Friday, May 7, 2010

Can you make a silk purse out of a pig's ear?!

Sometimes you write a script and – after the golden haze of actually finishing something has worn off – you read it and think, “urgghh”.

The characters don’t work, or the dialogue is off? You can fix it. Lame ending? Ditto. But what if the concept is just off? What if it’s just not that good an idea to begin with?

Is it ever okay to stick a script in a drawer and abandon it? Or is it always possible/necessary to force yourself to rewrite it so that it’s better?

I’m in that very place right now, and my first answer is, you don’t know yet. You’re still hating the script, so do put it in a drawer for now until you have some perspective on it. Then in a few weeks, take it out and look at it.

However, and this is where I’m going to disagree with some writers, I do think it’s okay to toss a finished draft in the bin if it’s beyond help. And sometimes it is. It just wasn’t that good an idea for a story to start from, and no amount of tinkering is going to fix it. Or you’re not loving it, full stop. There was a good article to that effect in the PAGE Awards newsletter this month.

They say you’re going to write a lot of scripts before you write one that gets made. Maybe this is one of those scripts. Dump it, move on, and write something you can really get behind.

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