I have this friend. She’s a very good friend. A dear friend, even. And somehow I managed to sucker this friend, whom I’ll call Flarf—because I don’t think I know a Flarf in real life—into reading the screenplay I’ve been writing since October.
She’s a good sport. Really. I can’t tell you how many minor tweaks I’ve sent to her, asking her to trudge through 12 or 15 or 40 pages to find the one little bitty comma that changed because I need to know what it does to the story because, egad, I know it changes the story. It HAS to change the story! Does it change the story?! FIND IT!
Of course, there have been some substantial changes, too. Some were “Oh, hey, you’re going to think this is the same version, but I swear every other word has changed because, dude, I found this awesome online thesaurus!” The most recent was 42 pages of a total rewrite of Act I/early Act II, where I focused on readability and upping the ante in a few places. That’s a particularly mystical version because it’s completely different yet, on the surface, remarkably the same. (Not really.)
But through it all, Flarf has been fantastic. Even when we’ve had lunch and she’s tried diligently to avoid talking about my screenplay, I can bring it up and she is there to tell me what she thought and listen to my hair brained ideas.
Word of advice: Writing a screenplay is fun. It’s awesome. But it’s nice to have more than a broad idea when you start writing it, otherwise you’ve rewritten the whole thing six times before you’ve even finished the roughest of first drafts.
I’m digressing. Back to my awesome friend Flarf.
Who is going to lose her ever loving mind when she reads the rest of this post (Ha! I made a funny! Like she reads this…).
For a few weeks, I’ve been toying with ideas in my head. Marketability, flexibility, how can I better explore this character or this situation or flesh this out? I’ve been reading articles and pondering and doodling. A lot.
Yesterday, I had a phone call with the fantastic David Henry Sterry of The Book Doctors (but they also consult on screenplay pitches as well). I saw him at the Erma Bombeck Writers’ Workshop’s Pitchapalooza and knew I had to talk to them. So I did. Yesterday. And it was awesome.
But it reaffirmed an idea that’s been getting louder and louder in my head. I need to port this puppy. A screenplay is great, but a screenplay already written to go along with a novel? That’s better. Not to mention that even if the screenplay never sells or gets made, the Story, the Most Important Part, still gets told.
So in a life full of left turns lately, I’m taking another one. It’s great. I’m excited. I have the story, I know my characters, I know the points to hit and where I’d like to spend more time. I’ve figured all of that stuff out in the screenplay. I’m so gung-ho on this that it’s almost crazy, but frightening. Aside from here, it’s been ages since I wrote anything remotely resembling narrative. ‘Sall good, though. I got this.
I’m worried about Flarf, though. When she finds out I’m not only throwing out the bathwater, but I’m changing the baby from a boy to a girl, will she continue to be a good sport and go along with it? Or will she do what she should have done months ago—throw her hands up in the hair and cry “Uncle!”?
Because I wouldn’t blame her one bit.