Four pages today.
Went back and added a scene… we’d had the discovery of the hidden darkroom happen off screen, but decided that was a lame move. We need to see that happen… the secret door, the creepiness of the first entry into the old root cellar. So now we do, thanks to the new scene. And we took it as an opportunity to further define the back story on our writer character, and demonstrate his strong friendship with his buddy’s wife.
Then moved on into a scene where his buddy’s secret plans for the cabin are further revealed.
The past two days have been tough writing days… scenes with more subtlety, that require a certain amount of exposition of information without writing expository dialogue. Definitely the toughest two days so far.
It’s possible that we need to contract our story’s time line by one day… it feels like we’re ready to move into the action sequences, but on the outline, there’s still another day’s worth of discovery and character revelation yet to handle. The pacing to this point feels like we’re past most of that, and ready to go on to some faster, more action oriented scenes.
We’ll decide in our next session whether we can excise that day, just reveal the creatures in all their glory, and start the juggernaut of action and blood and dying and whatnot.
Total pages: 36.5
Total hours (Chip): 38-ish
God it’s hot. It’s around 98 degrees outside, and at least 85 inside. Oh, for a little AC.
We tried something new today… Sean stayed home, and we both logged into Zhura, while talking on the phone. Worked pretty well. Still not as satisfying as being in the same room together, but all in all a successful round.
We got 5 pages done today. We’ve had a sweaty round of hot monkey sex in the woods (boobies for the genre purists), found a pile of bones on the roof, and stumbled across the creepy hidden darkroom in the root cellar.
God, I hope it reads as good as that just sounded!
Probably no work again till Thursday.
We’re up to page 33. That makes us about 7 pages long I think. Ouch. But we’re not worried yet. We can trim that down in our next draft. Right now, focus on getting done.
Total hours in (Chip): 34-ish.
Two new things experimented with:
ONE: Starting not with prewritten dialogue, but a tighter set of plot points for the day’s scenes, grown off the existing outline. It still gave us a head start without sucking the creative satisfaction out of it. We had fun again, actually collaborating, writing from (closer to) scratch.
TWO: Writing in a coffee shop. That I’m not so sure about. It is awfully cool to be able to hang out in one of my favorite places (Java Junction), but there’ s a lot of distraction in noisy kids, screaming espresso machines, grinding smoothie blenders and the like. A lot of distraction. This might be better saved for the outline brainstorming (most of which we do at Seattle’s Best in Borders) or later editing/review bull sessions.
Nevertheless, we did get another 2.5 pages done. We know the creatures are getting more brazen, we’ve learned that one of the husbands is a total douche-nozzle, and we know that the douche-nozzle has convinced his wife that she’s just being paranoid about the possible danger.
And next, we get to write about another bout of hot monkey sex — in the woods!
We’re now at about 28 pages, give or take. According to the initial estimate, this point in the story should be about page 31-32, so we’ve made up some of our overage. Right on track. I feel like I’m jinxing it just talking about it.
Total hours in so far (Chip): 30-ish.
Another day down already.
Sean had worked on some dialogue for the upcoming scene and forwarded it to me last night. I’d gone through it and fleshed it out, so when he got here we just had to review it, paste it in, and format. Then a quick polish, and on to the next scenes.
We’ve found their lost dog, introduced the Ranger and the Grad student, learned about other missing animals, gotten their generator running, and were warned about fires. Oh, and one of the couples had hot mad monkey sex.
We ended up adding 6 or 7 pages today in pretty short order. That brings us to 25.5 pages more or less. According to early outline estimates, we should be at 23.5 pages, so we’re still running a little long. But my original estimate was a conservative 82 pages overall, and I’d really like to hit 90-100, so I think we’re just fine.
(NOTE: We’re using Zhura, an online script writing collaboration tool. It’s kinda buggy, and the page count it shows you in edit mode doesn’t exactly sync with the page count it shows in display mode. And neither quite matches the formatting you get when exporting to PDF. So we’re fudging a little on the numbers.)
What we’ve learned about the collaborative process is this: one or the other of us can work independently and come to the table with a first draft of the day’s scene(s), and that gets us mechanically through the outline pretty efficiently. But it’s not the most creatively rewarding system. It’s like we spend our time together editing each other’s work, rather than brainstorming and creating. We’re going to focus more on that, and less on independent work. Because when we do that, the whole is always greater than the sum of the parts. And isn’t that the point of collaboration?
Total hours in so far (Chip): 28.5
Sean spent a little time on his own over the weekend writing some first draft dialogue for the upcoming pages. So when we sat down today to work, we had a kind of a head start. We pasted in his notes, then set about refining and formatting them.
By and large it all worked. He hit all the points the outline called for, the dialogue worked well, it had the appropriate subtext. I hadn’t expected to have that head start, so that’s cool, but I am curious how it might have looked if we’d written it together. But so long as it all works, and we’re making forward progress, I’m not going to stress on it. 🙂
We added 7.5 pages today, so now we”re at about 18.5 pages. According to my early estimates, we should be at about 16.5, so we may be running a little long. But we’re going to save any deep edits for the next draft, and continue forward.
Regarding the story, the secret past relationship between two of our principals has been revealed, they’ve found the first stripped coyote corpse, and had our second (even more strange) interaction with crazy-old-lady.
Now the Ranger is about to appear, setting up a few plot points for later payoff. That’s for Wednesday.
Total hours in so far (Chip): 24.5
It’s Sunday night and this upcoming week looks less than full of writing… Tuesday I’ve got a lunch with a buddy and great writer from Sacramento to BS about writing, toss around some story ideas, and whatnot.
And since I got the part in the commercial, Friday will be all about the shoot.
So we won’t get five work days in. But I still hope to get 15-20 pages written this week. Too ambitious? We’ll see…
Day two of writing done. We’ve taken our principal characters from their meeting with the crazy old lady all the way into the mountains to the old cabin. They’ve gotten the boards off the windows, we’ve established their relationships and personalities a little more, and we’ve finally got them through their first night in the woods. And, we’ve heard the creatures for the first time! Good stuff.
We added 5.5 pages. That brings us to 11. According to my rough estimate, we should be at 11.5 pages, so we’re a little ahead of the game. At this rate we should be able to finish draft 1 in around 17 working days. And working days for us are far less than 8 hours, what with the family obligations and all.
Unfortunately that won’t be 17 consecutive working days. This week in particular has been less than optimally productive, since it’s Spring Break and my son is home from school all week and I’m Mister Mom. But my awesome wife has had him go to work with her a few times, so that’s been really helpful. Nevertheless, Sean had a doc’s appointment that took him out of town for the day, I had a couple things come up, and Friday is Good Friday. So we’re just getting two days in this week. Next week I hope will be better.
Day one is in the can (bag? hard drive?).
Zhura‘s online screenplay collaboration tool is working well.
It went quite smoothly… we plugged through the first half of our characters’ first day, getting all four primary’s introduced, learning a bit about the remote mountain locale, and meeting the creepy crazy old lady down the road. 🙂
We ended up with 5.5 pages of completed script, and it read pretty well. We’ll tweak on it, but it’s readable, and that fits in just fine with our “crap but done” goal for draft one (though really, I’m way too anal to accept crap, even in a first draft).