Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Ode to the Second Draft

Why can't I look like this when I write?

The hardest part of screenwriting (for me, at least) is the dreaded first draft. Oh the agony, the misery, the nail biting, hair pulling, stomach aching, procrastinating, wall staring, house cleaning, internet surfing, long walks, blog reading ... to get that initial hundred or so pages. But once you've puked it up onto the page ... whew. Sigh. Wipe the brow of your dripping sweat. The tummy starts to settle again. Deep breath. Exhale. Relax. Maybe take a nap.

I'm a big fan of the second draft. For me, this is how it goes. The beloved second draft consists of printing out the full first draft on recycled paper and sitting at Zen (a restaurant) with my blue pen in my right hand, ready. I read through every word, every sentence with a fine tooth comb. I scribble lengthy notes, ideas and new dialogue into the margins. Sometimes they get so full, I have to use the back of the page. Once I've gone through the whole thing on paper, I can crack open my sweet, little, white iBook and apply all of the notes from the very beginning to the very end.

Second drafts mean layering, growing characters, emphasizing themes, adding better dialogue, fleshing out scene descriptions ... This is the part I totally dig. I have a folder of many scripts that have never seen the light of the second draft ... my Bug Club script, the River Phoenix crush script, the vampire script and the list goes on and on.

I'm enjoying the second draft of this new script, whatever it's called. Ah hell, we'll call it ... the Untitled Kat Candler Project. That just sounds cool.

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