Perfume

Perfume: The Story of a Murderer (film) - Wikipedia

When I first saw this film starring a breaking out Ben Wishaw, I was duly intoxicated. Perfume: The Story of A Murderer was adapted from the 1985 novel in 2006. As the years have passed, it’s remained in my memory as an enchanting dark fairy tale often brought up in tones of reverie with writer friends. 

We watched it again and I am pained to say it does not hold up. 

Now Jean-Baptiste’s pursuit of capturing scent struck a wholly different chord. I watched as the would-be perfumer, desperate to truly trap the scent of a women, becomes a serial killer stripping women of their scent and their life. Now all I could see was the women. They were mere props and incidental damage in this Poor Unfortunate White Man’s pursuit of his personal greatness; his art. The women have no agency, no names, no value beyond what he extracts. 

His first murder occurs because he follows a woman whose scent enraptures him and when he doesn’t understand how to speak to her like a human, she screams and he silences her – oops, suffocates her. But it’s OK because he had a rough childhood and we know he’s special. Who was she? JP later extracts women’s scents by killing them after an uppity prostitute tries to assert a boundary with him. She demands consent and he kills her. This was getting really uncomfortable. 

Perfume: The Story of a Murderer | Netflix

The film posits that only pretty, young girls have worth because that is all JP chooses. So beauty has a smell? It also posits that this smell is so powerful, it can take over a town and, by extension, mankind. JP learns in the end that it was not the smell at all, but the promise of love he’d been enchanted by and he hadn’t understood that because he had such a Poor Unfortunate Childhood and was Special. So the upshot is: none of the women had to die at all, oops! And really, once he understands the extraction method, none of them would have had to die anyway if he’d just gotten consent. But that requires conversation and valuing women as humans. And hey, as long as a Special White Man accomplishes his dream, right?

As I watched this film a second time, the breathtaking cinematography drew me in again. And Ben’s great performance. And I found myself mortified that I hadn’t seen all these issues before; that I had bought into the dream, as intoxicated as JP. That is the scary part. We have been so conditioned to rally behind the dream of the Special White Man, we will overlook the cost paid by the women in his way. I am glad we’re waking up. 

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Consistent Character

One thing I talk about with writers is the importance of doing background development work on your characters. This helps ensure they behave consistently throughout your story, run by the fears, hopes, and dreams that shaped them. As the story turns, they can shift and grow, but there still needs to be some internal consistency to how they behave.

For example, a cruel character can learn kindness but it would be inconsistent for them to show it through the same actions that a sweetly generous character might. They’ll show it in their own way.

In one of our non-typical services, I’m helping a novelist client query agents and managers. We’ve created a compelling pitch with different topics and elements we can pull from to customize each query we send.

My client and I were on our usual video call last week looking over the latest batch of names in her spreadsheet when a familiar name made my stomach knot. The name was too unique. It had to be her.

My client noticed my sudden snort. “What?”

“I went to high school with her,” I said.

“Oh, great!” my client enthused. “So we have an in with her.”

“Nooooooo,” I breathed. “She was awful to me.”

“Oh, well then screw her,” my client’s chin went up. “We’ll find another.”

“No, no,” I hedged. “A lot of time has passed since then. We’ve all changed, right? She wasn’t outright cruel to me. She just wasn’t nice. Never missed a chance at a snarky barb. She assumed she was smarter than everyone – heck, maybe she was, look at her cool publishing job – but she never missed a chance to lord her intelligence over us. She was a snob.”

I looked at the agent’s photo. Sure enough, it was her. Same haircut as in high school. Same face but with maturity on it. A blouse I liked and would have worn myself. “You know what,” I went on, “reading her bio, she does seem like a good fit for your book. It’s silly to not take a chance because of old pettiness. Maybe she has changed. She has to have, right? We all have.”

“OK,” my client nodded. “If you’re comfortable with it, we’ll do it.”

I smiled, enjoying this high road.

In our going for “100 NOs” as a measure of our outreach efforts, we’ve gotten some very kindly worded rejections. Sure, the agents who decided my client’s book wasn’t for them probably all took the same cursory glance and hit send on their “no thank you” form letter. But it says something to us about the value of our efforts that those form letters were composed in kindness, clearly intending to let writers down easy. It doesn’t cost them anything to be kind, right?

