Detective Story – Week one

This week technicians installing a new furnace and contractors doing renovation estimates distracted me from my writing. Even so, I did manage to make progress on my detective story.

The title for the story is a problem. As it stands, it gives away too much of the story. I think keeping it would help me stay focussed on the story, but then I would have to call it my detective story when I talk to people about it. One title I came up with was “The Smile of Evil”. I’ll stick with “My Detective Story” for now.

In some of my past writing attempts, I found my characters developing too fast. To avoid that this time I came up with the idea that the main character has to come to 44 realizations during the course of the story. By that, I mean that the character needs to move in small steps. Some of realizations are major, while the rest prepare him for the major realizations.

I started by trying to make up a list of the realizations then use those to develop scenes. This gave me a plot outline with 50 scenes. Of those, 43 represent the character’s realizations, while the rest involve what other characters are doing. I came up with a few more scenes since I did that, so I think I’m up to 52 or 53 scenes now.

In the past, I heard that a film should plan for 3 minutes a scene, so you would need 30 scenes for a 90-minute film. However, I have found that I tend to write short scenes. My “Anger Trap” script had 69 scenes for a 97-page script. In “Line of Taxis”, my average scene was less than a minute long. That has me wondering if I have enough material for a feature film.

I am still looking at the film at a broad level, so I haven’t started to ask Mamet’s three questions about them yet.

I selected some photographs to represent the characters. I felt it would help me to visualize the characters. Originally, I wanted to avoid picking actors, but then I found it was easier to go that way. I think the characters are starting to develop personalities. That will help.

I have added a new character. The lead character in the story needed to talk to his wife, so I had to create a wife for him.

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