punch-up: a process where we individually go through the writer’s first draft and offer up suggestions for jokes, story structure, and/or cuts. Then we get into one room and offer up all of our suggestions at the same time until the writer is convinced he or she should never write anything ever again while simultaneously just as sure that we are all a bunch of hacks who have no business telling him or her what’s funnier than what they wrote.

The process repeats with each subsequent draft. I find it easier to do punch-ups on later drafts. The first one I’m thinking of the writer, and how nervous he or she must be. So I’m always like, "Yay! It’s really funny!" and silently: "Oh, you didn’t use that joke I pitched a couple of weeks ago. You hate me." And, even more silently: "Yay! You used that joke I pitched a couple of weeks ago! You like me!"

First draft attachment. I have it. To be honest, I have lots of attachments. I am not the best at letting go. So when we move on and get to later drafts, I’m usually the one thinking, "I liked the joke we had six jokes ago."

Back to punching up. (But page 16: he used a joke I pitched a couple of weeks ago!)

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