One of the hardest disciplines for any writer is rewriting. Following my script report (see previous post), I immediately began to tear through my script in the manner of someone who’s accidentally tossed a winning lottery ticket in the dustbin. I was annoyed with myself for making basic errors in my writing, yet being unable to spot exactly what they were before sending the script out into the world.
Thankfully, it didn’t take very long for me to realise that attacking the rewrite in this aggressive manner was more likely to destroy everything that was good about the script than to improve it, so I put it aside for a few weeks and started work on another project.
Once I felt enough time had passed to allow me to begin analysing things calmly and with a clear head, I set my focus on what had been pointed out as the main script weaknesses – characterisation and structure. Poor characterisation will inevitably affect the amount of conflict in a story and this, in turn, affects the entire structure of the script. Inside my head the characters were fully-rounded, loveable (or unlikeable) people, with interesting back-stories and the depth of the Grand Canyon, but this did not come through on the page. I had to admit it – I had cut corners when it came to developing my characters, subconsciously allowing myself to believe that the story I wanted to tell would be enough to make the script great. This is not the case. Great characters make a great story – not the other way around. Two-dimensional characters = boring story.
In order to write well, you can’t afford to cut corners. Every aspect of your scriptwriting has to be perfected in order for a project to work. Another lesson learned.