Monday, September 15, 2008

The Writing Week part 37

Some weeks can be really great weeks, even if the writing wasn't one hundred percent consistent. This was one of those weeks.

On the down side, there were a few days when I didn't write. On the plus side, though, I: began a new project (finally), polished and sent out query letters, and had a writers group meeting. Not a bad accomplishment for one week's time.

Everything the group and I did this past week goes back to something I've been mentioning a lot recently: the need to be driven. It's too easy for me to decide that "tomorrow, I'm going to start a morning exercise routine" or "next month, I'll begin teaching myself to play the harmonica" or "I'll slack off tonight, but tomorrow is the beginning of a new writing regimen." (All of those are things I've said to myself. A lot.) This week I decided to put it into action.

The query letters were a big thing. I wrote last time about working on them, and sent out a single, lonely message. I sent out a handful this week and, while I don't want to beat a dead horse, there is one more thing I'd like to say about them now. I can't recall the site where I read this, but some of the best, yet hardest to follow advice on queries was this (essentially):

Send them and forget about them. You're likely not to hear back, but if you do, send your script and forget about that, too. Otherwise, you'll drive yourself nuts.

Too true. I've resisted the urge to check my email when I'm usually not online, but when at my computer all day, it's so easy to just roll the cursor over the email window to see if there's anything new and exciting hiding in my inbox. There isn't at the moment.

Changing topics, I find I'm embarking upon another writing experiment. Zombie's mentioned that he's done some recently, Onyx did too, I believe. We all seem to be working on things that are new for us. For me, this will be my third this year. I tried 1) not using an outline, 2) writing a cross-country journey pic, and now 3) using VOICE OVER.

Voice over is one of those things that every student I know (and many books agree) is taught not to do. At NYU, most of the faculty treated voice over like the ugly cousin who'd try to molest you if you got too close. You were told from day one to just stay away. Avoid it like the plague. Yet, I happen to really like voice over in some instances. It just really draws me into a movie and the characters when done well, I guess perhaps because it makes the writer's job a bit easier - don't know how to tell it in the action? Voice over.

I know that my next project will use it. Right now, I'm still working on writing an elaborate back story for my protagonist (another first for me). I've written a paragraph here or there before, but never the nine solid pages I've done so far. What I'm hoping to accomplish from writing the back story, besides having a much more solid protagonist and first draft when I begin writing the actual pages, is that I'll figure out who the voice over comes from. Will it be my protagonist or is it going to be some omniscient third-person narrator?

Has anyone out there used voice over before? How'd it turn out?


petra michelle; Whose role is it anyway? said...

Hello. I happened to see your comment on Janet's NY Screenwriting's blog. I'm an agented screenwriter, and the one script which got the most attention was one in which I used voiceover. I love it, because the story can move in both directions; from the narrator's pov in the voiceover and the action taking place which supports the narration.
Well, I use poetic license, even in writing scripts although I do adhere to the industry's format.
It was very nice meeting you, and much luck in your screenwriting career. Petra p.s. I have a blog called "whose role is it anyway?" It's purely entertainment, but it's helpful in keeping the muse oiled. Perhaps you'd care to stop by, and express what you think? Mind you, it's not meant for a studio exec's eyes entirely, but I'm quite proud of what I've written from week to week. Buona giornata!

Cake Man said...

Petra, thanks for your comment. It's good to hear from a writer who has used and enjoyed working with voiceover. I feel it could become quite easy for me to be too taken with it and over use it. Then again, that's what re-writes are for. It's certainly reassuring that you found success with your voiceover script. Maybe lightning will strike twice?

And yes, I've visited "whose role is it anyway?" and enjoyed it a lot. We had actually discussed doing a section whereby we put short scripts up onto our blog, but with a completely different goal in mind. I really like what you've done with it and will leave a comment shortly.

Thanks again!