Alec Nevala-Lee

Thoughts on art, creativity, and the writing life.

The last quarter mile

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Once you commit yourself to moving forward, you can’t stop. It goes back to the metaphor of the miler going back to rerun the last quarter mile because he didn’t do his best job. You can’t do it! To understand the rhythm of writing a hundred pages you have to write it right through. Feel the pages under you the same way a runner feels the gravel under his feet. He can tell how fast that gravel is moving under his feet as he’s going a mile, the same way you can tell how fast the pages are, how fast the scenes are moving…You have to feel space. If the run is a mile and the script is a hundred and five, a hundred and ten pages, you have to feel that space is tangible. Understand that space. Feel comfortable in that space. Page twenty, page forty, sixty, seventy-five, eighty. My favorite pages are eighty-five to ninety-five. I love those pages. If I don’t feel good from eighty-five to ninety-five, there’s something wrong. If I don’t feel good after page ninety, ninety to ninety-five, the script was a mistake.

Paul Schrader, to John Brady in The Craft of the Screenwriter

Written by nevalalee

July 2, 2018 at 7:30 am

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