Even though I got some great notes back on the previous draft of my sci-fi adventure spec, one aspect of the script had always bothered me.
As much as I loved the opening sequence, it still felt out of place.
Its primary goal for existing was to establish and set up several plot elements and story details. It does that, but something just didn’t feel right.
Would the story still work if I took it out? Sure, but finding new ways to present all the relevant info would require some major rewriting and revising. Time-consuming (to a point), but necessary.
But that got the gears turning…
The more I thought about it, the more the idea appealed to me. Trust me, it killed me to even just consider killing all those darlings, but doing so would definitely force me to find new and original ways to tell this story.
Added bonus – a new opening would also enable me to do a better job of establishing the protagonist AND set the tone of the story.
So out all those pages went, with an ever-expanding list of all sorts of new ideas regarding How To Do It currently in development.
A writer may know what they want to happen in their script, but sometimes it doesn’t work out that way. The characters might unexpectedly guide you in a different direction, or maybe you realize what the story really needs is to take a sharp turn off to the side, or you decide that this is the perfect opportunity to go in a totally opposite direction.
Nothing is set in stone. You’re the ultimate creator. Everything that happens is under your control, and you can do with it what you will.
Something not working for you? Change it. Give yourself options.
Follow-up to that – go with options that still work within the context of the story and characters. Your characters still want the same thing they did before, but now you’ve drastically altered how they get there.
It’s a savvy writer who eagerly anticipates taking on the task of devising these kinds of changes. And once they’re all implemented, you’ll barely remember how it used to be because EVERYTHING WORKS SO MUCH BETTER NOW.
Suggestion – no matter how or when you come up with a new idea, WRITE IT DOWN. IMMEDIATELY. Even if you’re in the middle of working on the same script. Everybody says “Oh, I’ll remember that later.”
Do whatever you have to in order to preserve it.
*Apologies for a lack of post last week. I had some kind of bug that put me out of commission for a few days; didn’t even have the strength to compose a “sorry, no post this week” post.