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Question for Writers.

Ok, this is my first Topic, so, be nice (And I´ll be super Nice, trust me).

Now; The question:
How much of the first draft of a script ussually makes it into the final version?

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This depends because it’s different every time. For me, when scripting I have a storyboard imagined in my head before I write after plotting each scene (or group of pages) for the whole script. Then it becomes a case of either changing minor details or removing or rewriting scenes if they aren’t working. Sometimes you get very close straight away and come back a week later and go, “I don’t have much to do to this.”

Other times you come back to rewrite and think “This is awful, what can I salvage?”

So the answer is pretty much ‘it’s different every time.’

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For me, a lot of it. I tend to redraft more earlier on in the process and then just make ammendments based on people’s comments

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That´s how I Usually work.

But still, there´s a good chance that, like, 20% ends rewritten anyway.

I do the rookie writer’s mistake of editing on the go - I don’t have many story ideas but when I do get a half-way decent one, I get so excited to jot it down that eventually I end up deleting much of what I’ve written in a fit of raging despair but I do find through the depressive haze of “this isn’t as good as when it was in my head, this is pure and utter shite” helps with the ol’ kill your darlings mandate and the embarrassment of anyone actually ever seeing this solipsistic wankery focuses me to delete the self-indulgent elements of the story leaving only the good bits, hopefully, fingers-crossed.

I’m not sure I could put a number on it - (except to say), seldom do my first draft resemble the final draft though, um, gun to my head, I’d say 20 to 30 percent as well or near-a-bouts.

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It’s definitely variable. A lot of it also depends on the strength of the outline I’m working with as well. The stronger I outline the more tends to survive through to the final. These days I try to start with big beats and refine my outline through a number of passes, so almost all of the plotting is finalized before I ever script a single draft.

Though then again time plays a big factor in how many rewrites occur as well. There are a few projects out in the wild, with my name listed as a writer where I and the other story team members had about 4 hours total to conceive and script the entire piece. In those situations close to 100% makes the final draft, because there’s no time to second guess. You spitball a bunch of ideas, nail down a rough and someone starts typing. It’s an exercise that has merit I guess, but I certainly prefer the luxury of some time to explore ideas thoroughly.

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Four hours to make an entire Script?

Sounds fun…
Totally Mental, but utterly fun.

Earlier this year I got obsessed with doing scripts in ‘one take’ so I’d sit down with a plan of scenes and how many pages each got, and then write the entire script and send it off to whoever it was for. I’d then go in and make changes bases on other people’s feedback, not my own.

This helped me quite a lot and now I have more confidence in my stuff because people seemed to quite enjoy my writing even when I hadn’t edited at all.

If this is of interest to anybody, I was kind of taught that self editing is the devil when I studied graphic design. Every drawing had to be in pen. That mentality has carried through into my writing in a way

Mental is the correct description.

I spent four years working with a group that would do the 48 hour film project as 3D animation shorts (4-5 minutes give or take). The story team had to be fast, because the animators and prop makers needed every minute they could get if we had any hope of finishing on time. (we only succeeded twice out of the four attempts).

After scripting, I’d either storyboard (super roughly) or do voice direction as well. Then I could take a nap. All in all it was a fun experience, but I was always glad we only tried once a year. And I don’t necessarily miss spending days trying to recover from such a manic weekend.

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Like others, it depends on the process. What usually stays is the “spine” of the story. It doesn’t start out THE TERMINATOR and end up BLADE RUNNER.

Everything else will change almost every time. A lot of times, I will have a great ending, but realize that it’s a terrible ending by the time I’ve written the story up to it. (Usually, I start with an ending where the hero sacrifices himself or herself for the good of others, and then realize I’ve written a story that must have the hero surviving. For some reason, I almost always start with downbeat endings and then proceed to write upbeat stories).

