Tuesday, November 12, 2013

TODAY'S NUGGET: Kingdom of Heaven (2005) - Beware When Writing on an Epic Scale

[Quick Summary: A French blacksmith takes his father's role as defender of Jerusalem during the Crusades.]

Do you ever wonder what a draft from a seasoned writer looks like?

Written for director Ridley Scott, no less?

I do. (Yes, I have weird thoughts.)

So I read this draft, and pretended I was its writer.

How would I re-write it?

The good news is that this is a sprawling epic.  It's got great structure, visuals and tone.

The bad news is that this is a sprawling epic.  Often, they are so large that they are prone to lose a personal feel.

ex. Here, I couldn't follow Balian's (protagonist) arc.

He goes to Jerusalem to erase his and his wife's sins (hers by suicide).

But when he finally gets to Calvary, he gets little absolution...and the issue disappears.

I felt cheated.  Balian is tormented for pages...and then it is no longer a problem?!

Don't give me more fireworks - I want to know the personal stuff. How did he resolve his guilt?!

WHAT I'VE LEARNED:  When working on such a large scale, it's easy to overlook the small stuff.

Kingdom of Heaven - early draft (2005)
by William Monahan

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