The series, Anatomy of a Scene, ended yesterday. My hope is that it wasn't too tedious to work through. This is a series I wanted to do as soon as I decided to start this blog. I'm a huge process person and since I write in three very different formats - plays, screenplays and fiction, I find that each one requires its own process. The reason I chose a screenplay for this exercise is that screenplays are a series of shorter scenes. Plays tend to have longer scenes, sometimes a play is really just one long scene. Novels and short fiction are their own beasts.
In screenplays, I've found this for myself and heard it in interviews from other screenwriters, it's not a rare occurrence to do ten or more drafts of a screenplay and have draft one look nothing like the final draft. I think it's due to the amount of options one has in a screenplay. With a novel, you tend to have to write so many more words per page that multi-drafting becomes a bit of a burden. With a play, you may have to rework ten scenes but rarely more than that. With a screenplay, you usually have forty scenes or more and you can change locations, time periods, incorporate flashbacks and have fantasy sequences. The options are kind of limitless and the individual scenes are short. This leads to screenwriters playing with many different options until they find the right one. It also means that tweaking an individual scene is easier in the sense that you can rework it in a shorter time frame than you can a chapter from a book or a scene from a play.
So, now, after seven days of sharing how just one scene morphed from draft to draft, I open it up to you. Do you find that, no matter the form you write in, the first draft is similar or nothing like the last draft? Do you single draft or multi-draft? Have you ever cut a scene and put it back in?