chapter  24
8 Pages

Rewriting

Once we subject the mainstream rules to scrutiny, we are left without a map upon which we can depend. By what standards do we critique our own work? How do we get ourselves out of trouble? What guides our rewrites? We don’t want to minimize how difficult it is to work without guidance. Models do provide an important framework. For instance, in her book Making a Good Script Great, Linda Seger offers a very good checklist of what each act should accomplish: “What kinds of action points are within my script? Barriers? Complications? Reversals? Where do they occur, and how often?”1 are a few of the questions she asks about Act Two. These questions are very helpful to a writer. However, we feel that checking your script against a list of questions does not address the fundamental issue. It presumes that the rules are more important than is the life or urgency that we hope will be created by your script. Anyone who has read amateur scripts will bear witness to this misappropriation of values. Most amateur scripts contain every one of the prescribed act breaks, and many would pass the checklist for act accomplishments, yet most of them are absolutely dead.