Papers all over the floor

I'm at the chaos stage of editing. It's like tidying a room. There comes a point, where you've cleared your desk and emptied your drawers, that the room is twice as bad as it was before. That's usually the point where I lose energy and collapse on the sofa. At the moment, Act One has been half-heartedly sorted into piles and nudged at with a stick, whereas Act Three has been emptied on to the bed, ruthlessly whittled down into bin liners, and then left for dead. My pet editor insists that my problems with Act Three really lie in Act One, so I might need to go back and make some effort with that part. However, my director thinks that the finale is too big and too staged, so I want to work on that. A case of too many cooks, perhaps? All I know is that the room is currently uninhabitable....
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Every author loves feedback

Whether it's a review in the New York Times of your d├ębut novel or a Livejournal comment on your fanfiction opus, feedback is universally craved by authors. However, it also makes us better writers. And my pet editor just returned the first draft of my screenplay, complete with hurried post-commute comments. He highlighted character motivations as my weakest point, as well as too much talking in Act One (I've already added a sword fight in my second draft, because that's low on chat and heavy on bloody chaos). For my character motivation, I'm turning to Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs, as outlined in this article. Blake Snyder also refers to these "primal needs" to drive my plot forward, so I'm in good company. I'm also going to play a few "tea set" games, as my acting coach once taught me e.g. what kind of tea set does Character X possess? what's Character X's favourite meal? how does Character X spend their Saturday? These will hopefully...
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Spit and polish

So, I've decided to return to the screenplay. I'm not sure what swayed me in the end, but the sense of something being so close to done and yet not quite ready irked me. I've started by actually translating it into script format - which, irritatingly, brings it out at 121 pages. All that scrabbling for pages was a complete waste of time. Feedback I received on the first draft suggested a greater emphasis on the "action hero" persona and developing my supporting cast, though my woman are apparently strong. No surprises there. Also, a ruthless cutting of dialogue. I love dialogue. It's one of the reasons writing a screenplay appealed to me. All my favourite TV shows feature heavy doses of banter - The West Wing, Buffy, Castle, The Mentalist. Heavy on words. However, "show not tell" and all that. We'll see how this second overhaul goes down....
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