yo-yoing between joy and despair

I completed the second draft of my screenplay on Saturday night.

After I spent a few hours typo-checking, and tweaking a number of scenes, I sent it out to my scriptwriters’ group. Today I have the pleasure of hearing my screenplay dissected and analysed. I’m looking forward to the feedback, even if it’s tough. I’ll have to suck it up. I want the script to get better, so I need the objective response to it.

It’s a massive relief to have the script finished. It clocked in at 99 pages, which is 11 shorter than my last draft. I think it might be a bit short, in fact. I suspect I’ll have to insert some scenes to clarify the events. Once I get started on the polish, and cut, insert, trim and elongate scenes then it might end up being the same length — I’ve had that happen before. 100 pages is almost the perfect for a feature-length script, and I hope to keep it to that length if at all possible.

The last part of the script flowed easily — I had outlined it before I tackled it. There was a lot of action, and I found myself pounding out the scenes as events hotted up. In my opinion the weakest part of my first draft was the second half of the film. I’m much happier with it in this draft. Of course there’s room for a lot of improvement.

Usually there’s a wonderful period after you type in FADE OUT where you are elated, and there are unicorns jumping over rainbows, and you are high on the natural intoxication of having completed a major piece of writing. That nirvana didn’t last for me. Once I was re-reading the script and adjusting scenes, a gloom descended and I was sure that everything was flat, the plot was contrived, and no one was going to enjoy reading it.

Ah, the joys of the writing mood swings. From being “Made it Ma. Top of the World!” to “I ain’t so tough.”

Despite the vagaries of my mood, I got huge satisfaction, on Sunday, to check the “completed” box on my “finish second draft” task in my calender.

I would like to give myself a break before I start on my polish of this script, but I don’t know if I can. This month is galloping towards the finish line, and my calendar for August has chunks of time blocked off for non-writing tasks.

Worldcon is just around the corner now. There’s been some chopping and changing to the guests on the panels I’m on, and I’ll update that list soon. I’ll bring my laptop with me to Glasgow, just in case I have time to work on the script. I suspect that is largely a pipe dream on my part, but if I don’t bring it with me I’m sure I’ll end up wishing that I had.