Almost always, the first thing to go are the things I’ve written that I like best. The most entertaining lines or sequences. I realize that when I let go of what I like, the story starts writing itself. Second, I get rid of anything that is just explaining the story. A lot of times, exposition is there for you, the writer, to realize what you are writing. Then once you get it, you can take it all out because the audience only needs to know what’s happening and not everything around what’s happening. Finally, that ending almost always goes because, naturally, you shouldn’t really know how a story ends until it’s told.

I think it is good to write with an ending in mind, but I find it is rarely the ending that ends up on the page.

Honestly, nothing is sacred except the writing. The only thing you can’t take away is the desire to finish the story. And it’s the biggest challenge of all to keep that in.

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I apologize for not crediting who mentioned Stephen King’s “kill your darlings” writing ethic. It’s so very true. The first draft of anything should be spontaneous, in the moment, like having a few drinks and wild sex. Let it fly, get everything you can out. Let the muse not only inspire you, but plant you to the sheets and ravage you. Ravage her (or him if you prefer) back.

After that, shut down your work and do something else. Come back later, the next day or whenever. Prepare to confront what you’ve written with a clearer head and with objectivity. You may find you’ve written a complete mess that can be scrapped altogether. More often then not, you’ll have laid out a solid blueprint for what you want to tell. It’s here where the actual craft of writing takes hold.

On average, I do 6 to 7 drafts of any project. The short stories I’ve had published went through that same number of re-writes. Even when I am writing a musician interview article or reviewing albums, books and videos, I do up to three edits before I turn in to my editors. While practicing how to write a comic script, everything I’ve attempted has been five or six drafts. Hopefully that will turn into actual professional work in the near future.

The key when going through the rewrites is to be one, confident in yourself and two, HONEST with yourself. If that crazed opening writing session feels like rape, question how to make it sound like lovemaking instead, unless you’re writing a horror story. :wink: You have to have the sense and courage to chop away, though. Too much fat potentially loses an audience.

Go get 'em!

I don’t wrote anything down until I have the final version worked out. So I guess 100%. Or maybe 98%, as there will be some typos I have to edit out.

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Although King definitely said it, the phrase is often attributed to William Faulkner. However, Arthur Quiller-Couch may have used the term “murder your darlings” in 1914 :slight_smile:

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Oh, cool! I appreciate that anecdote. Thanks for sharing, Drew.

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Not “may have”, definitely did. I have the transcript of his Cambridge lectures from 1913-14, and it’s there in print (page 157 of the 1946 edition, if anyone wants to read the quote in context :slight_smile: )

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“It depends” is probably a good answer. The thing about an idea is that you can put a lot of thought into it before you ever draft, but it can also change and morph the more you write it and think. I’d say generally you’d have to have a well-formed concept and goal in mind to shape so a good portion of the first draft in some sense (meaning perhaps just the theme or tone of the story) will be present when it’s finished.

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I usually don´t have much problem with the idea, the concept (if you may), or even the plot.
I rarely change something that I already put in the breakdowns (Scene by scene, page by page).
It´s the details and (specially) the Dialogue that keeps me rewriting stuff al the time (Even when my Artist, or Publisher had already said “It´s fine like this”.

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I usually do at least two drafts. I normally live with the story in my head for a while first before I even start. I need to have an idea of how the story ends and how it gets there. So when I’m writing, I’m trying to fill in the gaps and set the tone.

Once I have a plot, I usually start by writing dialogue (which may or may not be used). I used to write plays and that helps me to figure out how to get the characters from A to B.

Sometimes the subsequent drafts are substantially different. Sometimes they’re not so different at all. Sometimes it is just me trying different things out for size and then casting them off again.

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Kind of varies. Sometimes as much as 90% and my most recent effort for the MillarWorld contest was 0%. I tossed out the draft completely and restarted. It read more like a lost scene than a short story in and of itself.

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Hi there. I typically write it based on a preset goal or due date. Once it’s finished give it time to cool off in my head before looking it over for major corrections. Then doing the same for minor ones. Then submit and hope I got all of the grammar nid bits.