Fear, Dread, Hopelessness and Other Emotions Felt by the Writer Awaiting Feedback

I’ve just sent off the latest draft of my horror-comedy-action film screenplay The Night Force to a well-respected and vastly experienced script consultant, and I can tell you right now that it is the most exciting and terrifying experience of my writing life. The good news is that I have already received the following feedback:

“I wanted to commend you on a job well done so far. This current draft of THE NIGHT FORCE is a solid early draft with plenty in its favour. There is still work to be done to raise this clever idea to the quality needed to get the powers that be hooked.”

So far, so good, right? No need to sit in a corner rocking back and forth whilst sweating and promising myself that I’ll never write again, right? RIGHT? RIIIIIIGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHTTTTTTTT!!

Waiting for feedback is always tough. I can remember sending off the manuscripts for my three novels to my ruthless editor, Lex. I always expected her to be Blake-in-Glengarry-Glen-Ross levels of brutal, but she was always constructive in her brutality. One of the toughest lessons a writer can learn is when/how to let go of something, and see the good in the feedback they’re receiving. After all, nobody wants you to fail. Except maybe half the people on Twitter.

Receiving feedback on this script is going to be tougher than all my other projects combined, because the project means so much to me. I had the idea back when I was 14 (in 1995), and I knew it was a great concept even back then. Everyone who has heard the idea has agreed with me that it’s a good ‘un, and one of those that probably should’ve been done already but somehow hasn’t.

The tone of the film (or the script at least) is very late 70’s/early 80’s John Carpenter, with a nice mix of Shane Black. The script is set in Britain and because of the horror/comedy angle, it will no doubt be compared to Shaun of the Dead when it eventually gets shopped around to agents/production companies, which is fine. It’s a different type of film, and probably has more in common with Attack the Block, due to the main character being a teenage street kid.

I have over 20 years emotion investment in this project, so the fear, dread, hopelessness and urge to do Class A drugs before crying myself to sleep every night is very tempting right now, as I await the judgement on feedback on my passion project. I’ll get through it though, and I’ll thank the consultant for his feedback and use it to make the script better than it ever has been. I owe it to my 14 year old self.


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