Tuesday, November 11, 2014

The work in progress

Only read this post if you’re interested in writing.

Most of you know that I’m currently adapting BUT I TOLD YOU LAST YEAR THAT I LOVED YOU into a TV serial, and that I’m loving it.

28 Feb front cover

But I have hit some structural problems. For example, I decided the story and plot would fit happily into four one-hour episodes. So far, so good. But then when I examined it further – actually, when I started to write the thing – I realised that some of the cliff-hangers were in the wrong places. Also, the main thrust of the story – the conflict between Sol and Fran about where to live – doesn’t get going quickly enough. I need to sort that out.

And because I am a novice screenwriter I have some micro-problems with the actual script. It’s easy to show a character is moved or sad – you just tell the actor to cry. (Oh, the power!) But how do you show VISUALLY that a character secretly fancies another character, even though they have no intention of acting on it?

And how do you show that someone stops themselves from saying something specific – as in -

FRAN stops herself from listing all he has to offer.

In a previous draft this was

FRAN thinks of all of SOL’s attractive traits and stops herself from saying them.

Everything has to be pared down so that an episode fits into 53 pages. That’s what you’re aiming at for a one hour episode. A page a minute, with space left for intro and credits, etc.

As it stands, I don’t think that this line:

FRAN stops herself from listing all he has to offer.

actually works. But it does tell the actor what is going on inside Fran’s head. Maybe that is good enough. Maybe it isn’t.

It’s a dull, damp November day and I’m so pleased. It means I can happily get on with the screenplay without yearning to be outside.

And if any of you have any suggestions as to how to show visually that someone fancies someone else I’d be delighted to hear them.


marmee said...

can recall seeing an actor obviously "approach" speech and stop...it wasn't a large action...quite subtle but noticeable...

Do it in the mirror!
Am so in awe of your drive and courage!

Sue Hepworth said...

Thanks for the suggestion, Marmee.
I have the drive. I just hope I have the expertise as well!