I wrote about not shooting the outline, last year, here on my teaching blog. Here’s a great example in progress as Leela finishes Unterzakhn.
I noted while going through the manuscript that it needed a bridge before (beware the spoilers!) Minna throws Esther out of the house when she finds out Esther has been working in a brothel. This indignity had to be attached to Minna’s reputation somehow.
You can see on my note in pencil that I wrote “Minna losing business due to Esther. Finds out via customer.” I assumed and posited that this would be a simple scene of a customer telling Minna she wouldn’t shop there anymore, but Leela, who’s really good at this, teased out a better idea and you can see some of her thinking on top of my writing. First, at the bottom, she writes, “”Scene of people on the street talking ABOUT Minna and Esther: ‘A shandeh, that girl’” Better, but still STO, then she gets it: The pickle lady from the first section, being the busybody she is, telling HER customers not to shop from Minna anymore. And even better, the subject comes up when a brothel customer is talking to the pickle lady. The wonderful hypocrisy of coming from a brothel, and then sanctimoniously talking about ladies there (and their families) is fantastic. And further, in a great happy accident, Leela drew the man as a the truent officer from a previous scene. The story gets richer and richer, wheels with wheels, everyone’s a hypocrite.
If I recall correctly from David Mamet’s writings, he says a person never says what he means. He never says, “I want to talk to you about that money you owe me”, he says “Where the hell WERE you last night?!” That’s one of the best things you can learn if you want to write about PEOPLE. They have subconscious motivations that always guide their conscious dialogue and actions.
You can see my botched scan of the finished page. (Leela draws 18×24″ so it takes about 9 scans to get a page scanned.) We’ll post the final scan and grey tones later when her intern (me) finishes it.
Update: Here’s that finished scan: