Time for the editor to take over

Where’s the ‘delete’ key on this thing?

The latest undertaking: the edit/rewrite of the low-budget comedy spec is underway.

Even while I was writing it, I knew there were changes that needed to be made. So now it’s time to dive in and make those changes, which tends to be equally as thrilling as the actual writing process. For me, anyway.

This is the part where I force myself to let those changes be made, even for the parts I absolutely love. There will most likely be more than one instance of “Why did I think this was a good idea?” Then I change it.

It happens with every draft of every script. You have to be able to be your own harshest critic. Every decision stems from “How can this be better?”

Sometimes it comes easy, and sometimes it doesn’t. It takes a while to get the hang of it.

“But why not just do it while you’re writing that initial draft?” some may ask. Because you don’t always hit the bullseye on your first attempt. You need a couple of practice tries. Many’s the time I’d suddenly stumble into a solution that proved to be significantly better than the original.

Don’t hold back. Don’t be afraid to make those changes. As I’ve discovered many times in the past, once something is changed, it is very soon forgotten. So much to the point that you’ll barely remember the previous incarnation.

When this whole process is done, at least for this round, I believe the end result will be a better script. I’m fairly confident this won’t take too long, and think writer-me will be quite content with the decisions made and steps taken by editor-me.

And then the whole thing will repeat itself again.

*Side note – blogger-me is proud to announce that the number of visitors to the blog has surpassed the 20-thousand mark. Not too shabby, especially considering the first few years were me and about six other people.

Thanks for reading, everybody!

4 thoughts on “Time for the editor to take over

  1. Congrats on the milestone. From my years as a film/video editor, I could be objective about cutting what someone else shot or wrote, after all it wasn’t my personal effort. As a writer it is hard for me to become the objective editor & “Kill my darlings”. I worked with 2 well known filmmaker/ directors. One could not bear to drop a shot he had slaved over, often hurting the flow of the story. The other person would go into the edit room & treat every shot with incredible objectivity. No matter how much time he had spent getting that shot, if it no longer helped the flow of the story, it ended up on the cutting room floor. Yes, in editing my work, I want to emulate the second guy.

  2. I find when laying out my initial draft, I’m more interested in the story and plot. Getting the skeleton connected with the action lines. Later I go through with putting meat and muscle on the bones with the detailed scene and character descriptions. The last pass, I focus on dialogue. For me, I find that in my early projects, as I was writing, I would get caught up in a description or piece of dialogue and find myself running down a rabbit hole and forget what I was doing there. I would get focused on some minutia and it would force me to take the time to catch up to the story. Also, I would fall in love with a line of dialogue and it would make it harder to kill if it didn’t move the story along. In those early projects sometimes found myself changing the story just to keep a line of dialogue. Not good. My brain is easily distracted so the more details I try to keep the focus on during the initial draft, the more bogged down I get. This might be different for other writers. Thanks for the post, Paul.

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