Needless to say, I grabbed the chance with both hands. This kind of tight, psychological thriller is very much the sort of thing I feel comfortable writing, being tonally similar to my novels, the Riot Trilogy.
My first task was to take Chris's initial thoughts, combine them with ideas that were sparking in my mind, and try to work out a framework for the plot. Because I was thinking of using the basic three act structure, I needed to define the key events that would propell the characters forward at the climax of each act. It took me about a week to throw my ideas together in a brief treatment.
If I'd been writing a novel, I would then have starting writing chapter 1 and battled through to chapter N at the end of the book. But film is a far more collaborative medium. A week after I'd sent my initial treatment to Chris, we had another long consultation. He threw in more ideas for me to chew on. I got even more excited about the project and dived into writing a second treatment.
Shuffling the story back-and-forth has moved us forward. I forget the exact number of versions, but each new treatment was clearly better than the last. The real driving force of this story, however, is the relationship between the two central characters. And that will only emerge when we begin to write the screenplay itself. That is the stage we have now reached. For this I hope to be working with another writer.
I'll say more about that when we get properly underway.