The rewriting process can be challenging at best, demoralizing and un-ending at worst. The first lesson I learned was to carefully select my notes givers. These people aren’t necessarily writers, but are familiar enough with screenplays that the format won’t affect their experience. I have two or three people whose taste and opinion I respect, who consistently take time to give really thought-out notes. I’m lucky enough to have a couple of generous friends that get into every scene, helping identify the problems. You only have one shot with most people—make sure to take it when you’ve done your best work.

Even so, I don’t take every single note. My general rule is that if more than one person gives the same note, if something isn’t clear or is confusing, if the protagonist doesn’t have a defined voice or if the reader doesn’t care about them, I address it. What I find most effective is when a reader knows what I’m going for in the section that didn’t work for them, and tells me their initial reaction. This helps me identify what went wrong.

Tomorrow: The Writing Process: Notes No-No’s