The great thing about writing in screenplay format is that the scenes don’t take very long to write. The bad thing about it is that it takes just as long to come up with the scenes themselves as it does in prose. This was one of the reasons I decided to go the screenplay route. Were I pantsing this as a prose work instead of creating an outline via screenplay, I’d get bored and start writing out long passages describing the rust on Gelt combat vehicles and going off on tangents about the history of crop rotation on Amargosa. Exciting, isn’t it?
The dilemma reveals a problem many writers run into. What am I going to write about today? Sometimes, when there’s a scene with a lot of action, I can get around this by knocking out a paragraph describing that action in broad strokes. But I also have become aware of the differences between writing a script and writing prose. Several scenes are montages. They’re a great way to show a lot of what’s happening without having to devote a lot of screen time to to explaining it. Star Trek VI is a great movie for this. You see montage scenes of the lower decks crew searching the Enterprise for evidence of the assassins or battening down the hatches anticipating battle with a renegade Klingon general. It amps up excitement between talky scenes, builds suspense, and moves the story along on screen, hopefully convincing you to buy more popcorn and gallon-sized sodas for a quarter more.
It also works horribly in prose. So I will have to crack that nut when the time comes. Which means I’ll have to learn a new skill: Novelizing a screenplay. That’s for the second draft. It’s looking like there will be four.