Just read an awesome article in Script Magazine (May.June 2011 issue) about rewriting by Ray Morton (thanks, Ray, for your incredible wisdom!). As usual, the universe delivered this morsel right when I was hungry for it. In the article, Morton broke down 10 vital steps that will help me make the most of my rewriting process. Here are the steps with my own color:
1. Walk Away – after finishing that draft, give it a 2-3 weeks for some perspective.
2. Reread Your Script – this is always quite enlightening with other genres of writing, too, especially prose. There are some important questions to ask yourself, too, when rereading. Does the script tell the story you intended to tell? Is the premise understandable and established early? Do you hit those important marks (outlined by Vogler and Aristotle)? Are there too many lights shining? Is your protagonist’s arc clearly defined and does it drive the narrative? etc.
3. Revise the Script – that doesn’t simply mean cutting a line or two, and correcting typos. Get in there and rip that mother fucker apart. I want to hear ripping muscle.
4. Repeat – And then repeat again.
5. Get Feedback – And not just from you mom and adoring partner. Check in with people in the industry, get studio coverage if you can. Put in front of people you know who will give you honest feedback and those who know film.
6. Listen to the Feedback – that means when they say kill your darling, sharpen your knife and slay away!
7. Rewrite Again – and again, and again. Getting the picture?
8. Hold a Reading – this was an interesting idea. Get your friends together, turn on the video camera and read the script aloud. Morton said this was especially important for comedy scripts.
9. Proofread – bee shore everyting is speled write.
10. Lastly, Don’t Rush – Luckily, I was born with the patience gene when it comes to creative projects. I think what makes it easier for me to allow “meat” to roast slowly (so it’s so good it falls off the bone) is evidenced in how long it took me to wrap my first novel, Jukebox. No wine until it’s time!