Monday, January 26, 2009

The Writing Week (Vol. 2) part 56 - Choosing Every Word

I fiddled with the outline. I talked Onyx's head off about my idea. Zombie thought there was no end in sight as I would ramble on and on about the script into the wee-hours of booze infused mornings. The League checked the outline, asked me questions, gave me suggestions (some I took, some that went in one ear and took the express train out the other). So this week, finally, it was time to start writing pages.

A bit about my writing process (as much as I have one). Once my outline is done, or even if I've decided to forgo an outline and just write from scratch, I tend to average about five pages an hour. I write an hour a day. I'm a firm believer in the 100-105 page script (though not saying there's anything wrong with a 120 pager), so I usually finish a draft in about three weeks, give or take. Yeah, it's kind of fast, and those first pages I write usually wind up getting re-written. But the foundation is typically laid in under a month.

This go around, though, I find I'm working a bit differently. For one, though I usually listen to music while writing, half the time I find it distracting these days. Also, my pace has slowed to closer to three pages per session, maybe four. There's a very good reason for both of those things; I find I'm concentrating much harder on these pages than I ever have before. Truth be told, I'm not really sure why that's the case. The pages are fun to write, but they're much more effort than I've ever put into writing before. Where normally I'd breeze through five or six pages, I'm now laboring over each and every word, be it in dialogue or action. There's a certain mood I have to convey in this (as in all scripts) and key hints about different plot twists that I have to drop. The outline pretty much works, and the expectations from the League are so high for this that I suppose I feel if I get it done right the first time, I could knock this thing out of the park.

Yeah, I know, that's sort of the goal with all writing, isn't it? It's odd - the way I'm focusing on this, treating it much more of a job, a sort of one-time assignment that I have to get right - I can't quite judge where I am. Either I'm hitting the nail on the head, or I've completely missed my mark. As the retired LoKor recently said, "First drafts are what they are. You write them the way you need to." Guess I'll find out what mine is at our next League meeting (at least for my first act).

When you write, how much time to do you dedicate to "the little things," especially in your first draft?