducing-Belloq sequence.  So much info and detail about each character in a space of minutes. Incredible!  Could I pull off the same feat?  Maybe.

It’s a little different when your main character is a train engineer.  What can they do besides drive a train?  One of many things I had to figure out.  But then the mental reminder that this is still the first outline, so things will change down the line.  But for now, she can drive a train and is pretty good with a gun.

As I worked on ramping up the conflict, I couldn’t help but notice that this was growing well beyond the original 3-page limit I had set up.  It was reaching at least 6.  Possibly 7.  And all of that would really mess up having the inciting incident on page 10.  Yikes!

But the more I thought about it, the less it mattered.  I was trying to have a thrilling introduction to my main character (plus her sidekick), and if it went beyond 3 pages, then so be it.

I’m also trying to figure out how to end the whole sequence.  I have a pretty good idea of what it will be.  It’s working out the details that’s the hard part.

-Something somebody at the writing group said last week also struck a nerve, and I’m really glad I wrote it down:  What’s at stake if Lucy fails?

This has been bothering me ever since.  What WILL happen?

What I have now under the ‘what she wants’ label is: to catch the real thieves.  Which is okay, but seems like it should be bigger.  Something a lot of people can relate to.

Again, working out the details is pain in the butt.

No Movie of the Moment tonight, but we did watch the original DEATH RACE 2000 the other night.  Wow, was that cheesy.  Once you suspend disbelief about everything going on, there are some funny moments.  Unfortunately those were few and far between.

As K pointed out, it was more interesting during the race and less when they were off the road.  Interesting early performance from Stallone.

All things being equal, we may put the Jason Statham-starring one on our Netflix queue.  For purely academic curiosity, of course.

Just…a little bit…more!

As I’ve stated before, one of the great things about where I work is that sometimes there’s so much downtime between reports, I get to work on non-radio stuff.

Especially scripts.  I don’t know why, but more often than not, I’m more productive in the studio than on my couch or at the desk in the home office.  Crazy.

Since the past two days were holidays, I worked the 5am-noon shift.  Amazingly, there isn’t a whole lot of traffic during the morning of major holidays, which means I had a lot of time to work with.

Which is what I did.  Oh boy, did I.

I was able to bring my laptop in yesterday, with the intent of getting something done with LUCY.  I like how the first act is developing, but it feels like it’s >this< close to being where I want to be.

Earlier in the week, I had worked on inserting the sidekick angle. So far, not too bad.  Still need to work on that opening sequence though.

But I was able to expand a bit on the first ten pages, fleshing out Lucy and the sidekick a bit more.  Based on suggestions from the writing group, I slightly altered what happens at page 10, and was able to edit out some extraneous scenes between that and page 17 (or at least what’s supposed to be there).

The rest of the first act also came together.  While I like the way it’s going, I worry that the sidekick doesn’t have enough to do.  But everything is still in the early development stage, so there’s still lots of time to fix this and that.

My goal today was to try and venture forth into Act Two (which I have a good idea how it’s going to start out), but there were two things bothering me:

-what happens if Lucy fails?  It has to be something really big.  Something majorly important. I have a few ideas, but nothing that really says “this is it!”

-While I have a connection between Lucy and the main antagonist (thanks again, writing group!), I need something in there so logical to allow/enable Lucy to go after him, that there’s no doubt that’s what she needs to do.  This is quite an obstacle, but I bet I’ll come up with something sooner than I think.  I’ve done it before.

In the meantime, I may start working out the next sequence or two, just to see if I can make things connect smoothly.

Besides, I’m doing the midday shift two days this coming week, so you just know I’ll get results.

-Going against my better judgment, I entered the logline contest again, this time with an entry I’ve never tried before.  I have my doubts, but you never know.

Right after I did that, I looked at my logline for LUCY and realized it’s just okay.  It doesn’t grab you.  That’s something else I’ll work on this week.  I want it to be so kickass you can’t help but think “that sounds so AWESOME!”

So for now, the toil and drudgery continues…

Okay, maybe

Good meeting with the writing group last night.  I read the first act of LUCY, and got bombarded with questions.  Some I was even prepared for.

