Day 128: The End is in Sight
I am now well into the latter half of the second act of Come Ups. I managed a substantial change to the Reydel/Hiram confrontation scene that comes out of the midpoint by eliminating the rape sequence. It has always been an awkward scene, and I have held onto it primarily as it provided some 'sex appeal' to the script. The tradeoff, however, was that it made Reydel less sympathetic. His later empathy with Grady was also rendered less believable. It also made Calida more of a victim of Reydel rather than a co-conspirator in his crimes. It may make the story less marketable (sex sells, even violent sex), but it makes for a better story.
I created a new entrance for Hiram and his henchmen, which adds more tension. To further vilify Hiram, I added a bit where he gives a gun to Reydel's young son and has him point it at his father. It's a disturbing bit of character with great visuals.
From there, I also removed all the scenes relating to Reggie the Bartender with one exception. Tyler still goes to the bar after disposing of his cocaine and has a brief encounter with Reggie. This is where Tyler receives the call from Shep that Reydel is holding him and Grady hostage. This Reggie scene is still a problem, however, as Shep is requiring Tyler to come to their aid. The protagonist is relinquishing his ability to act and propel the story. I will probably rewrite this whole sequence so that it is Shep at the bar having an encounter with Reggie. This will relate back to Tyler's mention of Reggie in the boat and when he uses Reggie as a guilt device to convince Shep to keep the money.
Tyler will then take Shep's place at the trailer and will have to call Shep for help when Reydel arrives. This keeps Shep in the driver's seat as the protagonist, the one who needs to act or react to a situation. He's the one who has to make the decisions on what to do.
The scene where Reydel is scoping out Grady's house has been eliminated. Once he has Grady's address, he goes directly to recruit Angel. This will necessitate a considerable rewrite, as Grady will now be at home when Reydel and Angel arrive to collect the money.
I managed to do a considerable amount of cutting in the second half of the second act and even the third act. This has set me up for a lot of rewriting including a new ending, but it has made my really long second act shorter. It's still running a little long, but I think the action flows quickly enough that it shouldn't matter (famous last words). The third act is still on the short side and it shows now with the cuts I've made. The page count is now down to about 106, well under the 110 I was hoping for. I'd like to get another two pages out of the second act if I can. That would take me down to 104 pages and a third act that is only about 14 pages. That's really too short for a third act, so I need to find another logical story point to cover in the third act That's going to be a tough call if I want to finish the script by Sunday.