Not surprisingly, today was a productive day. It's very hard to say exactly where I am in the process, as everything seems to be endlessly rewritten. There's a very credible first act, I think. I'm somewhere in the second act right now, trying to turn the screw without giving too much away too quickly. I understand my characters a little better now, and that's helping things move along. I feel good about my step outline, the making of which was facilitated by instructions found in Lew Hunter's Screenwriting 434 (thanks Lacey!).
As far as these books are concerned, I'm doing my best to sift the sand and keep the little gold nuggets. Despite all the lip-service paid to personal expression and flexibility of implementation, there's something soul-deadening about the way these guys write. At the same time, the books have helped me avoid some big mistakes. Then again, there are some things they tell me I absolutely must do, but that I don't think I really want to do. So I won't do those things.
The big change over the past week: the story has a villain now. At first, he was a full-throttle killing machine. The first scene had him killing like a hundred people, just to show how badass he was. I've gotten that out of my system, and he only kills three people now. How moderate of me! He kind of started out Michael Madsen, went through a Jason Statham phase, and is now sort of a grumpy Clive Owen.
The person I picture in the lead female role is America Ferrera. I've never actually seen her act in anything, so I guess I should say that this character acts like I imagine America Ferrera acts. Actually, I have no idea how I latched on to her. I guess because she seems like a human, based on the ads I've seen for Ugly Betty.
I'd like the characters to have, like, 1.12 dimensions, at least. Even the bad guy.
I sure would like to have a first draft done by the end of the month. Is that even possible?