The Home of Steven Barnes
Author, Teacher, Screenwriter

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Brain Freeze and Easter Eggs

Brain Freeze and Easter Eggs

Had a fantastic meeting with my film producer the Wednesday before Thanksgiving. He invited me to his lovely home in Beverly Hills, we talked life and politics and personal history before telling me that, aside from typos, he had no more notes for me. No. More. Notes.

So today I'll speak with him briefly to clarify some things, and then make those adjustments and send it off. And then...the fun begins.

Look, I've published over three million words of fiction and non-fiction, and written about two dozen television scripts. I'm still so excited I can barely control myself. To be honest, early in my career I developed a pattern of writing a dynamite first draft, and then freezing when it came to rewrite time. Freezing. By brain just locked up. Why?

Well...hard to say. It could have been emotional stuff (oh my Gawd! What if I fail!) or mental stuff (how do I integrate these notes!) or even spiritual stuff (if I succeed, I will change my life. My self-image. That is ego death, of a kind.)

But in time, I learned to ease into it. To integrate notes without really noticing I was doing it. Here's the pattern, so far as I can figure.
1) Take all notes given by the producer.
2) Wait a day, and then copy them into a central file.
3) Re-read the project, noting locations where the notes might be addressed.
4) Think through the notes, finding those that seem most reasonable and logical and easiest to do.
5) Consider that "low hanging fruit" and see which ones could reinforce my theme and strengthen the story. Unless I have a STRONG objection to them, try to integrate, making notes in the manuscript.
6) Keep remembering my closing images. Every action, line of dialog and plot turn has to reinforce those images. They are the "meaning" of the work.
7) If at all possible, find some little thing to tweak, adding a line or image somewhere. I've found that it's fun to give the producer or story editor something new to read, something to keep it fresh, a little "Easter Egg" to reward careful reading.

That last one is just something that I've learned over the years, and every time I've done that, things have worked out well. is another threshold. Can't wait!



Shady_Grady said...

Looking forward to learning what this is about.

Chris said...

Off topic...

Just wanted you to know my 12 yr old daughter has devoured Devils Wake in two days and loves it.

Steven Barnes said...