Long time readers will know that I finished a feature length script last month. It was a superhero adventure type tale that I put a lot of heart into. It felt like all of my reading of comics and all of my watching of movies like The Avengers finally had paid off because I was writing a story that, like them, not only had an interesting protagonist and villains but an emotional connection for me. A month out, I can tell now that it was still missing some things. That seems obvious, and I think I knew it when I was in the depths of writing it too, but I couldn't place a finger on what it was.
It was "why."
Before writing the story, I planned what would happen next and worked really hard to make it all make sense. If something happened after something, it was usually because of the thing before. Everything followed a logical order. It's easier with action stories because everything is external. Loki makes a group of German people bow to him, so then The Avengers show up, so then they capture him, etc.
I just didn't plan the "why" as well. Why this needed to happen to this character. Why this character would have to live through this. And why the character would react the way he did or say the things he did or be heroic when he could choose not to be or be cowardly when he should choose not to be.
So like the true masochist I can be, I've decided to make my next script (yes, next already. No rest for the wicked.) entirely about the "why." One story, all in one night, all in one place. No action, just character.
And then after that, maybe I can go back to my superhero script and fix it. Make it the script it should have been the first time around.
And then after that, I can go back to the tiny story and add more of "what's next" to the "why."
Because that's the kind of writer I want to be. That's my "why."