Saturday, August 18, 2012


It's been a good week for writing.  The sky opened up and a lot of good ideas dropped out and solved some problems.  I realized I hadn't focused enough and did some hard thinking about the characters.  I had to concentrate on how they would change during the story.  The really brought things together and I finally got a good eye on things.  I went back and rewrote it and the characters are coming off a lot stronger now.  I also got a lot of work done on the second, and final, episode.  The other result of the new characters is there's a lot more conflict and tension, more drama, between them.
Since the whole idea behind the story was changing the title "November Girl" didn't work anymore.  It wasn't about her any more.  I had considered "November Girl: In the Shadows of the Bombs" but that and the individual episode titles got to be to confusing.  "November Girl: In the Shadows of the Bombs.  Episode One: The Long Winter" was way to much.  I finally decided to pull "November Girl" out of the title.  I also think "In the Shadows of the Bombs" is a pretty interesting and attention getting title. 
Will most likely finish the script this weekend.

Friday, August 10, 2012


It hasn't been as good of a week as I had hoped.  They were supposed to review and work on the script in the podcast on Thursday.  On Wednesday night I got an email telling me that, due to budget restrictions, the entire series of podcasts had been cancelled.  That was it.  A really good opportunity just wasn't going to happen.
The script has, however, gotten three reviews from other authors on the Trigger Street Labs site.  There are a few things they brought up that I have to admit need work.  One of thems were the times I told things instead of showing them and I can't deny that is something that needs to be fixed and strengthened.  What happened is I was writing the script in the "What can I produce?" frame of mind and not the big budget feature film mind set.  That really is neither good or bad for the script.  It doesn't hurt it but it would help to keep that in mind during a rewrite.
One thing that puzzles me is the complaints about the "to be" verbs.  In fiction I'm told to focus on them but two of the reviews have said they are distracting in a screenplay.  I'm not sure I understand this.  They specifically say that "November is walking along the river" is the wrong way to say it.  It should be "November walks along the river."  I have to think that one through because I'm not sure I understand the problem there.
There are times they felt that I was really talking to the viewer instead of the characters talking to each other.  I have to admit I'm guilty.  That is partially be design.  It's the Heinlein traits I like so much and have to admit there were times I wanted to say something.  Of course, this complaint came from two of the three reviewers and I should really wait until I get more feedback before approaching it.
One of the reviews really didn't like that I told detailed character motivations and reactions in the description.  "November is confused by this and not sure how to react." should be replaced by "November is unsure and shrugs." or just what she physically does.  This is something I don't really agree with.  I remember reading a book by David Gerrold about writing The Trouble with triblles episode of Star Trek.  He talked about how his original script would have directions like "Kirk reacts." and was told during the production it should give more info and how Kirk reacted.  Was he sad?  Was he angry?  Did he take it seriously?  Need to think about this one a while, too.  


I really got into this script right away. I’m fascinated by end of the world stories, because I know society as we know it can change awfully quick and what could replace it might not be all that pleasant. I love The Walking Dead and World War Z and this reminded me of those a little bit. Just without the zombies.

You opened with a very
strong visual. 25 nukes going off will get your attention. Then the 5 months later slug line is pretty cool too. Good drama, sucks you in. In other movies, the nukes going off might be the end of the movie. Here it is just the start.

You do a great job of getting us to like November right away as she comes to Dove’s rescue. A great “Save the Cat” moment of creating a hero that we like.

From there I liked how you showed us what this new world was like and how details of how the attack happened.

I have to admit, I liked the script when the scope of the characters was smaller. Like in the book and movie “The Road.” A huge event has occurred, but because we stay mainly with the father and son it is easier to follow and stay involved with “The Road.” Once all these different characters came into the picture in your script, it was a little tough keeping up with them all.

I’m sure in a movie it would be fine, as we have the actors to keep up with. On the page of the script it is a little tougher.

It is quite a twist to think that the hero we’ve been following could be involved with the bombing of America, so that was a good twist.

I do have to say I thought the ending was anticlimactic. As I read the script, I was really anticipating the ending. Would another bomb go off? Would the US be restored?

But it ended as if this was just the first part of a series of movies, which may be your goal. I guess I wanted more bang for the buck.

I saw in your bio that you have written some novels, and I would suggest you turn this into a novel, if you haven’t already. Look at he success of Hunger Games. Always a market for strong female characters that can kick ass. Also you can go more internal with your characters and share their thoughts, which you can’t really do with a script.

Post nuclear scripts have been done, but I like your Iowa take on it. How does this small city and its inhabitants
deal with the new world? I liked that.
If I were you I would write this story as a novel and try to get some traction there and then sell the movie rights.
If you want to push it strictly as a screenplay, I would suggest
investing in some screenplay formatting books and make sure your script looks like a Hollywood standard script. Otherwise people might think it is the work of an amateur and not give it a fair shot.
I’m sure a lot of reviews are going to give you a hard time about the format, but the truth is, if it is a good story, format won’t matter. Formatting can be fixed a lot easier than a bad script can be.
If you do reformat, break up your action paragraphs. I try to only have 2 or 3 lines of action in a paragraph, then I start another 2 or 3 line paragraph, if I need it. And if I can have one line, even better. Why? Because people are lazy and tend to skim long blocks of description in scripts.
Of course they will read and buy novels and, which by their nature are very wordy, but scripts are different. The quicker people read, the faster they will get into your story.
Also you don’t need to break the script up into parts, as if it was a mini series. If it is a feature film, you just go from start to finish. No act breaks.
You could always try to sell it as a TV series, but that is easier said than done. Plus it seems a lot like that new NBC series REVOLUTION. Not the idea, but just the tone of it a little bit. Maybe that could be a good thing if Revolution is a hit. Maybe people will rush out to clone it.
So for me, I like the first half better than the last half. I think you should think about making it a novel, if you haven’t already done so. Give the script proper formatting and be aware the ending is kind of a let down. But it does show you have a lot of talent as a writer.
Enjoyed reading it. Good luck.