Day 102: The Rewrites Continue
Today was better than yesterday. I still had to drag myself to the keyboard, but I managed 6-7 productive hours and made it to the halfway point. I certainly felt better about re-entering the Come Ups world. I started with the new Shep/Cody scene, which I had given a basic structure to yesterday. I'm not entirely happy with the dialogue, but it may work as part of Shep's character as he tries to reassure a young boy about his father while having no experience with children. What the scene does provide is a chance for Shep to further step up his role of taking charge of the situation, which is what you want a protagonist to do. I'll let this scene sit for a day or two and then look it over again.
I was unable to find a reasonable way to incorporate the new Reggie scene or even provide a good reason for it. It also added extra pages to the script that I don't want and didn't really advance the plot. Ultimately, I decided it wasn't necessary and abandoned it.
My next serious issue was the scene where Grady wakes up following his surgery. This is basically an exposition scene to catch Grady and the audience up on what is happening with the police investigation. Unfortunately, it seems long. I tried injecting some humor into it and create a rapport between the two characters, but it still seems draggy. That may be a result of the high intensity that precedes this scene, and it may be necessary as sort of a reset to launch us into the next section of the story. I spent quite a bit of time trying to rework this scene and it doesn't seem much different than it was. this may one of those moments that I need feedback on to see it in a different light. Or it may be just fine as is. It's a scene that has always bothered me.
From there to the midpoint, things stayed pretty much the same. I think most of the remaining script will also remain the same as it was at the midpoint that Shep came into his own and definitely became the protagonist of the story. The rewrites prior to the midpoint have made that change occur earlier and clearly puts the story's focus on Shep At least in my head it does. Feedback from readers may have a different take.
I added about 3 pages of new material and probably lost about one with cuts. That now gives me a total page count of 115, five more than the Save the Cat (STC) paradigm calls for. The midpoint is landing right at the top of page 60 instead of 55 and all subsequent plot points, which were already happening a little later than the paradigm calls for, are now drastically out of place. I can either lose material in the second half and bring those later events back into line or I need to lose pages in the first half. The problem is the first act is just about perfect in its alignment and reads really well. That leaves me with just the first half of the second act to make adjustments.
If I can get the midpoint to land at the top of page 56, it's close enough to 55 that I wouldn't care, and it would pull all the subsequent plot points, more or less, back into line. But that's 4 pages I have to remove out of just 30, and that's going to be tough.
Before moving on to the second half of the script, I went back to the top and just read straight through the midpoint. The first act feels really good. I was afraid the action was still wordy, but I breezed through it, and the action is exciting. The start of the second act slows down a bit, but is necessary to let the audience catch its breath. Grady's wake up scene resets the action and the story begins to build again to the midpoint. It all feels pretty good, but it just takes a few pages too many to reach that midpoint. I think that's where my current problem is.
Tomorrow I'll tackle the second half of the script. Again, I don't think I will have to change too much, just smooth out some ripples resulting from the Shep/Grady gunshot swap. If it all works out, I can turn my attention back to the top of the second act and look for cuts. With a little luck, the script will be ready for outside feedback by Sunday.