So this morning I received Chapter Two revisions from RJ. There’s a brief excerpt on his MySpace (that sound you just heard was running down small children to get there). He’s promised me he’s not going to touch it any more.
I’m giddy. There is a dynamic working with someone who brain works along the same lines as yours but in a different room, in a different house, drinking from the same well with different levels of arsenic. We have writing styles that are complimentary, but still take a little getting used to. I’m guessing by the time we have this finished, we’ll be able to write under each other’s names (oh, there’s an idea). We’ll also have a joint voice that I hope we can employ in future volumes.
Fleshing out a screenplay isn’t nearly as easy as it sounds. Screenwriters are trained to take out long exposition and make the characters tell the story. Atmosphere is left up to director and DP. Fleshing out something I’ve already written should be simple enough since I knew what I had in mind when I originally wrote it, but there are jumps and jogs that the medium (motion picture) necessitated. The first hurdle was taken care of when RJ took the liberty of breaking up the scenes into chapters. Seeing them now, I understand the natural breaks in scene and tone, but if I’d been asked to do it, I’d still be working on it.
I look at Isle of Shadows, the screenplay, and I see the exposition/description that needs to be added – but novels are more that describing what characters are doing. The characters have to be able to interact with their backgrounds, not just move through and past them. They have to interact with each other, and naturally, and if you’ve ever tried to make two children who’ve never met play nice together, you can understand where I’m coming from. Characters are more than sounding boards for a writer’s ID and the worlds they live in are more than set pieces. Regardless of the genre, novelists have to create believable people and places, even if those people and places are too fantastic for this reality. Novelists act as producers, directors, and casting agents for their own vanity projects. What a wonderful opportunity, you might think, but it’s its own death trap. Grueling but satisfying work, especially since we can kill off characters that get on our nerves, but maddening in the way a dog chases its tail.
Anyway, receipt of Chapter Two is also known as “progress”. It also means that the portions I’m working on are now due. This is a good thing as we all know how well I do with deadlines that aren’t self-imposed.
I’m looking over it (Chapter 2), and it’s a monster. Isle of Shadows is turning into one of those mini-epics and I like that. Being in the mindset of writing short stories under 500 words and novels that can be completed in 50,000 words has made me extremely lazy, and with every paragraph, I’m learning a new skill – mainly how to write a story that can’t be wrapped up in two-hundred pages.
By the by, this isn’t to say that I won’t be completing my shorter novels, Lord knows I have the time on my hands to do just that, but like other parts of my life, I’m learning how to compartmentalize my writing styles and projects.