Posted by: steveonfilm | April 7, 2008

Is the new character a crutch?

I’ve introduced a new character in my “first draft.” Her name is Dr. Sharon Stabler, a young psychologist that Tom goes to each week. A few of you may have come across her if you read the first ten pages of my “first draft.”

A few reasons why I felt the need to add her. First, I felt like something was missing in my “words on paper draft.” Someone that Tom can talk to, a neutral party that he doesn’t hold back from. Second, I had a hard time getting someone to give Tom “straight talk.” After the first plot point John, Mitch, and Tammy try, but with the changes I’m making that scene isn’t going to work anymore. Third, Tom needs someone to talk to him in a professional manner about his “issues;” OCD, lack of sleep, and phobias.

There was only one thing that came to mind when I thought about how to solve these three points, introduce a psychologist. The problem is that psychologists have become a bit of a crutch these days, a cliche even. I’m worried that Sharon will come across as just that. But she’s not a pushover. She’s got spunk. And she calls Tom on his shit.

I hint that Tom used to go to another shrink, someone he ultimately wasn’t impressed with. Sharon is his new shrink. They’re still feeling each other out. So Tom is going over things he’s already went over before, filling Sharon in. They been talking for about two months now and she’s already helped Tom get over his fear of cats.

I’ve always had a positive view of psychologists. I had family members who have gone to them, and had very positive results. I’ve known people who’ve went and haven’t. But more or less, I feel that when people are ready to help themselves, and they go to a psychologist, it can be a major step to help them “recover.”

Anyway, it’s a pretty big shift. She’s going to play a major role, especially around the midpoint, but she’ll fade away during the second half, with one big part to play right as I move into the third act.

I guess what I’m trying to figure out is if I’m actually creating a needed character, or if I’m finding the easy way out of a problem. I don’t know if I’ll know the answer until I’m done. Fortunately, as with everything you can do in a screenplay, the delete button is your friend. There’s nothing you can do that you can’t undo.

Keep writing…




  1. Wow, I am really impressed. This is amazing. And it is all documented?

    How long have you been working on this?

    I have a screen writing blog myself, but I must say it is nothing like this. This is nice.

    Keep up the good work, I’ll check back often!

    Happy Writing

  2. Thanks man, I appreciate it!

    I’ve been tinkering with this since December. This isn’t my first screenplay, just the first one I’m live blogging. After I wrap up my first draft of this project, the blog will shift into covering all of my writing.

    Let me know your blog and I’ll put it in my Screenwriter’s Blog section.

  3. Hey,

    Thanks for the return comments. I would love to be listed on your site.
    that’s the address.

    As a fellow screenwriter, do you have any ideas or topics that you think I should cover?
    Any input would be awesome.

    Thanks again for the plug!


  4. Plugged. By the way, nice blog.

    As for content, I think you’re nailing it just fine right now.

    But if something strikes your fancy, put it up. As far as blogs go, the ones on the internet I read the most are those with a general theme (i.e. screenwriting) but aren’t scared to go off the cuff with random stuff that just hits the mind of the blogger or bloggers.

    Hell, my favorite blog on the net is really nothing more than a blog of miscellaneous stuff,

  5. Great Site – really useful information!

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