Saturday, May 10, 2008

Don't Never Change

We talk a lot on this blog about writing, our projects, our experiences. It's weird, then, that we haven't really written about our actual writing processes.

As you can tell from my Writing Weeks, I'm abut 19 weeks into the year and have completed two first drafts of new scripts from scratch. Two new specs in about 10 weeks apiece. Factor in the fact that I tend to experience a two week lull after completing a project, and that brings it down to about 8 weeks I spend on a script. From start of the outline to finishing the draft. Yeah, I'm fast (... in my writing).

Don't get me wrong, though, I don't consider those two months on each script to be all that I need to complete a project. I'm usually pleased with my first drafts, though aware of the work they need. I just can't get myself to look at them objectively for a very long time, though - hence the two week lull, followed by the second, new project. It takes me a good deal of time before I can look at a script I've written and get past that initial feeling of pride and accomplishment to the point where I can see the (sometimes large) flaws in it.

Once I do finally decide to embark upon a rewrite, it's often a messy experience. I usually still find myself too wedded to my pages to just flat out cut them completely and start from scratch, so I tend to wind up re-writing from the first page on, correcting scenes and dialogue as I go, but leaving everything ahead untouched for the time being. Anyone who reads a draft of one of my specs in this state would wonder why the hell I spent so much time and money studying screenwriting - pages 1-30 would seem like a completely different script from 31 onward, whole scenes would be missing, characters would be completely different with the turn of a page.

It might not be the most effective (and is probably evidence of me still being too unwilling to change what I've written - though I have done cold page 1 rewrites before). In time, I'll probably find a better way. But for now that's just how I seem to work. What about you, what's your process?