Posted by: steveonfilm | October 4, 2011

The Point

I’ve been fighting with this scene in ‘The Prey’ for the past three days. I don’t typically have this kind of issue. I’ll give a scene a run through, polish it up, and move on. Rewrites will clean up dialog, trim the scene to it’s basic core, and make it flow with what comes before and after. However, this one scene just isn’t sitting right.

I’ve talked a few times about trusting your gut. And my gut is telling me no matter what I’m writing for this scene, it’s not “right.” I’ve been trying and trying but things just aren’t clicking. Something is wrong with the way I’m approaching the scene. It’s currently four pages, and this isn’t a four page scene, if you know what I mean.

To remedy my problem, I took a step back and looked at what’s really the point of the scene. What is the scene trying to accomplish? And more importantly, what are the characters trying to accomplish?

In the current draft, there are four characters present in the scene. One of them, Chris, barely has any dialog. Another character, Julie, has dialog that repeats a lot of what we’ve already heard. It doesn’t help that Chris and Julie are significant others, and we established they were with a third character, Kate, in the previous scene. Finally, the forth character, Eric, arrives after we’ve implied that Kate, Chris, and Julie are already at the location.

So I’ve got one character who barely talks. Another who just repeats things. And a third who simply “shows up.” Yeah, this scene has disaster written all over it.

The point of the scene is a bit ambiguous as well, as least in how it’s written currently. There’s an entire conversation about a bits of information we already know, with a reveal at the end. The reveal is really the only important piece in the scene. This is what the scene is about. The reveal.

If the point of the scene is the reveal, who needs to actually experience it? Who is it important to? When I asked that question it all clicked. Kate reveals something to Eric. That was the whole point of the scene. No one else there mattered, and the information revealed didn’t impact them.

It wasn’t the most straight forward thought process. It may not have even been the right questions to ask. But when I was done going through all of this, I knew I only needed two characters in the scene and could rewrite the scene to get rid of the fluff.

When you’re writing, or rewriting, and you run into a scene that’s just not clicking, ask yourself “what’s the point”? When you figure out the answer you’ll know either how to rewrite it, or whether to cut it.

Until next time, keep writing!
-Steve

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