Even though I am not writing this script at this time, the last two chapters were just as informative and the rest of the book.
Chapter Seven is another polishing checklist. Sometimes you just can't see things until it's all written out.
- Does the lead character actually lead? Well, in my case, no he doesn't, not until he figures out that the bad guy is actively searching for him. Only then does he take charge, but it's also part of his character arc. Will I be able to pull that off? Only time will tell. Somehow I have to make Harris likable enough to keep those who decide engaged.
- Is the script showing or telling? Just like in writing fiction, showing is vital, maybe more so. And back-story can be the worst to deal with. NEVER have your characters tell us all about how sorry he is about breaking momma's favorite cup. You get my point, I think.
- How bad is the bad guy? Blake says make him (or her) as bad as possible. Have you noticed how evil blond women are? Good thing my demented queen has black hair (I pictured Cher with her long black hair when I wrote her), but she's not the real bad guy.
- How does your plot progress? Your plot needs to do more than simply progress from point A to point B, it needs to spin and intensify, rather like a dust devil that turns into a tornado.
- How emotion-ridden is your movie? Have you ever noticed that the best movies leave you wrung out and exhausted? That's what you need to strive for. Just like in writing a book, if you can make your reader laugh or cry (cry is the hardest), you're on the right track. And if you can do that to yourself, especially if you're not really the emotional type, you're really on a roll.
- How lively is your dialogue? You don't want your watchers to fall asleep over your what your characters say. Make sure what your character says is more than merely a place holder, or a means of taking up time until the next page.
- Has your characters actually made a journey through the movie? Don't get so wrapped up in reaching to the end that you forget about getting there. Remember, all books or movies are about the journey, not what the ending will be. When I start writing a book, one thing I plan is an ending, more often than not, I don't always hit the mark. My Princess book is a good example of that. I'd planned that the book would end when she killed the man who killed her father and her brothers. Needless to say she still had to find and eliminate his army.
- Can you tell the difference between your characters? If you were blindfolded and someone read dialogue of different characters to you (you can't cheat and remember what this or that character says), could you tell the difference between them? Does the girlfriend sound exactly like the father? There is a point in The Ghost and the Darkness where two different people say exactly the same thing. I can't remember exactly what the phrase is just now, but it was such a blatant fopah, when two people from very different backgrounds and pasts talk the same, it just blows the entire thing.
- And of course, as throughout the rest of the book, is it primal? Primal emotions drive us all, and in a movie it has to be intense. There's just no time for subtleties.
The last chapter is all about tips and pointers on how to sell your finished product, to include some resources that I'll probably get at some point. Herein is another example of how living out here in the middle of nowhere is a liability. Selling myself, whether to a producer or to an agent, is every bit as important as the script itself. This goes for selling books too. I know my books would sell much better if I could get out there and do book-signing. I can't count the number of books I've sold simply because the person met and liked me, even if only online. I can't imagine how many I could sell if I could get out among people.