So I’m deep in the middle of the rewrite, and as usual when I’m rewriting a project, I’m plagued by the chorus of voices that pound my skull with a sledgehammer saying you’re making it worse, you’re making it worse.
When we did a staged reading of draft 2 last November, it went over really well with the crowd. In fact, if you were going solely by crowd reaction, you’d think we have a huge hit on our hands. But while crowd reaction is important, so is story logic, and theme, and character arcs and stuff.
For example, Glinda’s character didn’t do much but show up and do her best Basil Exposition routine. So I had to figure out what to do with her character.
And that brings up what might be the main question as I write and rewrite. It’s not just how can I make Glinda’s character better, or how can I make Scarecrow and Tin Man and Lion better. It’s how can I make them DIFFERENT and better and still make sense within the story.
We all know what they were in the MGM movie. Some of us have even read the original book, and they were pretty much the same. A lot of us have read Gregory Maguire’s Wicked, or seen the musical (I read the book, didn’t see the musical), and know how he did a masterful job of reworking the characters to tell an amazing story of tolerance, politics, and what good and evil really are. Maguire is a super smartypants, and there’s no way I can ever be in the same room as him and his brilliance. I’m a populist; all I really wanna do is entertain people and make ‘em laugh.
In draft 2, Scarecrow, Tin Man and Lion actually do have knowledge, a heart, and courage, and they’re very aware that they do. But they pretend that they don’t in order to stay close to Dorothy and a have a reason to accompany her to Emerald City. Toto sees through their ruse, but can’t get Dorothy to see it. Scarecrow, Tin Man and Lion recognize Toto as a threat, and subsequently try to kill him on the way to Emerald City.
It certainly seemed like a funny idea to try out (as both the audience and Toto see Scarecrow, Tin Man and Lion’s attempts to disguise their gifts in amusing ways.) But it got to be slightly tedious, because all they did was try to flirt with Dorothy and kill Toto. And it got confusing later when the Wizard gave them their “gifts” that they already had.
So I’m trying a different tactic, which may or may not work. I’m workshopping the 1st 25 pages of the new draft through my writer’s group next Monday. Crossing fingers that I’m making it better, not making it worse.
- Amy Heidish