WIP Week 2013, Dispatch #1: Right Here Right Now / 92 Rules

Last year, I wrote a series of posts called WIP Week, detailing all of the works-in-progress that I had on my slate for 2012. Of the five entries I had for WIP Week, four of them were completely obliterated by The Great Acer Laptop Crash last October, and the fifth – Nominated – actually came close to fruition as a spec script after it was adapted for Script Frenzy 2012. (Thank God for Celtx cloud storage!) 

This year’s WIP Week will focus on three major projects that I have on my slate, two of which fall under the umbrella of projects from the Office of Letters and Light (NaNoWriMo and Script Frenzy) and the third as a side project. That aforementioned side project is the focus of our first entry for WIP Week: a screenplay about grief, friendship, and the dangers of nostalgia. 
Title: Right Here Right Now (alternate title: 92 Rules
Abstract (as of this writing): A group of high school misfits from the Class of 1992 reunite twenty years later to bring down a popular classmate who has plagiarized one of their old term papers for his political campaign. 
Revision status: Somewhere in the development of the third act of the original script (Right Here Right Now) I found myself getting stuck on re-establishing the rising action, partly because the “dark night of the soul” moments in the script have also coincided with most of the sex scenes. (By now it’s no longer a secret that Pete and Iris do end up “getting busy” at this point, though I’m trying to figure out what’s going to happen after they realize that they’ve gone horizontal.) 
Instead of dealing with the situation at hand, however, I decided to take a different tack with the material by re-writing the story treatment, this time from Iris’ point of view.  Thus, the development of 92 Rules. 
Both of these stories have their own strengths and weaknesses: Right Here is a little uneven and contrived in terms of plot development, but it has more slapstick elements and the potential for a rockin’ soundtrack. 92 Rules is more suspenseful; since everything is from Iris’ POV, there’s a sense of foreboding that comes from her being welcomed into a circle of “seniors” whose sudden interest in her might go beyond their mutual hatred of Grant, the politician who also happens to be her ex-fiance. 
What bothers me the most about both scripts, however, is the character development in general, and the Pete-Iris relationship in particular. Maybe I’ve been reading too much LaineyGossip, but suddenly I feel some pressure (mostly from myself) to turn Iris into a Strong Woman Character instead of a Manic (Former) Pixie Dream Girl. The treatment for 92 makes her sound like an outsider infiltrating a secret society, but her involvement with Pete rings a little hollow, since his transformation from charismatic leader to love-struck leading man does not seem to fit into the suspense story I had in mind. The Iris from Right Here, on the other hand, is on equal footing with Pete; their rapport is established right off the bat, and even the awkward karaoke scene plays well to the strengths of both characters. Now, if only I could let them ride off into the sunset without oversimplifying things…
What else is going on? Apart from the awkward karaoke scene, Right Here Right Now also has the build-up moments that lead towards the epic fist-fight with Grant that nearly gets the gang driven out of town.  (Yes, Grant may be a bit of a mustache-twirler when he opens his mouth, but suffice it to say that he’s pretty sneaky when it comes to sabotaging relationships.) The other relationships need work, and there’s a big question about whether or not I should keep Schmidt around. So that’s that. 
Do I want to see this published produced? Let’s just put it this way: Right Here Right Now is the movie I want to see; 92 Rules is the movie that will end up in the theaters. 
Does this need a critique? As long as it’s not from this guy.

Love, Stella

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Stella Torres

is the author of the adult contemporary romances Save the Cake, Crushingly Close, and Nine Years Away, as well as the short story “Be Creative” in the anthology Kids These Days: Stories from Luna East Vol. 1.

In her previous life, she has worked in public relations, taught English as a second language, and even attended graduate school (twice!). She has lived in Indonesia, Honolulu, and Quezon City before moving back to her hometown of Los Banos, a few hours’ drive (with traffic) from the heart of Manila.

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