After a week or so, my client texted me. “Guess what, we heard from your high school friend!” I knew it was a no. She forwarded me the email. It was a terse, bloodless single line: “I’m not interested in this.” No time, no effort, no kindness.

My client called and we laughed together. There she was; the same girl she’d been in high school. Consistent in her actions, just like a well-written character. I appreciate that. She clearly hasn’t gotten to the part of her story where she gets to shift and grow but as all stories share the same basic structure, I believe it’s coming.

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Ford v Ferrari and Character Desperation

I have always been a car girl. In my childhood bedroom there was nary a Barbie or baby doll in sight, but I had a killer collection of Hot Wheels. As an adult, I consider the 1965 AC Shelby Cobra the holy grail of collectible sports cars. A blue one with white stripes is on my someday-maybe dream list. So I knew I would love Ford v Ferrari for the cars alone. The thrum of the engines had me grinning from the opening credits. However, under all the high-octane fun, there is a well structured script—a titanium chassis, if you will.

We ask our writers: in what way is your character desperate at the start of the story? In this film every character starts Act One desperate in some way. Legendary driver and designer Carroll Shelby is forced to retire after a heart attack, and is on the edge of suffering another at any moment. Genius but “difficult” driver Ken Miles is barely paying the bills when the IRS shuts down his auto shop to collect back taxes. Henry Ford II is desperate to turn around Ford’s decline. Lee Iacocca is desperate to impress Henry and keep his job.

The stakes are high for everyone and that creates strong narrative momentum that opens the throttle on this story. The characters’ needs and wants all collide in a beautifully messy, fast-paced script. Its beating heart is the relationship between Shelby and Miles. Throughout the story, the characters consistently make high-stakes decisions, from which there is no turning back. At one point Shelby bets his whole company on Miles winning a huge race. Not only does this have us leaning forward for the whole race, it shows an important development in the internal relationship between the characters; a moment when one chooses to trust the other no matter what.

Of course, Ford v Ferrari is based on a true story, so there is the additional challenge of picking the right elements and being able to let go of “what really happened.” Did Shelby really bet the company on Miles’ ability? I don’t know, and ultimately I don’t care. It was a great choice in the service of increasing the stakes and accelerating the narrative momentum. It made me care more deeply about these characters. In another moment, Miles is left off the team he expected to lead, and listens to the race from home. In real life, Miles was on the team, but forced to share the drive with also-legendary Bruce McLaren. For the movie, leaving Miles at home was a much stronger choice. It breaks our hearts, and makes us root for him all the more in the next sequence. Sometimes the literal truth has to take a back seat to the most effective way of telling the emotional truth of a story.

So I ask you: How is your character desperate at the start of your story? The best answer will create high stakes for your character, whether internal or external. Or ideally, both.

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Made In Italy – In Search of Stakes

“You haven’t seen Made in Italy?” one of our Orvieto alums gasped. I know. I’m a cliche. I love Italy to the point I married an Italian; I have my citizenship; and we run our annual screenwriting retreats there. I must devour every film about Italy, right? Or every film about an Anglo finding themselves in Italy because, let’s be honest, that is the dream.

I hadn’t seen this currently streaming Liam Neeson starrer about a man and his son slowly reconnecting while prepping the family vacation home in Tuscany for sale. It should have been right up my alley. So we watched it. And truth be told, the scenery did make me pine with physical pain, because we can’t go there this year. But pretty views and a wonderful Liam aren’t enough.

As I pondered why the film hadn’t been a home run, a few things came to me. The structure was a bit all over the place. It gets off to a tidy start with the inciting incident in the first moments of the film. But that’s followed by the point of no return by minute nine–usually this is the end of act one, often 20-30 minutes into a film. Uh oh, I thought. What are we going to do for the next 80 minutes? Well, we’re going to have feelings in pretty places, the B story.

B story is critical to a film’s success. The emotional journey is the heart of the film. But it has got to hang from a strong A story–the external narrative that provides the protagonist’s main goal. Consider the romcom classic You’ve Got Mail (a remake of the delightful Shop Around the Corner). What you remember is the B story: Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks fall in love by getting to know each other via email, until they realize in person that they are business rivals. You may not remember the A story: they are business rivals because she has an independent bookstore that his big book store conglomerate wants to take over. Clearly, the A and B stories are tied together, as they should be, but the B Story is what you remember. However, without that strong, clear A story, it would just be a film about people having feelings in emails and in bookstores.

