When I was at school my PE teacher always used to say that you’d hit a stage during any run in which you’d feel like ‘running through treacle’. I think, as coverage of The London Marathon and Man Vs Food tell us, commonly referred to as ‘the wall’. It would seem that ‘The Last Alive’ has hit something of a wall about four pages in. I have the notes laid out but I’ve changed a part of the story in the last few days and now I’m worried this is causing a knock on effect to the rest of it.
How exactly do I make an archaeological dig interesting? At the moment I’ve gone straight into our two main characters, one digging away and the other just dropping by, before they find this large, blue metallic object in the ground. My first thought is that they’d consider it a bomb so they would have to get the disposal squad in hence in our second scene I’ve got said experts handing over the item with the shrug of the shoulders and saying ‘it’s not a bomb mate’ before walking out of shot. Possibly to never return to the movie at all.
I have the small dilemma of wanting to get to the point and make the story interesting but also allowing the characters a bit of time to settle in before we start throwing aliens down on them. The first ten minutes should grab you, at the moment it both doesn’t grab you and also feels somehow rushed. Eventually this metal box will open to reveal a small child, perfectly preserved and saying that she’s a warning to Earth sent down from the stars. Currently her character felt unconnected with anything going on around her in this small town, Scottish setting until it hit me that she should be an echo for somebody. This has meant she’s ended up looking and sounding exactly like the daughter of a woman in the village who went missing 20 years ago. The Mother still lives there and will be shocked later to be reunited with what she thinks is her lost daughter, even though she hasn’t aged.
Obviously, this thrusts the Mother from having a small role to having quite a major bearing on what’s about to happen. I haven’t quite sorted that bit yet.
So we plough on in a slow manner.