Derry, Northern Ireland

Derry, Northern Ireland
A book I'm working on is set in this town.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

I can't do it

I just about convinced myself I could re-write KAZN, an action-suspense script I wrote years ago about a young soldier seeking vengeance on the man he believes had his family killed, only to start falling for the man's daughter.  In every way it was a very commercial script -- a hero who speaks little but does one hell of a lot, a love interest, a point in the script where I've been told by readers they honestly thought I was going to kill the guy off, intrigue, some major fight sequences and a finale where four different groups are going at each other in a closed space.  Commercial in every way except the lead was Russian.

Well...I thought for some wild and crazy reason I could shift this story to one following an American soldier instead of the Russian.  And tried to, this evening.  And it was a struggle from the first moment.  I finally tried to approach it as a new story...but that only made things a little better.  So now, after hours working at it, I can see the script is what it is.  It came to me correct and ready and for me to change its characters just in the hope of making a buck would be a violation of the story's integrity.

So...I'm dropping it.  Learning, yet again, that once the story and characters are set, they're set right.  And I mess with that at my own peril.  Maybe the lesson will finally engrave itself in my psyche.

I have a number of scripts where things weren't quite right so messing with them made a huge difference and let them become right.  Like "Still Life."  For years I had it set in Houston and it worked all right, but I was never completely comfortable with it.  Then I shifted it to Dublin and it fell into place.  And now I can't even think of it being in Houston, anymore.  Same for "Coby O' and the Pink Palace of Texas".  Making Coby gay and the guy he's interested in straight-but-not-narrow with the whole thing being about gay rights being cynically used to cover up a crime gave the story life and heart and soul instead of just action.  Now I know what it's about.

I have a couple other scripts that never settled down, so I may revisit them later on and see what we come up with.


Brad Rushing said...

But now it's time for "Place of Safety" right, Mr. Distractomatic?

JamTheCat said...

Right. Guilty as charged. You'd think I had ADD as well as dylsexia. But this whole little episode WAS an exercise in avoidance. No excuses.

BTW, Brendan's laughing his ass off at my obviousness.