So glad I didn’t listen to myself

How I originally intended to start this writing session
How I originally intended to approach this rewrite

Since it really has been years since I last looked at my mystery-comedy spec, and not wanting to be too heavily influenced by what I’d written before, I figured this rewrite would be completely fresh. A clean slate. Blank page from the get-go. A whole new ball of wax.

I sit at my desk, all set to open those floodgates. My notebook’s open to this new set of plot points, ready to be fleshed out. Pandora cranks out the sounds of the Rat Pack and the 50s jazz club scene (appropriate mood music for the story’s setting). A hot cup of joe within reach. Overall, a perfect writing scenario.

So what thought immediately pops into my head?

Yep. I’m gonna check out what I wrote before. But just out of curiosity. It’s not like I’m going to keep the whole story. Besides, it’ll be interesting to see how far my writing’s come since then.

This is also why you should never, ever throw away old material. You never know when you might come back to it.

I open the 1-pager. Okay, I remember this part. Wait. I don’t remember that. Whoa, where did that come from? Wow, this is a lot more detailed than I remember.

Finishing that, I automatically wonder how the script reads. A few scenes stick out in my memory, but most of it is long forgotten.

I’ll just take a look at the first few pages. Promise.

Hmm. Not as bad as I thought. Some of the dialogue is a little too on-the-nose. Too many adverbs. Character descriptions could be better. Some good set-ups I instantly recall how they pay off. This subplot’s a little weak.

A quick glance to the upper right corner to see what page I’m on. 26 already? Hokey smokes, this thing is flying by.

By now I feel almost obligated to finish reading it. 35 minutes later, I did.

The overall consensus: still needs a lot of work, but a much more solid foundation to start with and there are some ideas I’d like to incorporate. It’s kind of reassuring to know I’ve already taken care of a lot of the heavy lifting.

A few days ago, I was concerned this was going to be a real slog, but now – not so much.

4 thoughts on “So glad I didn’t listen to myself

  1. Paul that’s an important point about not throwing away old stuff. Experienced that myself with a few of my scripts – you can always look back and find some gold from the past, so definitely worth keeping. Then again, I have also erased stuff before that I totally regretted later…

    • You can also put a positive spin on erasing stuff in that it forces you to be even more creative this time around, more often than not yielding better results.

      At least that’s what I tell myself…

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