WRITER’S NOTE: Rick and I are are struggling with the outline we started with on “Lake Regret”, and while we try to come up with another project, we are providing you with insight on our script “According to Plan” and how we went from concept to getting the project optioned, and the craziness that ensued afterwards.
In our last post, I discussed how Rick and I came up with the outline for “According to Plan.” With the rough draft outline in place, we set out to begin the writing phase.
Writing a script, even when writing with a partner, is really a very solitary endeavor. Rick and I knew that going into the writing, it would never work if we micromanaged each other’s writing. Instead, we agreed that we would alternate writing pages and edit each other’s work as we went. So, for example, I would write two to four pages, send them to Rick, and he would edit my pages, then write some of his own and send to me. I would then edit his pages, write some of my own, rinse, scrub, repeat.
This process worked for us, because we each got to understand the characters in our own way, and neither of us dominated the writing for long periods of time, putting our own spin on the story or going to far off the reservation. It was a true writing partnership.
Because this was our first time writing together, it was a feeling out process. We had read each other’s previous scripts, so we knew what our styles were like, but we had to work to make our styles mesh. At first, it required a bit of editing on both of our parts to make the script flow, but once we got a bit into the script, things just started to click.
I went back and reviewed the first few pages and noticed that my first draft was three pages. Three! I probably was exhausted mentally after writing those as well! But I was probably pretty proud of myself. I’m not exactly the fastest writer in the world. But after sending to Rick, I was relieved to get them off my computer and on to Rick for his input. I was also anxious to see what he would do with my pages.
This would be the process over the next couple of months. I noticed that our first draft was started on March 6, 2014, and we finished the first draft on May 24, 2014, a total of 78 days and 98 pages. That works out to an average of 1.25 pages a day. Man, that doesn’t sound like a lot, does it? One of the writers I know from Simply Scripts can easily finish a complete 100 page script in about a week. But everyone writes at their own pace, and you should never write at a speed you’re not comfortable with, especially if you’re writing with a partner. You need to make clear from the onset to your partner what your normal writing pace is, so expectations are set from the beginning. Fortunately, Rick and I were comfortable with how quickly it was going to take us to finish the first draft.
Next time, we’ll talk about changes we made through the writing process, the disagreements we had over plot points and devices, and how long it took us to get to the FINAL final draft.