When I explained I liked the action aspects (as did some of the members), I wanted to try and expand on Lucy as a character.  They responded with suggestions covering aspects I hadn’t thought of.  Which is how these things usually work for me.

Somebody suggested having the bad guy be connected with Lucy in such a way as to provide a good, solid twist later on in the story.  Maybe.

There were comments about how historically accurate this was supposed to be.  That I’m not too concerned with.  It’s fictional.

Another suggestion was that Lucy needs a sidekick, or else it isn’t believable that she can do all the things I have her doing up to this point.  She’s not superhuman.  I wanted to avoid the idea, but more than one person made a good argument about why it would work.

I gotta admit.  They made some good points.

And since the story takes place in the Civil War era, I had considered putting a character who used to be a slave somewhere in there.  This could work.  But would it fit in the story?  Oh yes.  Quite nicely.

Still haven’t worked out the bounty hunter angle, but I’m getting there.  Slowly, but still getting there.

While I was hoping to start the slight rewrite/moving forward phase today, I had to put on my metaphoric Dad hat and take V to assorted appointments.  So my self-imposed assignment begins tomorrow.

And still looking forward to it.

But I think what was especially nice was as the evening was wrapping up, my friend, the one who I was in the previous group with and we kept the last remnants of said group alive as long as we could, said she really liked what I had so far for LUCY.  That means a lot.

Again, there feels like a ton of potential in this story.  And I plan to make the most of it.

-*Sidenote:  When I originally came up with this idea, I developed the logline for it.  Which has since changed.  Since then, I have submitted said logline to the usual contest.  That’s about four weeks, complete with four straight losses.  So I’m calling it quits.  I’d rather focus on getting LUCY developed and written, rather than worrying about if my logline passes muster.

Besides, I won once, and that’s enough.  I shouldn’t be greedy.  Yeah, it would be nice to win again, but the script is more important.

Words to live by indeed.

Urgh. Not again

Like it does with the roads and traffic, a rainy day messes me up something fierce.

The threat of rain this morning extended my workday three hours, which I don’t mind because a few more ducats on my paycheck is a welcome thing.

K had a lunch appointment, so that meant driving downtown to pick her up, which I also don’t mind because I’m such a loving and helpful husband.

V had soccer practice, which meant running around in a blustery, heavy mist along with the coach and 5 2nd-grade girls on a muddy field, and the final game of the season is tomorrow, and they needed the practice, but I don’t mind since I’m such a dedicated and helpful father.

V’s friend is sleeping over, which meant making dinner (hot dogs and oven-baked fries) and dessert (banana bread and chocolate ice cream).  Now the girls are watching HOWL’S MOVING CASTLE while I write about not working on the outline.  It’s that very last part I mind.

On one hand, I don’t like not getting anything done.  At all.  It feels counter-productive.  A day spent not writing is another day to wait for things to pay off.  Like the saying goes, “this thing ain’t gonna write itself.”

But, if I look at it from a different angle, I wasn’t feeling as productive as I could have been, so maybe not writing actually worked in my favor.

I’ve been running scenarios in my head since yesterday.  Where do I want the story to go from here?  Can I still follow my plot point milestones?  Am I still in control of this thing?

I’m working on the first question, and a fairly certain ‘yes’ to the second two.

I don’t know how much I’ll be able to get done this weekend, so progress may be on hold until Monday.  But during that time I’ll be trying to figure stuff out, including maybe incorporating possible suggestions/feedback from the writing group.

But for now, my main concern with the first act is that I didn’t do enough exploring the main character.  Again, hopefully the feedback from the group will be helpful.

-I’ve recently started mentioning new posts on Facebook, which I think is contributing to more people checking this blog out.  And that’s great.

I hope people are enjoying my materials, which is what any writer wants.  I’m curious to know what they think of all of this.

Are they enjoying following my progress?  Do they have any questions about how this works?  Does this remind you of another blog, and if so, which one?  Do you think that writer would like mine?  Does anybody know somebody in LA that would be interested in my taking a look at my stuff?  These are questions that need, almost demand, an answer.

So to paraphrase Chicago elections, comment early and comment often.