Derry, Northern Ireland

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

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Oddities occur...

Google Maps likes to play with you. I had to drive down to Washington, DC today to get ready for a packing job, tomorrow, so I checked to see how long the drive would be. It suggested I take a route that's fairly direct -- just 395 miles as opposed to 460, and would be 15 minutes faster...and it took me through the Allegheny National Forest (which would have been lovely if the trees were in bloom). So I figured, Why not?

Well...the reason is -- 1/3 of the roads Google had me go down were two-lane blacktops with lower speed limits, no-passing zones, lots of little towns where you suddenly had to go 25mph, and Sunday drivers. Next time I go to DC, I'm taking the Interstate the whole damned way. It may be 65 miles longer but it would have taken an hour less.

Still...that's just nonsense stuff you'll never know about until you try, and at least I let myself have a long, long adventure behind the wheel. What made this odd was, while I'm riding down the road, I'm also riding high on Carli's Kills, a low-budget horror-thriller I wrote, making it to semi-finalist in the Screencraft Screenwriting Fellowship. Not exactly the Nicholl, but still a solid reaffirmation of my abilities.

Which, for some reason, led me to having ideas on how to rewrite a little psychological horror script I hadn't done anything with in years; why it came up, I have no idea. It's called Mine To Kill and is about the collision between an empathic-intuitive ER intern who can see the evil in men's souls and a brilliant woman who's obsessed with her cheating husband. He dies in a car wreck and she tries to bring him back to they can kill the intern for letting him die.

I never could get it really come together. Parts are really good; parts are just slapped in place to make things happen. It's sort of been my step-child of a I like but not my favorite...until this drive. Since I had so much leisurely time behind the wheel, my mind wandered into the story and I finally saw the problem -- I was trying to reconcile a very off-beat story about two wounded people who wind up as enemies with what I'd been told has to happen according to Syd Field and Save The Cat and all those crappy how-to books on screenwriting.

To start with, it's not a 3-act script; it's a 5-act. Which breaks the rules, just from the outset. I wrote Wide New World as a 5 act and people kept telling me it was all wrong, but with that one I could say I just didn't care. I accepted it for what it is, and for me to have forced it into a 3-act structure would have killed the story. I learned that from bad experience.

I also wrote a 2-act script and people said that was preposterous, that there is no such thing. Well, there is -- Psycho. The first act is Marion stealing the money to help Sam, in 3 movements; the second act is Lila and Sam trying to find out what happened to her, in 2 movements. People's dismissal of that is just a refusal to accept that not everything fits into a pre-cast formula. So I'm going to rework MTK in the way it wants to be and see what happens. I acknowledge that means most of the film industry will not consider the script worthy of attention...and maybe that's just me being arrogant or self-indulgent, I don't know.

I just know, when the story finally settles into its length and structure, I risk destroying it if I don't along...and I think MTK has finally decided what it wants to do.

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