For want of structure

I'm really struggling to make pages at the moment. I think the 60-min TV format is confusing my brain. I'd just got my head around the 110-page movie format, with my BS2 in hand. Also, most of my televisual input comes from the States. Or via Doctor Who, which is also 45m. (And was simply AMAZING tonight - the proof that a well-structured and carefully thought out season can really make a finale.) Therefore, the sixty-minute piece of television has thrown me for a loop. I've gone with a three-act structure, because all television act structures seemed geared towards adverts, which is inappropriate for the Beeb. But I find myself flailing wildly at page 35, wondering where I'm going to dredge up another 25 pages from. I'm probably good to end at 45, tbh, and that's because I'm so used to that length of television making sense. Either I need to take in more one-hour dramas or I need to seriously rethink the middle...
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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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Just a few lines more

You may think that this scrabble for pages is a little, well, arbitrary. Why does a screenplay have to be 110 pages anyway? And the answer is, of course, that it doesn't. However, I am using the BS2 structure and, while the pages don't have to number 110, they do have to be in proportion. And now, finally, the first half of my film is 55 pages long. It also must be said that I'm not just throwing in things for the Hell of it. The scenes I've tackled tonight are the ones that have always felt not quite long enough, or ended too abruptly. Adding just a couple of lines of dialogue made the scene make sense for me, or left my dynamic duo with a reason for "sitting comfortably" instead of at each other's throats. I have six pages to fight for in Acts 2B and 3. Unfortunately, I have a couple of scenes that are short by necessity, and I...
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Page 100

Inane subject lines aside, this is a good moment for me. Sure, it's not 110 and I still have to sort out the scene length in the second half of my film, but it feels good. I put it down to the three impending work deadlines hanging over my head. I always spend so much more time on my writing when I have other things I should be doing. My writing buddy is pushing himself through Script Frenzy this month. As I'm a NaNoWriMo veteran, I thought he was making a lot of fuss over nothing - until he told me his movie involved time travel. I thought an escape sequence through a steam clock was hard. Only ten pages to go!...
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The Grind

Now comes the hard part. I am light in several parts of the screenplay. I thought my problem was in 2B, but it turns out that 2A was also harbouring a secret. Inch by excruciating inch, I am attempting to close the gaps. I think part of my problem is the lack of dialogue in many of these scenes. Dialogue eats minutes, and most of my Act 2 scenes feature my PI talking to himself or having a one-sided conversation with my assassin. Need. More. Minutes....
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The Trouble with NaNoWriMo and the Apocalypse

You can't take half a novel into Nano. I understand the reason, and it's a good one - Nano's about a wild race to the finish, about tossing aside editing and caution, and just putting some words down to have words. Which is great. However, unless you're amazingly productive, hitting even 50,000 in a month is a tough job. I've done it twice and it was incredibly difficult to fit a full-time life around this epic task. So, if you want to write 100,000 words, what do you do? Maybe you try doing Nano over two months instead. Which did sound like a good idea in theory, but doing it without the support of your fellow caffeine junkies just isn't quite the same. Instead, I'm going for a Nano-style pace and irreverence, with the aim to have the whole thing clock in at 100,000 words before Christmas. So far, I have 10,000 words in MS Word and about another 5,000 words in a...
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