NaNoWriMo, screenplay, Script Frenzy, work in progress

WIP Week, Dispatch #2: Her Name Is Veronica (NaNoWriMo 2011)

Welcome to the second day of WIP Week, where we check in on what’s happening with my current works-in-progress. 

Our WIP for the day was written during NaNoWriMo 2011 as an Agatha Christie-esque mystery and suspense thriller, featuring a call-center agent from Manila who finds her inner heroine after uncovering her true identity as an heiress for an important political family. Unfortunately for readers like us, Veronica – the story – reached 50k at the end of November with plot holes galore and a constantly re-written first chapter that can’t decide for itself what it’s supposed to be. Can this manuscript be saved? 


Title: Her Name Is Veronica 

Abstract (as of this writing): Veronica San Luis has led a mostly quiet life in Manila as a call-center agent… until she is identified as the long-lost illegitimate daughter of Lionel Berkeley, the patriarch of a wealthy and powerful American family with interests in commerce and philantropy. Veronica is welcomed into the Berkeley estate on Oahu by Lionel’s legitimate children – ambitious elder son Lewis, idealistic middle child Linus, and flighty daughter Lana – but soon she becomes caught up in a virtual network of lies, resentments, and blackmail, leaving her with no choice but to trust the last person that she could trust in Honolulu: Dean Harper, a professional hacker with his own axe to grind against the Berkeley family. 
Revision status: After so many changes to the plot and characterization (i.e. downgrading Dean to “professional hacker” just to mess with the age ranges of the characters), I finally threw in the towel and decided to rewrite this as a screenplay treatment, since some of the scenes I had in mind were hard to translate to the written page. (I used the beat sheet from Save The Cat! as a template for my treatment.) This treatment, in turn, will then be used as an outline for a possible Script Frenzy entry. I think I’m ready to put this baby in motion by April, while I’m taking classes for summer school.

What else is going on? Frankly, the characters need a lot of help to elevate them from cartoonish good/bad guys. (The exceptions being Nica, Dean, Linus, and Attorney Kunimoto, which worries me.) The mystery itself – which involves a cover-up for a pharmaceutical conspiracy – could also use more work, and the killer (or killers?)  must stop acting so damned obvious.

Do I want to see this published produced? Eventually. I can see this turning into a real movie; most of the scenes in Manila are located in not-so-densely-populated areas (breathe easy, people affected by Bourne Legacy), and Hawaii – from what I know about Lost – is not a bad place to shoot a movie either. If you’re interested, you can also see my inspiration board on Pinterest to check out a few graphic pegs. 
Does this need a critique? Yes, please! Preferably someone with critiquing experience for mystery/suspense/thriller screenplays. I’ll even take critiques at the treatment stage, if anyone wants to do this. 

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