Monday, 31 August 2009

Strange perspective

I mentioned here that I was originally planning on writing my Norse story (Now titled 'Gods of Asgard') in two parts. Part I would detail the events leading up to Balder's death and Part II would focus on the imminent war.

I then decided that rather than invent a lot of story to fill the majority of a second movie, I'd put them both together. But that wasn't working at all - everything seemed rushed and littered with forced exposition. I needed more time and space to set up the war. So I went back to my original plan of two movies.

Famously, people have great difficulty spotting errors in their own work, whether it's typos in an essay or story problems in a script. But someone else (who has no predisposed thinking of the concept) can instantly spot the problems.

'Gods of Asgard' is essentially a retelling of Norse myths so most of the plot was already set in place. I say plot because we know next to nothing about the characters and characters are what make a story. There are touches of plot here and there that I created (usually as a result of character relationships) but for the most part, I was working with someone else's story.

That gave me the stranger's perspective - I was able to spot what wasn't working and why. I messed around with characters (introducing some earlier and some later) and moved a whole subplot from Part I to Part II. I also took a lot of creative liberties with the finale. In Norse legend, all the major players are killed in the final battle. No-one likes that! We need at least one person to survive! And some of my major characters feature very little in the Prose Edda (my source material), so their fates were never revealed in myth.

Anyway, the point is that I was able to get that rare perspective - a perspective you only ever seem to get from looking at someone else's work. That's what makes a great storyteller - the ability to notice and rectify errors in the story itself. The ability to be completely neutral and objective, having no loyalties to favourite characters or plot elements. I managed it!

But of course this was - in part - someone else's story, so I'm not convinced I've yet completely mastered the art of objective story editing. Fingers crossed.

'Gods of Asgard' Parts I & II now come to a lovely 18 pages so whenever I like, I can attack a blank script page. Then comes the fun.......

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