There are few things I hate about writing. I don’t necessarily like deadlines as they can hinder organic growth of the story. I hate writer’s block… but really, what writer likes writer’s block. But honestly, if there’s one thing that I dislike more, its editing.
Yeah, editing… Sitting and going over your work with a fine-tooth comb and having other people going over things with the same fine-tooth comb. It’s unnerving. There’s something very primal about writing and telling your story. Getting the jumble of words out of your head and on to a piece of paper or typed out in a word processor.
When you have to stop and check the fine details, it becomes a bit unnerving.
But that’s where I find myself at this point. Editing. Re-reading. Scratching out. Re-writing. Wash. Rinse. Repeat. Bleh.
I would rather continue to write and explore this story.
At the same time, there are merits to the editing process. It allows you a chance to better flesh out your characters. Make them sound like they’re multiple voices instead of coming from the same mind. Unfortunately, a lot of movies suffer from the problem of all the dialogue sounds like it’s the same. The most notable show of this is the movie “Clerks”.
Don’t get me wrong, I love “Clerks”. I think Kevin Smith is a skilled wordsmith. But the dialogue in that movie wasn’t distinguished enough. Anything Dante said could have been said by anyone else, except Jay. Jay is the only character in the movie that doesn’t sound like anyone else.
It’s a common pitfall that I think almost all screenwriters do. It’s so hard to write diverse dialogue when you’re only one brain and one person. I imagine that anyone who works in a collaboration has an easier time with it. But being one person it becomes harder to differentiate dialogue.
I did find that sitting down and writing out the ideas that I had about character personality and motivation as well as some background information, it helps me think past my dialogue . It pushes past that wall. And I never realize that I need to do it until I’m in the editing process. As I sit and re-read the dialogue, I realize that maybe this isn’t coming from multiple people. It’s because I’m stuck in my brain to get out the dialogue. By writing out all these different personality types, I can see where and how the dialogue needs to shift.
I wish I had done that a lot sooner with this recent screenplay. I might not have been stuck in editing hell for months. I probably would have finished the editing long before I am now. As is, I need to go back and re-edit the beginning to work on shifting the dialogue that I missed before.
But you know what, I’m not on that dreaded deadline. It’s getting done now, that’s what matters.