In Made in Italy, the A story is there. It’s just never really anchored in what’s going on. This is due in part to stakes. We understand what the protagonist stands to gain (positive stakes) if he accomplishes his goal. If he sells the house he can use the money to buy the art gallery that he feels will make him a success. Do you really need an art gallery? As goals go, this doesn’t feel particularly relatable. But the larger issue is the lack of negative stakes. What will he lose if he doesn’t accomplish this goal? He won’t have an art gallery. Well, OK. I feel for you, bro. But we still get the sense he’ll be fine. So the pursuit of his goal doesn’t feel particularly urgent or important. And frankly, who wouldn’t rather have a beautiful house in Tuscany? I mean, again, that’s THE dream, right? (I’m not biased; you’re biased!)

The story becomes more muddled as they try to give both main characters (father and son) complete story arcs which strangely results in the dark night of the soul occurring before the low point. (The dark night is a reflective period before the final challenge that is usually earned as a result of the low point.) And of course, you can see the ending coming a mile away, but it’s still what you hope will happen (because, like I said, that’s the dream). The protagonist gives up what he wants to find what he needs. Classic. If the stakes had been higher getting there, it would have been more satisfying.

All this makes me wish the writers had worked on their story structure and outlines a bit more, as we do in our Concept to Pages classes! And hopefully again someday soon in Orvieto. See the movie for some easygoing Tuscan beauty that will make you smile. And Liam Neeson. It’s like slipping into a comfy pair of Italian sweat pants. Just don’t expect a revelatory story or an airtight structure.

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Character Is Plot

I was recently sent a script by a friend. She was being offered the opportunity to direct it, but she knew something wasn’t quite working. I read it and the issue was immediately clear.

The story was flat; the dialog was on the nose and wooden; the formatting and grammar were a mess—all the basic mistakes newbie writers make. While I tried to set aside my own frustration over why undercooked scripts by undertrained writers sometimes get greenlit, my friend called to ask for my thoughts. She spoke of engaging themes and her excitement over the potential social commentary. “That’s all great,” I said, “but none of that is on the page.”

The main issue: there was no character development. It was obvious that the writer set out to exorcise demons from a negative personal experience, rather than to tell a well-crafted story. As I’ve discussed previously, that sort of approach leads to two-dimensional antagonists that aren’t worth your protagonist’s time. Further, when we base protagonists on ourselves, we forget to do the character work that allows us to get some distance and objectivity, which are crucial to making choices that best serve the story. We think we don’t have to do the work because: don’t we know this character well enough already? You might be surprised.

What is your protagonist’s worst fear? What is their core wound? What are their greatest hopes? What do they most admire in others? What do they need most? How is that different from what they think they want? These are just some of the questions that help you build textured characters. When we base characters on ourselves, these may be questions we’re not ready to answer. That will show on the page.

When we build antagonists out of someone we’re angry with, the flatness can be even worse. We need to take the time to understand what motivates people we don’t like, if we’re going to put them in our screenplay.

One of the secrets of screenwriting is that character is plot. The character-building work generates necessary story points: not only does it ensure decisions that any character makes are believable and organic, but it also provides a blueprint for a screenplay. If I know a character’s worst fear is being unloved, then most likely at the low point of the story, she should face a situation where she is unloved. How she decides to cope with that gives me the final challenge of act three. If I know her goal is to exact revenge on someone who hurt her, then I also know that at that low point, she needs to be far away from accomplishing that. Now I can tie her potential failure to reach her goal to her emotional fear of being unloved. This gives me a chance of writing a scene that pops off the page with gut-wrenching authenticity, and one that is absolutely necessary in the flow of the story. On the other hand, if I decide what my plot points are before I’ve done the character-building work, my story will feel like reportage rather than a strong arc we are completely invested in following. It will be as dull as a list of events in a high school history textbook, dry and lifeless.

At the end of our talk, my friend was armed with an arsenal of questions to take into her meeting with that writer. How the writer deals with her questions will define the quality of the project. If they’re willing, that script might truly become the wonderful story my friend envisions.

