Posts tagged ‘rewriting’

October 9, 2013

Quote of the Day: Stephen King

When your story is ready for rewrite, cut it to the bone. Get rid of every ounce of excess fat. This is going to hurt; revising a story down to the bare essentials is always a little like murdering children, but it must be done.

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March 26, 2013

Quote of the Day: Frank Yerby

It is my contention that a really great novel is made with a knife and not a pen. A novelist must have the intestinal fortitude to cut out even the most brilliant passage so long as it doesn’t advance the story.

March 6, 2013

Quote of the Day: John Hersey

To be a writer is to sit down at one’s desk in the chill portion of every day, and to write; not waiting for the little jet of the blue flame of genius to start from the breastbone – just plain going at it, in pain and delight. To be a writer is to throw away a great deal, not to be satisfied, to type again, and then again, and once more, and over and over….

August 17, 2012

Rewriting: Finding the Will to Take a Machete to Your Script

Jenna Avery of Script Magazine has written a helpful article about approaching rewriting with the right mindset — a mindset that is capable of cutting your favorite scenes, even restructuring your entire story, to make your script work.

She writes:

As I embarked recently on a major rewrite of a feature script, I bumped into a big wall of resistance. While I didn’t think my script was necessarily perfect, I was attached to my story in its then-current form. So even though I was getting feedback about the need for significant structural changes, I was struggling with the idea of letting go of much (okay, anything!) of the story.

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April 26, 2012

Quote of the Day: Joyce Carol Oates

I am inclined to think that as I grow older I will come to be infatuated with the art of revision, and there may come a time when I will dread giving up a novel at all.

February 13, 2012

Quote of the Day: Amos Bronson Alcott

Sleep on your writing: take a walk over it; scrutinize it of a morning; review it of an afternoon; digest it after a meal; let it sleep in your drawer a twelvemonth; never venture a whisper about it to your friend, if he be an author especially.

January 20, 2012

Quote of the Day: Oscar Wilde

I was working on the proof of one of my poems all the morning and took out a comma.  In the afternoon, I put it back in.

October 5, 2011

The Trick to a Script Like Bridesmaids: Write, Then Rewrite, Then Rewrite…

This new article from Living the Romantic Comedy delves into the writing process that Kristen Wiig and Annie Mumulo went through to get to the funniest possible film — they wrote, then they re-wrote a dozen-plus times, and then they embraced a lot of improv in the actual filming (download the script here). There’s a big lesson to be learned here about not settling for the first or even the tenth idea that comes to you:

In the “Line-o-Rama” bonus on the just-released Bridesmaids DVD, a bonanza of alternate takery, there’s one sequence where Melissa McCarthy improvises variations on the same brief line, over and over again, trying out a different gag every time. How many takes? Reader, I counted them: there are forty-eight.

The last question asked in the Q & A of my Screenwriting Expo seminar on “Comedy Craft for the Contemporary Romantic Comedy” came out of discussing Bridesmaids, which I’d worked on as a story analyst at Universal. I’d shown some clips from it and mentioned the screenplay’s long (3-4 years) gestation, noting how co-writers Kristen Wiig and Annie Mumulo had been in the enviable position of writing and rewriting on the studio’s dime, under the guidance of producer Judd Apatow.

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July 6, 2011

Finding Your Screenwriting Process

Everyone has different writing habits. For me, the hardest part is getting myself to start writing — usually if I can get a sentence down, I can write ten pages. The trick is finding the will power to write that first sentence. Here’s an article from ScreenwritingU to help you master your creative process:

Part of being a great screenwriter is finding your   optimal creative process — the set of rituals that will have your  creativity  blossom and your life be happy at the same time.

Can you imagine that?

As you write each screenplay, you can start identifying  what works    for you and what doesn’t.   Many times, just recognizing a negative         pattern will change it or recognizing a positive pattern  will assist you to make it a habit.

Over the years, I’ve noticed a specific pattern that disables a writer’s creative process and often causes “writer’s block.”

See if this feels familiar.

A writer will torture themselves on a first  draft,  rewriting lines over and over again, trying to make sure it is  perfect — but much of that perfection is on the surface; the words.   They’ll spend three or four drafts editing the script to get that “perfect feel.”   But often, the script has problems with structure or plot holes or main characters that need work.  By the sixth draft (or 10th or whatever), they tire  of the process, do a polish and  send the script into a contest or producer —  knowing there are problems.

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June 3, 2011

Quote of the Day: Isaac Bashevis Singer

The wastebasket is a writer’s best friend.