As noted in part one of ‘Tips for Rewriting’ (of course, subject itself to a degree of rewriting), depending on how close one is to the project submission deadline, the rewriting emphasis shifts from bigger picture revision to more fine-tuning.
With the backdrop of the screenplay’s eight levels of rewriting, from a teleconference presentation this past weekend here are the recommended steps to create a high quality script:
- Deadline of 30 days or more = focus on the story’s plot and overall structure; whatever the number of acts, from the opening and ‘inciting incident’ to the final climax and resolution, ensure the script remains true to the concept strongly and the scenes express the theme coherently
- Deadline of 15 days = focus on the lead character actions and dialogue; ensure their profiles (motivation, flaws, and subtext) are expressed by their actions and their dialogue, with the latter displaying subtext, i.e. saying one thing but meaning another which only other characters who know them understand
- Deadline 10 days = focus on the situations, actions, and interest, to engage the reader; make sure lead characters are challenged physically and mentally; include visual and meaning laden action; ensure scenes are built with techniques to sustain interest
- Deadline 3 days = focus on engaging us in the characters; ensure lead characters are introduced in a powerful way, with lives worth living; make the dialogue entertaining, with positive and negative emotional moments, verbal sparring, and noteworthy lines; use the ‘show, don’t tell’ rule with description; elevate the use of language
- Deadline 1 day or less = focus on ensuring the action, dialogue, and words help make the script a fast read; tighten dialogue and description, and watch for lines which are unclear; finally, in the last few hours, proofread the script
While these guidelines are directed at screenplay writing, the principles apply in fact or spirit to other forms of expression, whether for the writing professional or aspiring amateur.
Comments on: "Tips for Rewriting – Part Two" (2)
I agree, this could just as well apply to a speech.
As mentioned, tips about one type of writing can can positive spillover benefits to other formats.