Before I begin, let me explain that this series is not a ‘how to’ on structure, formatting etc… There are way too many books and blogs on that already. Rather, it is a look at how the subtleties of the process help to inform it, simple things like where the characters are from and why. The details that give us rich, compelling and complex characters and lay the foundation for a good story. Subtleties that as of yet, are not in any of the countless number of ‘how to books’ that I’ve read. As my buddy Sherlock so eloquently put it, ‘data, data, data, I cannot make bricks without clay’.
So, we last read that my seed had become a sapling, now’s the time to strengthen the roots. Once I knew the main character would be a media mogul and someone facing death from insomnia, I pictured an opening scene where he preps for his last day of life as if he were going to a first-class pajama party. (more on this scene is coming) I began researching similar screenplays and dvd’s in that vein. Naturally, 1st on the list was CITIZEN KANE. (One of mine, and the World’s faves, no doubt.) Well, dare I be so presumptuous to compete? (here’s the short answer: yes, when a writer is trying to get a deal, you HAVE to be presumptuous). Okay, next up: STRANGER THAN FICTION. An excellent screenplay that is widely acknowledged to be much better than the film, read it now — I’ll wait.
(Glad you’re back, someday I’ll post STF’s 1st 10 here, when I get that part of the site completed.)
Next in my research – I come across an interesting twist to a genetic testing start-up in L.A. while doing some casual reading in WIRED. I needed this tidbit to help tie-up how he would learn of his genetic failure. At the same time, I dug more into the time period of the Italian family in my main source (the book highlighted in post 2). Which led me to a lot of versions of THE MERCHANT OF VENICE. And YES!!! this was my character’s backstory. That will answer why he is so driven and why if this horrible disease runs in his family, doesn’t he know about it’s existence?
Good stuff – but very serious I know. Next we’ll talk about lightening things up a bit.