One of my biggest and constant issues when I engage in a rewrite is HOW MUCH ACTUALLY GETS REWRITTEN?
As much as I love the previous draft, my ability to simply discard that which has come before always gets a solid and thorough workout. I usually start out thinking “I only need to change these few items”, which naturally quickly changes to “Keep this, this, and this, and get rid of everything else.”.
The more I work on the overhaul of the pulpy sci-fi spec, that latter thought is becoming more and more prevalent. Just a handful of parts are being kept, while others fall somewhere in the range between “totally discarded” to “hold onto that for later”.
I went into this knowing it wouldn’t be a light project, which it most definitely hasn’t. It’s very safe to say it’s rapidly become a major operation, both in the medical and organizational senses of the word.
And as far as I can tell, significantly for the better all around.
The more I work on this, the more it becomes noticeably different from its predecessor. This is probably an appropriate place to say that even with all of the changes, the key story elements and plot points have remained the same. As was my intention.
Quality notes from my circle of trusted colleagues have played a major factor throughout the whole process. Many enjoyed the story, and each person had valid comments that raised some important questions and comments: could the hero’s backstory be more original and less cliched? What if the antagonist’s motivation also involved _____? And the always popular “You do realize that’s not scientifically accurate, right?”.
(Full disclosure on that last one – yep. I did. But it works within the context of the story, and this definitely isn’t the kind of story to be nitpicky about.)
With so much of the previous draft being torn down and tossed away, the rebuilding process has been slow, but steadily productive. It’ll most likely take longer than expected, but I’d rather spend the time now figuring things out than find out later that they don’t work and have to go back and do it all over again.
One of the most encouraging comments from the notes was “Words to sum up the script – Big. Fun. Action.”
That’s been my mantra for this whole process; just amped up a bit.
Bigger. Funner. Actioner.
Even though “actioner” is technically a noun, in this scenario, I’ll assume you get the gist of what it’s implying.