With only one month left to complete my 2021 goal, I’m on track. I’ve “finished” the screenplay. After much effort, it’s finally below 120 pages, currently at about 116 pages.
You’ll notice the word “finished” is in quotation marks. Is a creative work really ever finished? Generally, no, because the creator will tweak the work until the very last minute. (Eric Kripke said he continuously rewrote a key scene for the pilot of Supernatural until they filmed it. And he still wasn’t happy with it.) But my reason for not being done is less esoteric.
I’m trying an alternate beginning, based on feedback from my screenplay course instructor. It’s still exposition-heavy, but I see no way out of that because the sci-fi world has to be set up quickly. The alternate would just get into the action a bit more quickly. The downside is that some lovely prose that Dark Space author Lisa Henry wrote would be lost.
But my biggest struggle is the ending: it’s pretty weak. I didn’t mind the book’s ending (although a few reviewers on Goodreads did), but it won’t do for a movie. For one thing, it violates the first commandment of Robert McKee‘s 10 Commandments of Screenwriting: Thou shalt not take the crisis or climax out of the protagonist’s hands (or, no “deus ex machina” endings). So now I have to come up with an ending where Brady is the master of his own destiny, or rather, gets himself out of the jam the other main character put him in.
One writing goal for this year: write for an hour a day. The other writing goal for 2021: write a screenplay.
How do you read a novel? Do you skim through the words to quickly get to the next point? Do you savor each word or phrase for its meaning? Me? I’m a visual sort of person. So when I read a book, I tend to play a movie in my head.
For the past few years, I’ve been a part of the m/m romance community on Goodreads. I’ve never been a big fan of romances, so my interest in the gay subsection of the genre surprised me. I discovered some excellent authors and some really great books. A few of those books have stayed at the forefront of my mind. They are so entertaining and visually descriptive, I think they’d make terrific movies.
One of my very favorite books is a science fiction “space opera” called Dark Space. (I am a big nerd science fiction fan.) It’s written by Lisa Henry, an Australian author of gay fiction, who has become one of my favorite authors. I first read the book in 2018 and its sequel Darker Space became one of my “top 7 books of 2018.” (Dark Space would have made the top 7, but I had to limit my list to 7, and I liked the sequel even better.) In the summer of 2019, when I broke one leg and then fractured and dislocated the other—requiring hospitalization, surgery, and rehab—I re-read both books while in the hospital because I needed something to enjoy and savor.
The story is by turns funny, heartbreaking, and absolutely frightening. It’s entertaining on so many levels and told so vividly, it’s begging to be made into a movie. It won’t of course, because there’s little room (i.e., money) for gay romance in Hollywood. Hollywood might buy it if one of the main characters were female, but that would negate one of the main premises of the story.