Wednesday, June 03, 2009

A Writer Shall Be Rewritten

I've just started the third rewrite on Second Skin, my supernatural comedy drama, thanks to some pretty honest notes from some very lovely people. And it's a biggy, almost a complete overhaul of character, plot and original idea. The thing I don't like about rewrites, and it's a big thing, is my enthusiasm for the project evaporates slightly with every new version. To me writing then becomes mechanical and loses the joy and excitement which first attracts me to a project. With a loss of enthusiasm comes a loss of motivation. I'd rather Facebook or Twitter.

How to combat it? One suggestion is to put the script away for a few months until it starts to interest you again. After all should you really work on something you've lost your enthusiasm for? Wouldn't this weaken the effectiveness of any rewrite?

Another suggestion is just to plow on through with it despite a dwindling enthusiasm. Get the rewrite done, leave it for a while and then come back to it. Then you can see if the rewrite worked and go back and change what didn't. This is significantly harder work than the above and can lead to a lot of indecision, but is still my preferred way of working. I don't like to give up and for me putting aside a script until my enthusiasm returns is doing exactly that.

Another problem I have with excessive rewriting is the diluting of the original idea. The idea is to make your script better, improve on characters, sharpen dialogue and tighten structure. Your script maybe much improved at the end, but does all that rewriting dilute your original voice? After all we are continuously told an original voice is what producers are looking for.

I think as a new writer you're under pressure to make your scripts perfect and I for one know that in the search of that perfection I lose some of that initial sparkle, that rawness which makes the script a Dominic Carver original. Maybe more considered rewrites are the way to go, getting as much feed back as possible before attempting one. This way less time is spent on actual rewrites, enthusiasm is less likely to be lost, and less of the original voice is consigned to the scrap pile.

By the way, the term 'New Writer' annoys me too. I've been writing for years now, just because I haven't had a major commission, option or success so far doesn't mean I'm a 'New Writer'. 'New Writer' is a dirty word in my house and will no longer be used to describe the current stage of my career. I am a writer... end of!

No comments: