Beth Daniels is one of SavvyAuthors long-time instructors and she’s always coming up with great new classes like this one. If you are interested in a new class from a wonderful instructor then check out Beth, her funny wit, and great classes: Scene by Scene with Beth Daniels starting Monday. ~ed.
Since I retired from leaving the house to head to a job elsewhere (and there has been a slew of different types littering my past…or is that enriching my character’s lives?), I tend to go to the movies in the afternoon. Not always on $5 day, either. What this means is that I end up in a lot of showings labeled “Director’s Cut”.
From what I can tell, the Director’s Cut isn’t always what the other showings include. There are occasional scenes that have a bit more in them because the Director liked those bits. But in the studio’s eyes, they didn’t add to the story and weren’t missed.
Yep, not missed.
Not by the studio and not by the viewing public…most of the time. Must admit I have a brother and sister-in-law who can say “I didn’t understand why…” and complain about something that I personally didn’t think was left hanging but that my mind filled in the blanks on. Not sure whether it’s because my imagination kicked in or that I was paying closer attention than they were to the show. Could be a bit of both. I get totally wrapped up a movie…particularly one I really like. And when I like it, I’ll go back to the theatre to see if another time or two and pre-order it on Amazon, too.
Rewatching these movies is like rereading a favorite book. I shrugged off a possible boyfriend once (well maybe more than just one) because they saw only the actor and not the character where I saw the character and not the actor. Okay, I knew who the actor was, particularly if he was a long, tall drink of water. But I don’t go to see movies just because a certain actor is in them. I go because I’m ready to be invested in the character on the big screen.
This means that while someone in the past has said to me, “you’ll like this movie because it has Harrison Ford in it”, that’s not always the case. I like when he plays characters like Han Solo and Indiana Jones, though I will confess to liking his character in COWBOYS AND ALIENS. Hey, the show had three things to draw me in…cowboys and aliens and an old western setting. And honestly, I could just stare at Chris Hemsworth for hours, but not if the movie isn’t my sort of show, which means I know him as Thor and the Huntsman and Kevin in Ghostbusters (which he’s hilarious in).
All of this might seem like I’ve gotten off track but let my mind circle back here a bit.
The director’s cut, if you watch the bonus material when the movies are released for home viewing, will sometimes feature scenes or sections of scenes that were dropped from the final “cut” on the movie.
As novelists (or short story writers or novella specialists) we’ve got to do our own cutting. I think it’s a bet I’d win if I put money down on the odds that every scene the screenwriter penned does not get included in the final cut. It might end up changed during shooting, but it if wasn’t, it could get cut during production. Movies need to keep running time in mind just as fiction finaglers need to keep word count in mind most of the time. Yes, even in the world of electronic books. (Actually, I have a friend who when his book was in production for an audible version, had to rewrite bits because the actor found them a bit convoluted to say – which is a good reason for always reading our own work out loud before releasing it on the unsuspecting public. We can change things our tongues get tangled over – even if they didn’t when reading it silently! But then tongues weren’t involved for the silent readings, were they?)
Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we recognized when a scene was descending into babbling or was stretching a bit too long? Or maybe wasn’t even needed! And I mean noticing this before we were in the editing stage.
This has very little to do with plotting because it is presentation of the scene.
This means it must incorporate various things. It has job requirements to meet and best to keep an audience riveted and turning pages physically or electronically and, possibly more importantly, keep them buying OUR books rather than regulate us to a “read one and then forgot to look for another of the author’s titles.”
Am I going to tell you how to avoid the director’s cut version of a manuscript here? No.
Hey, there’s a workshop for that! This is Savvy Author’s, after all. How many of us joined the ranks here because of all the fascinating and helpful workshops? Well, my hand is up, and I’m a regular presenter who also takes workshops. Let’s face it, we don’t all know everything, so our inquiring minds are always looking for some directions to be pointing toward that we didn’t notice were even on the map.
Writing is like having a map like the one in the recent Jumanji movie. If you aren’t the character with the map reading knowledge, the map isn’t going to tell you anything.
Hopefully, the upcoming SCENE BY SCENE: The Art of Sequence in Your Story, May 14th through June 10th, will be just the sort of guide needed for not only working your story from start to finish with scenes that catapult the reader into reading “just one more chapter” and then another, it will introduce you to avoiding a director’s cut. It saves time to incorporate what needs to be in and never keying in things that go in the wrong direction or just clutter things up, right?
Efficiency in action!
So, take action. Sign up for the workshop now!
Beth Daniels truly believes that the worst part of writing for publication is doing a synopsis. She’s pretty sure she sucks lemons at it. Or sucks lemons because it’s so easy to make a weird face when you do so. Might as well make it a lime, and add salt and tequila to the mix. She might like writing synopses if such were the case. That doesn’t me she doesn’t write synopses…spending far more time on two lousy pages than she did on a 3,500-word long chapter. But somewhere along the way she swears herself into a synopsis that behaves itself and sounds like the text of the manuscript. With 29 published novels, 4 manuscripts in search of editors, and a long and still growing list of non-fiction books about writing fiction, she’s pretty sure some things are being done satisfactorily to rank her as an authority…well, nearly an authority.
Paul Montgomery’s dreams are of music, of writing it as well as performing. His journey takes him from covering Beatle songs for high school dances in the mid-1960s to being acclaimed for his diversity in the world of rock ‘n’ roll. Particularly for composing a library of love songs. With sold out concerts around the world, singles and albums that repeatedly go gold then platinum, and innovative music videos on MTV, he seems to lead a charmed life. At least, professionally. Along the way there is tragedy: the loss of a friend to the Viet Nam war, the attempt to save a fellow rocker from her drug addiction, but it is winning and losing the only woman he’s ever loved – twice – that is a never healing wound in his heart.
For Aurora Chambers, it is the world of fashion that beckons. A scholarship for a summer design program in London is a carrot even her love for Paul can’t best. Hurt by his seeming denigrating of her aspirations, she throws herself into the heart of Carnaby Street in 1967, and the arms of her instructor, Trevor Harris, a self-serving man who plans to use her talent as his stepping stone to better things. Unaware of Paul’s continuing love for her, Rory binds her future to Trevor’s. It is a step she soon learns to regret though it does bring her career success beyond her previous dreams. With a clothing line that repeatedly wins accolades on the catwalks, she has only one stumbling block. Her designs all carry Trevor’s name, not her own. Aurora must marshal some of Trevor’s own devious traits to take back what is hers. Secretly, she follows Paul’s rise through the music trades, occasionally mourning the loss of what they’d had. When a second chance at happiness with him appears, she grabs it. And nearly destroys them both.
Because, sometimes love simply isn’t enough.