Posted by: steveonfilm | January 17, 2010

Pride is Forever: Day 42

Even though I’ve been posting non-screenplay related things to the blog, I’ve still very much been busy working on “Pride is Forever.” With my creative issues now behind me, I’m much more comfortable with how I’ve been working, and the progress I’ve been making.

Act 2A and Act 2B have been worked out at a high level, meaning my major beats are set. I’ve been able to put together some significant detail into the beats of Act 2A, but I’m still in the early stages of doing the same with Act 2B. I’ve got a few of the major beats down for Act 3, but those are mainly just things I know I want to happen, and aren’t really definitive at this point.

Looking down at the project from a high level, I’m starting to wonder if I have enough significant conflict in the story. While Doug is faced with several obstacles to overcome, I’m not sure that all of them are significant enough, and I’m concerned they’re a bit repetitive. My worst worry is that the story will shape up as someone who just goes through a series of events, and not someone who grows from start to finish.

I ran into something similar with “Served Cold,” and the solution didn’t really come up until after I had fleshed out all the beats, and started to add detail into the sequences. They story was technically complete, but I felt like there was something missing. It took a while for me to see it, going over the beats time and time again. What I came to realize was that Ryan was missing something that would ground him in the non-criminal world. Something to explain his choices, drive his reasoning. I kept coming back to his relationship with his brother Shawn, and realized that was really the core of Ryan’s character, and in essence the cruz of the story. When they take Shawn away from Ryan, he has nothing left, and goes out for the ultimate revenge, taking no heed for his own safety or well being.

None of that was ground breaking, but once I had identified what was missing, it was like a hole in my head was plugged. I was able to go back into my beats and readjust them to add significantly more to Ryan and Shawn’s relationship. Out of this expansion, Ryan developed a significantly clearer story arc, and the story as a whole seemed more complete.

I’m counting on something similar coming to fruition with “Pride is Forever.” I don’t know what’s missing yet, but I know as I continue to tweak the story, and flesh things out, I’ll figure it out. I’ll know when I’ve found my answer, because after I do, the story will feel complete.

One interesting thing I’ve noticed is that pacing a drama is DRASTICALLY more difficult than pacing an action oriented thriller. You don’t have the benefit of tossing in a chase scene, or a bank robbery, or a murder, a double cross, whatever you think of. Everything comes out of the characters lives, and you have to figure out how to make those things interesting.

It’s not an easy thing to do… obviously. But more on that later.

Until next time, keep writing!
-Steve

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