For the passed nine months all of my creative energies have been focused on one thing… completing the Gabby Wells second season TV scripts. Every free moment for the past 250-ish days I have been problem-solving, character-building, plot-twisting and faith journey-ing.
Now that it’s complete, I am both ecstatic and slightly confused as to what to do with my new-found mental free time.
The first 13 episode season was completed in very quick order… about 38 days. The second season took a lot longer. Over six times longer.
Well, we decided to make the first season a mystery, where the main character and all of her friends forge ahead trying to solve a single crime (with a few detours for character development thrown into the mix). Writing that was easier as the story gained momentum, with each clue building upon the other.
For the second season, however, we would structure the story based on suspense, which is a much more complex approach. From a story-telling standpoint, writing for suspense is more difficult than writing for mystery. With a mystery, you simply put together the puzzle pieces, deciding which piece of the puzzle the audience should be aware of next.
In a suspense project, you have to show your hand much earlier. Suspense comes from knowing too much, not from knowing too little. Therefore, you have to let your audience in at the beginning stages. You have to keep them ahead of the main character’s knowledge some of the time, while keeping them in the dark at others.
As for my own personal faith journey during this writing process, I must say that it has been very rewarding.
Feeling as if this project is something the Lord wants me to do allows me, as a writer, to trust my instincts. I would pray for guidance and assistance and then let things flow. I was always amazed how something I had not expected, such as a prop, a new question, a potential clue, would enter the story. I never quite knew where these new additions would pan out. I just trusted the process.
When we got to the final two episodes of the second season, we wrote down every outstanding item that remained. Questions that were asked, but not answered. Characters hinted involvement that was not completely understood. Props or locations that posed as possible game changers that had not been brought full circle.
The list was daunting.
But we chose the plot questions that needed to be answered and left others to be dealt with at a later time, perhaps in season three.
Having only written short and feature screenplays before, I am amazed at how complex the plot paths of a series can get.
It’s easy to think of a television idea. But when you have to fill 22 or so pages an episode, 13 episodes minimum, totaling over 300 pages per season, well, that’s a lot of story to tell. Things get intricate and paths veer in surprising directions. Characters who were friends become enemies. Crushes can turn to love and love to heart break. It’s a mess, like real life.
As I mentioned in a previous post, this experience makes me feel like a real writer. Over the past nine months we’ve created a full, new world teeming with life. A town with interweaving lives… people with goals, dreams, secrets and sins. It’s both exhausting and invigorating.
So, what’s next?
Well, we have an idea for a season three and maybe even four, as well as a film trilogy based on the characters, so there’s plenty of story left out there for development, if the need arises.
As for the TV series, we’re going to put that aside for a moment and focus on our romantic comedy feature film called An Unfinished Work.
But, we won’t leave the GW universe alone. We are actively exploring turning this TV/Film franchise into a book series that both overlaps and is independent of the TV series and movie story lines. We’re talking with a publisher now and hashing out an approach on the book development and on a cross promotional approach.
In the mean time, I’m going to take a week off and enjoy the Spring Break with my children, indulging in my mental free time.
While it lasts.