After a California Christmas with Mark’s parents and his precious Uncle Tom — whom Goodnight Sunshine is dedicated to — we headed to Tucson, Arizona to connect with friends. It would be a working holiday because we had given ourselves a deadline for completing the book. Mark and I traded off day after day for the next couple of weeks. It was the perfect combo of intensive long days of purposeful work followed up with soul-filling days in nature with friends. As a bonus we took a road trip to the Grand Canyon — with Mark driving and me editing through the driving hours — and before we left Tucson, the edited second draft was complete.
One day in Tucson while Mark was writing, the rest of us popped into a huge used bookstore. Thinking ahead, I started scouting for books that would help us with the next part of our plan. When Mark’s book was done, I would immediately get working on the screenplay (yes, me — the one who hadn’t yet completed a writing project), so I wanted to get a jump-start on learning. I bought a couple of great books and dove into them with excitement … until … dead stop.
It turns out that for a first movie, you need a pretty simple setting and plot to pull it off on a small budget. Goodnight Sunshine travels across the United States and down to Ecuador with an opening scene of (can’t tell you) and a climactic scene with (can’t tell you), and is not a simple screen story with a low budget. Huh. Didn’t think of that.
To top things off I was disappointed with the outcome of Mark’s second draft. Where I previously thought he was a jerk, I now felt the romantic climax had deteriorated — Mark had taken his truth out of the story and filled it in with mushy feel-good fluff. Knowing him as well as I do, it was easy to perceive that he had diluted his message. I tried to explain this but I wasn’t sure if I was getting through. While Goodnight Sunshine is definitely NOT the story of Mark and Sheila, we both considered that I might be too close to Mark to be completely objective.
It was at this point that we decided a fresh set of editorial eyes was necessary.
To be continued …