In his book, Screenwriting, Raymond G Frensham, talks about six types of focus associated with rewriting a screenplay: comprehension, structure, characters, dialogue, style, and polishing. Although opinions differ on the exact number and order of rewrites, Frensham’s view offers some useful insights.
In this first post in the series I examine the first stage of the rewriting process and offer some suggestions for piloting the process. I will be looking at some of the other stages in follow-up posts.
The First Rewrite: Enhancing Comprehension
In seeking to make your story as understandable as possible, ask yourself the following questions and seek remedies if the answers are less than ideal:
1. Is my particular story the best vehicle for expressing my dramatic and emotive intent? Would changing the setting or characters or genre improve the impact and effectiveness of my tale?
2. What information does the audience need to know in order to understand the story? Is the information revealed at the appropriate stages?
3. Can I strengthen the story by more strongly referencing its genre, for example, does my action film contain enough action, my love story enough love (or hate), etc.?
4. Are my characters’ actions motivated by their situation, background, and personality type?
5. Have I chosen the right structure for the type of story I’m writing? Is a three-act structure the best vehicle for my particular tale, or would a two, four, or five act-structure be better?
6. Whose story is it? In other words, through whose eyes is the audience experiencing the story?
The process of completing a screenplay involves several stages, each with its own focus and task. This post has examined the first stage—enhancing story comprehension.
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