So I've been belting out a new spec without the aid of a safety net. No outline. Unusual for me, but great fun.
Now I have to take a step back. I know roughly where it's going but I'm not sure I've done the prep work in the first 40 pages to justify the proposed ending. Mostly from a tonal point of view.
I have a feeling I've been so interested in the characters I've lost sight of the goal. Maybe I haven't, but I think I need time away to decide.
Fortunately I'm being forced away by notes on a draft due for Friday. That and a weekend away will let it all filter through for a while.
I always try to listen to these instinctive doubts. Usually there is a reason, though perhaps not the reason I first thought. And sometimes it takes time for those to come to the fore.
All writers have doubts. Is this a piece of crap? Am I so into it I can't see the faults? This is compounded when you get feed back.
A mate of mine has what I think is a great spec he's just put out. It's an ensemble piece along the lines of Auf Weidersein Pet. Completely different subject matter, but in that vein.
He's had a couple of comments back along the lines of 'Who is the protagonist, who do we root for?
I guess there are three answers to that.
1. It's an ensemble piece. There is no protagonist.
2. Oh shit I need a protagonist.
3. The audience will have their favourites to root for depending on the story of the week.
It's odd that the writers having read the spec think it is great. They see it for what it is. The editors/producers who have read it so far, only 2 I hasten to add, had the protagonist comment.
Now if you were really paranoid you'd at this stage think 'hell, 100% of producer response is that I need to change this to have a main protag. Clearly they are all looking for 3 act structure, protag and antag.'
I know that is not what this project is about. So does the writer. But at what stage does the writer then try to reshape the project to fit the percieved market? Should they even try?
Well certainly not after 2 responses. And in my view only at all if it doesn't rip the heart out of the piece.
I had a meeting with a big independent. They wanted to do a project of mine providing I didn't have the same premise. Same characters but in a different work environment. I didn't do it. The characters were to me, the embodiment of the original premise. Taking them out of that environment would take the heart out as far as I was concerned. Sometimes you have to make those difficult choices.
'Love nothing' is an old pro writer's adage. Meaning don't get so attatched to something that you pass up a sale because you won't agree changes. But it's not quite as simple as that. You have to love what you do to make it work. The rest comes down to the state of your bank balance at the time.
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3 years ago