Thursday, March 27, 2008

Rewrites

I'm not sure I like rewrites.

On the one hand you get to add to what you've created and change things that don't work. When you finish a script and you spend some time away from it you can view things differently when you come back to it. You see things in a fresh light, generate new, more exciting, entertaining ideas that really lift your work to another level. I really love this part. When something clicks it's a real adrenaline rush.

On the other hand, how much rewriting is too much? You face the danger of reworking your script so much you remove everything that made it good in the first place. Draft after draft can blind you to mistakes and you're so blinkered on the project mistakes and errors can start to creep in. This I hate. When is enough, enough and why can you never step away from your work?

I'd like to know your thoughts.

9 comments:

Piers said...

If you don't know when you're done, you're not done.

(This should not be taken as an endorsement of continuing to rewrite the same project for the rest of your life though. By done, I mean "As good as you can make it with the skills you have right now.")

Dom Carver said...

But I have no stop button, I'm too much of a perfectionist. I have to force myself to stop rewriting after a certain number of redrafts or I would be there for ever.

Anyway, don't you do any work at the BBC, or do you just read people's blogs all day? ;-)

Lucy said...

You know full well no one does any work at the BBC, that's why we pay a licence fee to pay the fairies to do it instead ; )

I'm with Piers: if you don't know it's done, it's definitely not done. However, there are ways of diagnosing this:

1) Send it to a reader who can tell you whether it's done or whether needs more to it

or

2) Collate the feedback you've got on it and decide whether it's HARDCORE stuff that needs doing (structure, character motivation, dialogue, whatnot) or whether it's people's PREFERENCES - ie. you'll always get someone saying they'd prefer it if this happened or didn't happen or whatever. If it's more preference than hardcore stuff (pref no hardcore stuff), then it's done.

or

3) Do both.

Dom Carver said...

Hmm, hardcore stuff. Never thought of it like that, but it does make sense.

Are that in need of cash you have to pimp yourself on my blog? ;-)

Chris (ukscriptwriter) said...

I accept that rewrites need to happen, and for that reason I don't mind them.

On the flip side, I hate them for this one simple reason:

"IT'S FINSIHED!!!! WOOOOHOOOO!" then soon after "Awww crap! it isn't finished!".

:)

SHEIKSPEAR said...

Hi Dom!

I'm rewriting at the mo'.
Using your feedback notes is helping on one of my rewrites.
As well as feedback, I find if you're engaging on a new project it helps fire up your creative energy for the rewrites.

Seems to work for me, anyway.

Lucy said...

Am I that in need of cash I have to pimp yourself on your blog?

YES.

ALWAYS.

all writers who wonder about rewrites, send your script to me! MEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!

John Soanes said...

How undignified and unseemly, Lucy's having one of her outbursts.
Nurse, the screens!
J

Lucy said...

I DEFINE undignified and unseemly, there will be no screens here: you will see me in my seedy glory! Oh yes.