The Bag Means Your Mind

A delightful mix of insightful comments and ignorant assumptions about screenwriting... and such.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007


I finished my third draft and hit my goal of 125 pages or less (124 and ¾ to be exact). Almost 11 full pages were trimmed away while adding three additional scenes to boot. Overall I’m happy with the changes and I think that as I reduce this monster it is getting better and better. With the fourth draft I will get the page count down to 120 or below. This seems like a daunting task, because after finishing any draft I tend to think: “I’ve taken out as much as I can. There is no fat to be trimmed.”

I thought I had hit bone after I reduced it to 136, and now I’m at 125. I suspect there is still some fat to burn off. I won’t know until I try. Still, in the back of my mind I wonder where the line is. At what point does the story start to suffer the more you take out? Could this be a 125 page story? After I reduce it to 120 I will compare the two drafts and determine which one is better.

The problem is that anything over 120 pages is a red flag for an unsold writer. How many people would pass on reading it for length alone? Of course if it is really good, the length doesn’t matter (kind of). There are no hard and fast rules, but it is in my best interest to eliminate anything that would cause a reader for form a negative opinion before he/she ever reads “FADE IN:.”*

All I have to do is write a strong beginning and a lights-out ending. Oh, and it should have a wonderful middle as well (Did I miss anything?). Easy Peezy.

*Positive knee-jerk judgments are always welcome.

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