Tuesday, January 29, 2008

The Writing Week part 4

You know, I was just thinking to myself last night how good ti feels to be back in it, writing on a nightly basis (maybe a bit more daily on the weekends). There’s just something to be said for writing regularly. It’s like working out. It can be hard to get into the routine in the beginning, but once I do, I feel guilty for missing a day. Writing, even just my hour a day, seems to validate something inside me when I tell people I write screenplays. I always felt I had lied when that inevitable question, “What are you working on now?” would arise, and my answer would be, “Well, nothing at the moment, but I have ideas.”

The process that I’m working with now is different than any other I have used in the past. Typically, I tended to favor having complete outlines done before writing, or at the very least an entire outline for each act before I began putting pages out. However, with this script, I find myself outlining and researching as I write. I’ll sit down and begin my nightly hour, only to realize that there is something I don’t know, a plot hole I have yet to fill, or a chunk of outline yet to complete (that last does not typically come as a surprise).

The result is that I am getting pages written much more slowly than normal. Usually, with an outline all set to go, I can write about 5 pages in an hour (why is it that we talk so much in terms of pages?). These nights, I get maybe 2-4, depending on how many gaps in the outline and research I’m facing.

But that doesn’t mean that I feel the process is any less efficient. In a way, perhaps it’s more so. Rather than just banging out pages mechanically, I’m still thinking about them, thinking about what should come next, what would come next, and how to progress. The story has more room to evolve naturally than it ever could if I had an outline that I felt—whether consciously or not—obligated to adhere to. It’s also more fun for me. I am still discovering the story each night, rather than simply elaborating upon the bullet points I’ve laid out for myself.

Really, I don’t know if this process is going to make the story any stronger or not. We have our next meeting on Saturday, and I’m eager to see what people think. There are almost always problems within a first draft of a first act (that’s how much I sent out to the League), so I’m not expecting solid praise. But, I am curious to see how well the script is received, if at all. Perhaps, too, it could just be that I’m more engaged with this project than I have been with others. Then again, that could be because it is still almost as much a mystery ride for me as it is for the rest of the League.

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