After this week, I am really glad I did not make Duffy a POV character. I am now juggling five plot threads, and Yuwono is mostly a spectator in his, our eyes and ears in one of the enemy camps. I also realized that, 34 pages in, the new Laral overlord (Farad, who has a scene at the end of Broken Skies) was basically twirling his mustache. I remember back in the 1990s reading about Yugoslav strongman Slobodan Milosevic. Slobo wasn’t just some thug who saw an entire disintegrating nation as his personal turf. Mind you, he was a horrible excuse for a human being and probably deserved a harsher punishment than The Hague tribunal could have handed down. But he was also angry about his own people’s mistreatment at the hands of Kosovars, Bosnians, Croats, and so on. Obviously, a brutal regime didn’t exactly solve that problem, but he did have motivation. I had not given Farad that. One scene has him watching humans being incinerated en masse by the heat dishes that were so prevalent in The Children of Amargosa. Badly handled, he could easily have broken the fourth wall and said to the reader with a wink, “It’s good to be the king!” a la Mel Brooks. So I inserted a scene with Farad having a meltdown with one of his aids, explaining his enmity of humans. It’s understandable, but even the Discovery Klingons would look at him and go, “Dude, really? Chill!”
One of my regular beta readers had to tell me to ratchet back a scene with JT. JT is among humans in a better place and sympathetic Gelt. Our boy is a legal adult is JT, and he avails himself of the affections of a comely Gelt barmaid. My friend reminded me that 1.) Children has a YA bent, 2.) I asked me original editor, Stacy Robinson, if I could get away with a single F bomb in Second Wave, and 3.) I already covered human-on-Gelt action in Tishla. Oops. So I had to rewrite this as a morning after scene, which led to rather important moment between JT and Suicide (who catches him just after the fact and gives him a scolding).
What I’ve noticed with screenwriting as opposed to outlining is that I’m more aware of when a scene’s not working or moving the story along like it should. This is the ultimate show-don’t-tell format. In outlining, I’m summarizing what’s going into the story before I write it, a laundry list of what I want to do. A screenplay is the story. This is what determines what a director is going to shoot, or it’s an expression of what the director wants to do, depending on how a film comes into being. So the immediacy between idea and finished product are closer.