It’s been almost two weeks since Script Frenzy ended and since I finished my rough-rough draft of Volume 2. Since then I’ve been doing nothing but re-writing and haven’t gotten all that far. Writing is re-writing. I believer that one-hundred-thousand-billion-qatrillion-percent. So it’s ok that I’m only on page 55 of my re-write.

The rough-rough draft is mostly done with the sole purpose of figuring out the story/plot (If you don’t know your characters you also start to get a feel for their voices and personalities, but in this case I already knew the voices of the main cast).

When doing the rough-draft (which is what I’m doing now) I make whatever fixes or tweaks I need to for the plot, but my main focus is the characters and their arcs. Does everyone have a want or need? Do characters grow and change? What needs to happen to fix a characters arc? Is an arc too forced? Is there conflict between the characters? …all that kind of crap.

Part of the reason I’m lagging behind on the current re-write is because I’m focusing on the characters and we have almost twice the amount of characters in Volume 2 than we did in Volume 1. That’s why the rough-rough draft came in at 138 pages. All the characters are fighting for screen time. I have a feeling that once I get everything re-written it will probably be around that same length, which should translate to maybe 400 episodes (Volume 1 is just over 300 episodes).

After I get this done, I’ll step back and make sure none of the character changes effected the plot. If they did then I’ll make whatever tweaks I need to. From there I’ll do another pass where I will look at every scene and go through a bunch of questions like “Is there enough conflict in this scene?” or “How can I make this scene better?” and I’ll really spend a lot of time focusing on the storytelling in the context of the individual scenes. That sounds weird but until then I always focus on the main picture. Setting up the dominoes, the structure, the arcs, and so forth. So it really becomes necessary to stop and look at each scene on an individual basis.

After I do that pass then I’ll do a polish. I’ll go back and make sure the prose is pretty and that the dialog works. From there I’ll call that my “First Draft.” Why am I calling that the “First draft” when I’ve already written a good 3 or so drafts? Because it will be the first one that’s ready for external input. It will be in “readable” so I can give it to my editors and the small circle of people who always read my first drafts for me.

I’m toying with the idea of doing a table read with the First Draft. For those of you who don’t know what that is: I’ll have a bunch of people over and I’ll cook them a yummy dinner. Then we will do a read through where I assign roles to everyone and the script is read aloud from start to finish. It may sound silly or egotistical, but it really helps with knowing when dialog is awkward or voices are out of character. Plus it’s a group of people all at once that can be pumped full of questions to figure out what worked or what doesn’t. So if I do a table read I’ll make sure I take photos and document the whole thing for the blog.