In general I get the sense from my crit group feedback that they seem to be seeing the story become increasingly cohesive with more narrative drive and momentum.
A couple of the feedback noted the dreamlike imagery, and imagery that seem to beg for a psychoanalytical interpretation: particularly Arkin’s relationship with the luminescent woman/High priestess and to some extent, his relationship with his mother. Perhaps I want to keep this a little less obvious in final version.
A couple of the readers noted a change in the tone in this section of the outline, which was “darker" and showed evidence of moving towards more of the conventions of the horror genre. This is certainly the intent of this portion of the outline in which the structure of traditional three act story dictates the increasingly dark night of the soul before eventual recovery to the light. It will be important in final construction to be acutely aware of the increased tension in this portion of the narrative, something that can be unpleasant for the viewer, and allow adequate “rest" and digestion time for viewer processing of those intense experiences.
I appreciated some observations about possible allusions to Christian iconography in the scene in which Arkin is comforted in a bloody sheet. Some territory to explore visually.
In this section of the outline, I started to give some sundry supplemental cinematography notes, for example noting the heat map color palette of a scene; these notes appeared to help readers better visualize those scenes.
At least a couple of the readings noted that it would be beneficial to have overall visual story maps; and I noted that this is something planned that will be done after the story outline and screenplay is locked. It is definitely something that is essential for my execution of many of the sequences. Even for those sequences that are not technically challenging, I find it comforting to have those plans in hand for the shoot days.
Since the initial feedback on this portion of the outline, I have gone ahead and blasted through a complete rough outline. Immediately after that, I went back to the novel and charted out all of the major events and plot points. The central reason for this was to see if there are any major events that I want to ensure are included in the final outline that may have been omitted. At present, I have simply included the broadest strokes of some of the fantastic vision narratives present in the novel, just showing some essential visual reflections of them, visions that are not necessarily borne out of any real evident internal-dream-logic. I want to also find out ways to abstract the narrative cores of these vision narratives to sprinkle into the story. This will help give some internal logic to the presence of these visions and the relationship of magic, numbers, and the Tarot card obsession, that all right now do not have this clearly evident. This also popped up as something in feedback that there was an opportunity to better clarify or at least more clearly hint at.
In addition to both general outlines, I also created a basic overall visual map of the relationship between the events of “visions" and those occurring in the “real" world.
This allowed me to see at a glance that in the original novel, the bulk of the "Action" appears to happens in the visions.
Next step will be to go through these three outlines/maps with some of my structural guides to punch in all the stuff that I want to be present.
I'm busy working on my blog posts. Watch this space!