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Art Sale

When I was 6 or 7, I decided to hold an art sale. I loved coloring. I was good at it. Why not make some money at it? I sat down with crayons and paper and made a whole series of drawings. Enough for a gallery show. There were dogs, and horses, and ladybugs. Mountains, and houses, and flowers. Sailboats for my dad. And I distinctly remember one KITT from Knight Rider. The pictures themselves were not enough. For that special finishing touch, I went across the street and helped myself to a bunch of the small rocks covering the neighbor’s yard. They were smooth and white and perfect for coloring. I made matching paperweights for every masterpiece I had created. Genius. Finally, I made signs reading “ART SALE TODAY” and posted them all over the neighborhood.

I sat with my pictures spread over our front lawn, each held down by its special rock. And I waited for the sales to roll in. Who would not want such a beautiful thing? A picture AND matching paperweight? So thoughtful. There was much to choose from. Art for every taste. And each piece was only ten cents!

After a while a woman came by, parked her Seventies mega-sedan and got out. To my young eyes she seemed old and bloated, but she could have been a fit middle-aged woman for all I know. “This isn’t an art sale!” she growled at me. “I was looking for real art. You shouldn’t lie to people this way. What do you think you’re doing?” I sat in shock while she huffed back to her car, slammed the door and drove off.

I didn’t know mine was not real art. I didn’t know there were rules. I didn’t know sharing my pictures was in fact wrong—especially hoping to be paid for it. I quietly gathered up my papers and stones and scuttled back into the house. I didn’t tell my parents. What was there to say? I had clearly done a bad thing. It was better if they didn’t know.

Today it seems astonishing to me that someone would speak to a child that way. My adult self wants to rage up out of my tiny child body and punch that woman square in her hateful mouth. “How dare you speak to me that way?” Another adult in me realizes she must have been a truly miserable person, or had been having a desperately bad day to have taken her hurts out on a child. “Do you need help today?”

And yet another adult self in me remembers the other part the wounded child overlooks: before that cruel woman, there had been another woman who had come by and laughed in delight. She’d paid her ten cents and chosen a flower picture. I cannot remember what she looked like. But I remember the cruel woman clear as day.

I wish someone had told that little girl that it’s perfectly natural for what we create to appeal to some and not to others. What a valuable lesson to have learned so young. I wish I had held onto the delight of the first woman and dismissed the ugliness of the second.

We have all been shut down in our creativity at one time or another, in one way or another; an ill-timed criticism, a failed audition, being passed over for inclusion in a show or journal, disappointing sales. I’ve had every single one of those. And yet there is still a side of me—a version of that little girl—who sits down to create every day. Why?

Because I still need to create. I still need to say, “Hey world, here is how I see things,” and hope that my view resonates with some. I have called myself a writer for as long as I can remember, but it wasn’t until recently, when I flashed back to that art sale memory, that I realized for an equally long time I’ve said, “I can’t draw.” I call myself a creative person, but an artist? That’s always been too presumptuous. Can I draw? Am I an artist? Maybe, maybe not. I don’t know. But I do know I should see for myself, instead of letting an angry woman from decades ago decide.

For some of us, creating is an instinctive need, and if we don’t, we feel bottled up and unfulfilled. My guess is that you, too, yearn for your voice to be heard, or you wouldn’t be reading this. I just started drawing lessons. I walked into the art supply store and said, “Sell me the stuff you’d sell a kid just beginning.” I felt the same giddy zing I’d felt that day I gathered my neighbor’s stones for coloring. (Sorry, Mrs. Owens!)

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Secondary Characters

I’m working on a script right now, and I have been intently focused on nailing the protagonist and antagonist arcs to perfection. They are best friends who end up as enemies when a difficult coming-of-age event sets them on different paths. Their arc has to be nuanced so that you feel deeply for both of them. They have to be fully human, so that you see this film and cry and give it tons of awards.

I’ve been intently focused on making all of that sing on the page. During our last reading, my partner and I noticed a little issue. We had some less-than-subtle scenes with the antagonist, Estelle, and her mom. We also noticed that her mom was literally just called Estelle’s Mom. Who doesn’t like to be wholly defined by their relationship to another character? How about I just call you Joe’s Daughter or Karen’s Brother from now on? Funny thing, it works about as well for fictional people as it would for you. See the Glenn Close/Jonathan Pryce movie The Wife for more on that.

We’d only thought of this woman as Estelle’s mom. We knew her basic function in those scenes. We knew what Estelle needed to play off of, and how her mom’s issues complicated and motivated some of her own choices. But Estelle’s mom was just a paper tiger.

