Wednesday, February 16, 2011


I'm about to branch out with Nice Girls. I've workshopped it in writers group through three drafts now, so it's time for me to see how it plays with a friend of mine who helped me create the original treatment.

But first, I have to knock this puppy down from its current 119 page length.

This is my pattern. I write the first draft, coming in somewhere around 85 pages. Then I get notes and rewrite like crazy, bringing my draft to maybe 95. Then I get more notes, and eventually it creeps its way up to 120 pages.

Of course, we can reasonably turn in scripts of 120 pages, but I don't want to be the longest script in the pile when I can tell the same story with fewer trees.

On the first draft I write whatever I feel like. My mission is to crank through the script in torpedo-like fashion, writing the story with no concern for verbosity. So by the time I get to 120 pages I have long clever passages that sound pretty cool but take up way too much space. Now I have to go through and kick it back to 117, maybe 116.

So it's a word here, a sentence there. If I take two sentences to describe a person, can I cut it to one? Does my character REALLY need to make a big speech here, or can a determined look do the trick? And as I look for these little bits and pieces to trim down, I can also check for typos.


  1. Christopher10:59 AM


    I was just curious if the Expanded Scene Breakdown is part of your writing process.

    I read an article about it recently at The Story Department, and I wondered how common it is in the industry.

    Here is the piece:

  2. I never heard of it until you just linked it, but I do something similar, I guess. I do a pretty detailed treatment before I start the story in script form, hitting all the major story beats. I also make notes of themes I want to pursue and in a separate file I do character breakdowns.

    With this last script I did this process, then wrote the first draft, then decided to do a page one rewrite so I went back and did the treatment all over again.


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