Monday, May 12, 2008

Voices in My Head Put Me to Sleep

Like Onyx Enforcer, I don’t have a set writing process. While most times I like to write out an extensive beat sheet before I begin, the script I’m currently working on went through little to no planning, and is so far the smoothest writing I’ve done in years. I also find inspiration from very different places for each scripts, and while music is always playing when I write (I can’t stand writing to silence), it doesn’t really influence what I write.

I think the only consistent writing process for all of my scripts is character building. While the scripts always start with an one-line idea, it’s when I figure out what kind of person the main characters are do the story come together. Psychology fascinates me, and I like giving characters different conscious, subconscious, and unconscious goals, or conflicting/ hypocritical desires. Most of the time if they stay in my head for too long they become pretty broken and twisted, but to my delight the people in my two recent scripts are staying very healthy.

While the script is under construction, I like to let my characters run around in my head and do whatever they want: Meet another character, go to a new town, admire a knife, stalk a kill, eat some breakfast, go camping, get upset, be happy. It’s basically day dreaming, but without me. I also play the scenes I know I want to write over and over and over until the moment I write it (that’s actually how I put myself to sleep every night).

I suppose it is because I revolve around character rather than plot, if I don’t know the ending to a script I simply can’t begin to write, not even the rough draft. This is because without knowing exactly how it will go down, my characters would (like normal humans) simply drag the conflict out as long as humanly possible until it simply die anti-climatically, or suddenly ends with an abrupt burst of violence.

The Writing Week part 19

I’d say “this was more of a reflective week,” but that would be cheating. This was really just more of an unproductive week. That lull that I mentioned in my writing process post is still clinging on for dear life, and I’m just starting to shake it off my leg, like an unwanted dog about to break out the “lipstick.”

All of that isn’t to say that I’ve accomplished nothing this week. I got feedback on my pages from the League, which was all very helpful. This psychological thriller I’m working on, the former Screenplay X, has a lot of work to be done on it yet. However, I am proud of the draft that I have, and after I take a breather from it, I’ll eagerly dive back into it.

I also came up with ideas for a couple future projects this week. Truth be told, something (though now I can’t remember what) happened a few weeks back, and had me worrying that I was dry, in a rut, out of ideas. Well, like the figurative dog humping my leg, that’s something I can’t quite fully shake, either. But, the fact that there are a couple ideas bouncing around in my head again is comforting, even if they’re just as experimental and not as complete as the ideas I developed since January.

Another step forward was that I finally started working on my post-Apocalyptic action spec again. What I really need to do (and will do tomorrow and/or Wednesday) is re-read it. The timing’s a little poor, because I’m going on vacation for a long weekend beginning Wednesday night, and most likely won’t have my computer with me. Not that I can’t write without it, but when I finally commit to diving back into a project, it’s best to have my laptop within reach.

Lastly, I realized something. If I devoted this next year—from now until the end of April, 2009, when my lease expires—to completing all of the projects I’ve written in the past year and a half and currently have at least a first draft of, I would have an additional four scripts under my belt. That’s not counting the projects that are only an outline, or a first act, or a messy blob of random ideas. I know, four scripts might not sound like a lot to you (perhaps), but I would love to add finished drafts of each of those to my portfolio.