We started talking about her: what drove her to become the person she was; why she was hard on Estelle; what she feared, loved, needed, and wanted. In other words, we did all the character work we’d taken the time to do for our main characters. As we talked, it emerged we both knew people who weren’t as extreme as Estelle’s mom, but who were driven by the same motivations and fears. Suddenly, we had a whole new insight into her and what made her tick. The scenes between her and her daughter took on new depth and felt less Movie-Of-The-Week. Even better, they felt like scenes a name actress might love to sink her teeth into, to raise the profile of our little script without taking too much time commitment.

This character finally had a name. Beatrice is a far more interesting and nuanced human than Estelle’s Mom ever was, and Estelle will shine all the brighter because of it. I highly recommend you do the work of developing and exploring all your characters, not just your main characters. It’s the details that make any piece of art great. Secondary and supporting characters are where your script can shine.

———-

Why not workshop your characters with us? We’re off to Orvieto, Italy, for this year’s Italy Screenwriting Retreat from Sunday, September 1 to Saturday September 14. There’s only one spot left. It only takes $50 to reserve yours, so apply now.

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Wrong Reasons

I was chatting with a fellow script coach about her new client. She was excited about his project; it was a really cool premise; and he seemed open to feedback—always important to ask even though it seems obvious. She was, however, a little concerned about a teeny red flag.

She’d asked why he wanted to write this particular story. He responded that he wanted to prove to himself he could write it. Great. He also wanted to prove wrong all his friends and family members who’d doubted he could do this. Fair enough. Who hasn’t wanted to exceed loved ones’ opinions of our limitations? And—this was the kicker—he wanted to throw it in the faces of all the women who’d made the colossal error of rejecting him.

“Whoa!” I exclaimed.
“I know, right?” my friend sighed.

Didn’t the Isla Vista shooter say something similar? OK, maybe that’s extrapolating too far. I’ve certainly wanted to make exes envious of all I’ve accomplished without them. However, the difference is that he intended these exes of his to be characters in his script.

Often characters are inspired by people we know. The problem is that writing characters (antagonists, usually) based in anger or revenge against someone who has wronged us rarely yields robust, artful creations. Most often, it leaves us with two-dimensional characters who can seem oddly out of place against a more multi-dimensional story.

We need to find love for all our characters, protagonists and antagonists alike, so that we can fully understand and empathize with their motivations. This makes them richer on the page where they can act as bigger challenges for one another. Authentic characters arise from the writer’s empathy for those characters. When a character is based on someone who hurt us or someone about whose villainy we want to be right, finding any empathy can be tricky.

When I have writers dealing with this, I encourage them to do what work they can to find forgiveness. Not for the real life villains. For all I know, they should be in jail. But for us. For the sake of our own health and that of our art.

If you can forgive, you can more easily get to a bird’s eye view of the story. You can begin to see this person as just another character you need to shepherd through your pages. You can begin to see that their actions are consistent with their fears, wants, needs, and goals. Then you can write that character from a much more grounded and authentic place. As an added benefit, you may find you can bring more empathy to the real person or situation as well, and release some of your hurt.

For example, I am currently working on a piece with a character based on someone who I feel hurt by. As I did my character work and the intertwined forgiveness work, I found I could see this person’s choices with more clarity and empathy. As a result, I feel less wronged by them, and I have a richer character emerging as the story develops more depth and balance, thus giving the script more emotional resonance. That’s worth far more than being right or getting revenge.

I wished my friend luck in dealing with her new client. I hope she can get him to see the value of simply writing from the desire to tell a really good story. If you get a little revenge along the way, bonus points for you. But give us a solid story with fully fleshed-out, relatable characters over broadly drawn paper tigers. When you’re walking that red carpet because your work has been nominated, you can strut in the knowledge that an ex or two is watching, thinking, “Dang, I let that one get away.” I know I’m counting on it.

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Roma and the Passive Protagonist

I’m pleased to turn this space over to my partner in PageCraft (and life), Carlo Cavagna: 
We just saw Alfonso Cuarón’s brilliant ROMA, which has us thinking about passive protagonists. Every screenwriting resource (including us, we admit) will teach that protagonists must be active. They must try to solve their problems and become masters of their own fate. No audience will care about a protagonist to whom things just happen. Why is that an interesting story?

