Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Spanner R5 #amediting Update: Chapter 2 Script Finished, or: The Mess Makes Way for Awesome

As I mentioned last post, Spanner Chapter 2 had accumulated an unmanageable mess of scenes between the Fourth and Final Revisions. I thought I'd never be able to cut it away. I then realized I could make an end run around my Inner Editor by returning to the TV script version I did for the final two years of Script Frenzy. My hunch was right; it did the job. The script version of Chapter 2 is now complete.

Here's a (probably) incomplete list of the many changes:
  1. 2.1: "Lethal Lolita" is now the name of the "cold open" sequence that plays before the Spanner logo descends and announces the episode name and so on. The opening news reports with the Bin Laden and Spanner video messages now segue smoothly into Henry Becket's videocall with the first local villain and then the appearance of Rebel Styles who then makes said villain her first victim in the series before she screws up the scene and the logo makes its appearance. New scenes: the goddess Nike whose body is the corporation named after her invades Shira's dreamspace only to get kicked out; the COPCO agents on the plane from New York to Seattle; on the passenger plane home, Shira takes a call from Teachers Guild president Dr. Jenna Hunter and accepts her offer at once (think Butch Coolidge in his first appearance in Pulp Fiction).
  2. 2.2: Now called "Coming Home". The interrogation scene that has migrated throughout the chapter's first half in various drafts is now its centerpiece. "Ghost Hunting", the original 2.2, is now a sequence beginning here. New scenes: the homecoming at Sea-Tac Airport; Shira and the other surviving hoverboard racers getting fired by the head of the Xtreme Racing League over the Spanner incident and the death of Rico X; a phone call in which Ariel taunts her enemy Drusilla.
  3. 2.3: now the section called "Ghost Hunting", not to be confused with the thread, which now extends into Chapter 3. The scene where Shira enters her apartment for the first time in the series is now here, and her older half-sister Selene now makes her debut here. The first of the nameless women, the petite Asian woman who first appeared in Chapter 12 R4, is now the apartment building manager. Shira, Elle, and Akimi, no longer racing for the XRL, take their first trip to Kitsap Kouriers (introduced in 4.4 up to R4) and get hired immediately.
  4. 2.4: Now "Playing Rebel's Game". It begins with another interrogation scene, now the first personal encounter between Shira and major character J.T. (Jim) Sparks, who in Book 1 is a COPCO agent; his father Brendan Sparks owns COPCO. The shopping-arcade scene that's taken several forms over the various drafts now introduces the second nameless woman, the tall brunette ex-swimmer-cum-ex-psychologist who first appeared in 10.1 R4, who now works as the food-court espresso-cart barista; also, fellow ex-racer Liz McPhail appears here and annoys Shira into calling her "Epica"; and Shira and Leila meet eyes for the first time.
  5. 2.5: still "The Rebel Sell". Another corporation-god invades Shira's dreamspace, this time AT&T, and gets the Spanner tag sprayed all over it. The one scene I actually omitted from Chapter 1 R5, "Get Ready for the Bad Endings" with Keenan and Ada, is now here in 2.5 and much shorter; it's now where Shira announces her intention to make sure nobody (especially Brinkman) interferes with the election taking place in Chapter 23, plus the "bad endings" are now specifically the ones described in Interlude 10. The "Henry Becket and his mother" scene that ended Chapter 2 in R4 is also now a thread, and it begins here.
  6. 2.6: Formerly "The Dangerous Type", it's traded names with the chapter for R5 and is now called "Sex Bomb". The "Henry Becket and his mother" thread continues until it ends in the final minute of cliffhangers; the thread's name is in fact "The Angel of Chaos" and has the mother (Mrs. Abernethy) nearly die from finding out in mid-scry that Shira's completely immune to fate. The central thread is now a duel of sex and blackmail between Shira and J.T. that ends in his crushing defeat at the hands of the mistress of the "WHAM! line" in another cliffhanger. The episode of The Civet that was in R4 has been replaced by the funeral and deification of Rico X in his native Brazil (celebrities, gotta love 'em), and Minty Fresh gets her first appearance as Rico's grieving girlfriend. And now the final scene of the chapter is now the signing-on of pirate television KCUF which was previously at the end of 2.2.
  7. The Leila sequence: It's now broken up into a thread recurring through the episode and culminating in Leila and Shira meeting eyes for the first time.
  8. Rebel Styles' Victims: There's only one this episode now, and now it's a thread stretching to Chapter 12 or 13. Instead of being the first victim, Shepherd-Mayor Ward Tremayne will be the last, and it's this along with Leila's success in erasing her name that provokes the by-then irrational Governor Brinkman into initiating the madness that is Chapter 15.
By choosing to script the TV version instead of sorting out the prose mess, I've managed to bring to Chapter 2 a coherence it's never had before, primarily by sorting the various scenes into a small number of closely intercut threads. I'd have to say that the final Chapter 2 is now almost as perfect as Chapter 1. Like the Intro and Chapter 1, Chapter 2 now brings the awesome.

As a bonus, I've completed 3.1 as well. The "teaser" sequence is now "Stalking Minty Fresh", which used to be in 3.2. After that, Leila gets disgusted with the music available in America as she did at the very beginning of 3.1 R4, followed by Shira's dream of Kira and early-morning videophone duel with family enemy Henry Becket, whom she of course checkmates. The new additions: the two nameless women explain why they're nameless and how they manage to remain so without losing their identity (and here R5 background villain Doctor X, a Conservative Revolutionary leader who became its Benedict Arnold and can never again be named on penalty of expulsion from the Party); and Jennifer gives Shira a pre-birthday present which is in effect the Wold Newton Universe version of the Akio Car from Revolutionary Girl Utena.

Right now, instead of scripting Chapter 3 past 3.1, my Spanner edits are focused on changes to subsequent chapters, mainly in the form of notes. Since this is February Album Writing Month, I'm focusing mainly on writing and recording songs, primarily a certain few earworms that have been haunting me over the past few years of relentless Spanner edits (here's my FAWM profile). By necessity I'll be paying less attention to the Chapter 3 script, but I'll find a way to get it done this month. Stay tuned...

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