Writing is Rewriting

Posted on December 14th, by JCH in Screenwriting. No Comments

There is a really good reason for clichés like writing is rewriting. They are usually correct. Kinda like stereotypes. This week has been rewrite week. I’m on rewrite number 6 or maybe 7 on my Rom Com. As this is the first time I’ve dealt with “Hollywood” I don’t know that this is typical or unusual, but the working writers I’ve talked to tell me this is how it is.

Originally, this story started out as a comedy with a female lead. I sent it to my story reader and she said it needed romance.  I put in a little side arc for two of the characters as a romance.

When it went to the manager he said, “No, no, no. The lead needs the romance.”

Rom Coms have to have the lead in the romance. When I tried to explain that it wasn’t a Rom Com, just a Com, I was told that if I want to sell it, with a female lead, it needs to be a Rom Com. Rewrite three – add more romance. And wrap it around a holiday.

Then it went to the Producer. Still needs more romance. Amp it up he said. Use a different holiday.

Here’s the rub. I’m about as romantic as a tree. Ask my wife. The last time I brought home flowers was … well, neither of us remembers. I’ve never read a romance novel, never knowingly even watched a Romantic Comedy – Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan would have starved if they waited on me to buy a ticket.

This quandary led to two revelations – One, thank the Good Lord for Netflix; and Two, how do people watch this crap? I watched a couple. I’ll not name names but Diane Keaton and Reese Witherspoon have made better films. Not a single explosion in 240 minutes of movies. I did not know they could do that.

I sit here rewriting in a genre I don’t know, going with my gut and wishing for a car chase, a bomb plot or a mystery shooter. But I want to sell this. So now it’s a romance, it happens during a holiday that’s not the same holiday as every other Rom Com and I’ve got a solid 30 pages of notes recommendations and suggestions.

I’m rewriting and rewriting and I guess something good is coming of it. I did get my wife some flowers. Who knew? Christmas Poinsettias are only five bucks at Home Depot.

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