Exciting hardly does the feeling justice.
I just reviewed our first ever analysis of our feature script, BREATHE. Actually, there were two readers, and each offered their own insight and suggestions on how we may improve the whole of our brain child.
First, let me assure my followers that I have never now, nor have I ever, held any feelings of ill will toward anyone who offers criticism of anything I, or my colleagues, write. Rewrites, questions, and suggestions are as much of the writing process as forming the initial outline, designing “The Board,”, and filling in the details. What works and what doesn’t are part of a stories transformation into something that others will (hopefully) want to produce.
Second, we established, each of my writing partners and I, a healthy understanding of not being too emotionally attached to any story. No story can grow to it’s fullest potential when it’s creator becomes too emotionally attached. We relish the changes and suggestions offered by others. We are writers and as such, we read, we watch, we brainstorm, and most importantly, we write about what drives us. In focusing on our craft, we sometimes miss what’s desired by our potential audiences and therefore, we must rely on them to help keep us grounded.
That said, let’s get on with it. Regarding the analysis of our story.
Of the two readers, both seemed genuinely intrigued by the theme, however execution was a concern for both.
Reading their comments, I come to one conclusion right from the start. The antagonist is misidentified or not clearly identified. Both readers misread the last 10 pages or so where the final reveal is given unmasking the real master-mind, who, until that time, is thought to be a savior of sorts. We’ve spent so much time making the unsuspecting patsy the primary suspect, that apparently, the patsy had assumed the identity of the antagonist. A huge blunder on our part in our first attempt at a cloak and dagger-esque feature script. We, obviously, need to address that.
Next, both readers were taken aback by our apparent attempt at a love interest between the two leads. A weakness, the team as a whole, knew would come to light but for the life of us, seem to be unable to address. How does one create a love interest when everything is changing violently around them? It seems clear, however, that we must find an answer to this some how. Do we even need a love interest in this “who they really were, tell all story of a fictional master mind driven to the edge?”
The core plot of the story is also misinterpreted. The story is focused on the villainy performed by the savior through acts that the character is convinced, in the long run, will save humanity. That is the character’s only goal. The story reveals the acts of that character, whom we know from the beginning is hailed as the savior of mankind. It is the secret betrayal, sacrifice, and treachery the character commits to make their vision come to pass that the story uncovers. We attempt to do this by jumping back and forth through timelines. Each jump is designed to reveal another aspect of the scene; the truth of the character revealed like the inside of an onion as the outer layers are cut away. My belief, after reading their analysis. is that we have so convoluted the plot, by trying to orchestrate the “perfect” points at which to reveal our savior’s villainy, we’ve made the story too complex and difficult to follow.
So, it’s back to the desktop for us. What results next, thanks to our readers, will hopefully be a better, more exciting story that will prove more fun for the reader and, with some luck, enticing for the would-be producer!
Happy writing, my friends!