I heard a great phrase a couple of years ago that has stayed with me. The speaker said, “We live in a pierce & ding age. You pierce the top of a frozen meal, a few minutes in the microwave; and DING; it’s ready.” The point she was making was about how fast things happen now, and how we’ve gotten used to it. People look for instant responses to emails, we don’t like to wait for webpages to load, and we pay to see the preview episode of our favourite box set; because we just can’t wait.
A publisher recently sent me a review of a published book that I’d edited for them. The review praised several specifics that I had fought for over two revision cycles. To me, the need for the changes had seemed obvious—but they came as a surprise to the author. In fact, the last several manuscripts I’ve worked on have had significant structural issues—nothing that couldn’t be repaired, but expensive in terms of time and effort, especially since some problems came up early and affected events throughout the book.
I wrote last time about the evolving process of creating my first two graphic novels, and how I plan to break this next one down even more into manageable bites that don’t feel so overwhelming. Now I’m considering breaking the story into three parts: a triptych as it were.
You’re probably wondering why in the world a screenwriter would worry about description. After all, don’t we just write dialogue and action? Well, no. Not entirely. We have to think in visuals, just like any creative writer does. But we have to pare down those visuals into a few words, to create tone and setting in a way that’s almost like poetry. And that means we really have to feel that setting. Get into our characters’ and story’s heads, if you will, so we can convey see their world through their emotions.