Wednesday, March 08, 2006


Okay, so I'm sending up a flare.

The current script is almost done. The first draft was 173 pages. After a single compression pass, it was 143 pages, and that was only via removing/combining some dialogue, and shortening action and dialogue lines. Then I realized the line spacing was too large (more than standard), so now it's 135 pages. I think it stands on its own at that length -- and yes, I'm well aware of the difficulties inherent in specs longer than 120 pages or so. However, the set of acceptable outcomes for me also includes getting work based on the quality of my writing, and not just selling the script di-rectly.

Right now I'm doing a full-spectrum dialogue pass. This means establishing a dialogue style for every character, and then making sure every line of their dialogue fits that style. This is micromanagement at its finest; I'm glad I spent all those years fine-tuning my colonies in Master of Orion II. This is asking questions like, Does this character use phraseology like "I want" or "I need"? Does he say "This is X," or "I think this is X," or "Do you think this is X?" Does this character use words with Greek roots, Latinate roots, or Germanic/Norse roots?

More than that, I'm also making sure that the characters' dialogue flows well and is interesting. The hopeful end result is that someone reading the script will have the sense that the dialogue is good, but not be able to tell why. This is incredibly tedious work, but it's the kind of fine detail that I think is important in making a script excellent.