Cuarón’s ROMA is enjoying accolades despite a passive heroine, the nanny Cleo. [Spoilers follow] In most of the scenes, she is just trying to fulfill her employers’ wishes to the best of her ability. Things happen to her: she gets pregnant; Fermín (the father-to-be) refuses to have anything to do with her; her employers’ family falls apart.

It’s tempting to look at ROMA’s success and decide the rules are meaningless. Who cares about a three-act structure? It’s so much work putting conflict in every scene! Why not a passive protagonist?

The rules exist for a reason. Usually, when your script isn’t captivating anyone, referring to the rules will help you diagnose the problem. The rules can be broken, but doing so requires careful thought.

It seemed to us that Cuarón knew perfectly well that he had a passive protagonist, but he was determined to tell this very personal story anyway. Further, Cuarón made several intentional and smart choices to overcome the passive protagonist challenge. Three stand out.

First, Cuarón chose an interesting context by setting the story during a tumultuous time, the Mexican Dirty War, which culminates onscreen in the Corpus Christi Massacre. This context touches his characters’ lives, most notably because Fermín is one of the perpetrators of the massacre. Thus the context creates tension. And, the film poses fascinating questions—without offering answers—about social structure and hierarchy, so it keeps the audience busy on the intellectual level.

Second, Cuarón has a deeply observational style. He uses static camerawork and long takes, but the shots are densely composed. There is always something to look at or piece together, even if only in the background.

And third, perhaps most importantly, Cleo is not entirely passive. It’s easy to miss because she is so quiet. But there are a few key moments when she becomes active. She searches for Fermín, to try to get him to face his responsibilities. And of course, at the climax of the film, she saves children from drowning, despite not knowing how to swim herself. The fact that Cleo occasionally takes necessary action, combined with her unshakeable goodness, is why we like her and root for her.

Rules can be broken, but they can’t be ignored. A master filmmaker like Cuarón could set aside one of the most fundamental rules of screenwriting, but he took the risk that his audiences wouldn’t be interested in his heroine. With his other choices, he minimized that risk and made one of the year’s best films.

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Barf Drafts

“The outline’s done! Write the script and we’ll be in production!” declared a director friend I’d been working with. My heart palpitated. As one of my favorite Coen brothers character says: “would that t’were so simple.”

We’d worked on the outline for weeks and were happy with the flow. The emotional content was there, the external goals and obstacles. It felt like we were going to hit all the right beats and create a compelling story. She was eager to get a script and share it with our production partners. I was too but I knew this next part of the process would be more involved.

I churned out that first draft and gave it to her. She was by turns excited and alarmed. It had little of the art of our previous collaborations. We started on an edit session. “Um, well, this scene is really one the nose,” she hedged, clearly not wanting to hurt my feelings.

For a moment I panicked: had we lost our excellent collaborative flow? Then it dawned on me, I hadn’t shown her such an early draft in our previous works. She might have been under the impression that scripts leapt, like Athena, fully formed from the mind of their creator. “Oh gosh! Of course! This is just the barf draft!” I realized I’d never shared the concept with her.

As writers, once we have our solid outline, once we feel like we know the mechanics of the script, we write the first draft. It’s called the barf draft because we are often metaphorically barfing onto the page everything these characters think, feel, want, need, etc. Few of these pages are things you’d want representing your creative genius but this draft has the important function of keeping us in the flow.

I always tell my writers: this is the time to avoid all self-censorship. Yes, “I’m so afraid that if I don’t kiss you now, I’ll lose you forever!” is a ridiculous line but it will help you get to the right line in the next draft. Write it down! My god, that big fight at the family reunion is melodramatic, but now you know how each character’s emotions arc through those beats. Write it down! The barf draft helps us transition from the outline which is more conceptual to the written scene which is more literal and concrete. It helps us see more clearly the emotional machinations of each scene and it helps us through the drudgery of blocking the physical movements of the characters and settings.

Only when these vital pieces are complete can we then dig into the next draft, the real first draft, where we can take all this information and elevate our garish ingredients. The next draft is when we begin the true craft of submerging all those emotions into the subtext, making dialog more oblique and natural, cutting scenes and moments we can now see are superfluous. That’s the draft to worry about what our characters sound like since we’ve worked out how their feeling and what they’re doing.

“Don’t worry!” I comforted my friend “we’ve done the barf draft, now we can sit down and create art.” To say the least, she was relieved. I was happy our creative flow was on track.

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