Last week I started assembling the pieces of the first act of The Jade Stalk, and putting them in roughly in standard playscript format so I could judge the length, and I discovered to my chagrin that the act is turning out to be much longer than I’d planned. My target length is 45 pages, and I’d be fine with 50 or 55, but it was topping 70. The usual rule of thumb is that one page of script, formatted in the standard way, will usually equal about one minute of stage time.
I spent quite a few hours yesterday going over the first seven scenes, tightening the dialogue, cutting out some incidents that don’t seem crucial. I think I’ve shortened the act by only about five pages in all, so I’ll be doing more of that today.
I think I’ll be cutting one whole scene in the first act (scene eight), and with it two minor characters. I need to replace it with something, because it would be clumsy if the preceding and following scenes bumped up against each other; but whatever goes there will have to be a very short scene.