After letting it sit and ferment for a few days, I’ve begun going through The Script and seriously processing the feedback I’ve received from the first of my Trusted Readers. The plan is to get through about 25-30 script pages a day and take notes regarding general structure issues, plot holes, etc., and set it aside until I get the feedback from Trusted Reader #2. Repeat the process for T.R.s #2 and #3. Dose liberally with strong liquid and allow to ferment again, then wade through the now sacred Notes for Revision and develop a plan for the next rewrite, paying special attention to the commonalities the Trusted Readers mention as being problem areas.
That is the plan, anyway.
Some general insights/surprises from the first batch:
1) Things that you think are clear in the story, aren’t. Case in point: I have two things going on in The Script that in my mind were clearly separated as two distinct events. I have somehow conveyed the idea on the page that those things are happening simultaneously and at the same location. There are many comments regarding ‘where is x?’ or ‘why don’t they use y that you said was in x?’
2) Consideration of something being ‘filmable’ or ‘producable.’ A bunch of stuff happening with lots of people (the proverbial Cast of Thousands) and their horses is expensive to film and difficult to manage. And after review, hard to keep track of on the page. At least for me. Apparently.
3) Back story/setting the stage. In trying to limit ‘talking heads’ spouting exposition (and get my page count down to a realistic level), during my last solo edit/revision, I successfully eliminated the explanation why this particular group is doing what they are doing and the reason for doing it the way they are. Cutting is good. Cutting too much, in this instance, created more problems than it solved.
These are three of the big things that have come out of that first set of notes so. There will be more coming, I’m sure.
PS – A note to any Trusted Readers out there: Please be sure to note the good as well as the bad. It is encouraging to hear what’s worked for you in addition to what didn’t. You will help your Writing Friend scale a potentially overwhelming, hopeless task (It’s all crap. I have to start again from scratch) in his mind back to a manageable problem or series of problems to tackle (these three or four bits are fine, and the general story is ok, I only need to fix half of it to make it work). It is much, much easier on the psyche.