Monday, November 05, 2012

The Writing Week (Vol. 5) part 249 - Surviving Sandy

"I wonder if I should sleep in the living room," I thought to myself Sunday night. My bed is right under a window, and it hadn't occurred to me until my boss sent a cautionary email that being near exposed glass in the hurricane might not be the wisest idea. "Eh, the futon's not that comfortable," I dissuaded myself, "and I'm too tired to go collect blankets and pillows."

My gamble paid off - I was fortunate, and my windows all remained intact. In fact, my neighborhood in Astoria, Queens was quite lucky throughout the ordeal. Unbeknownst to me, I was near an evacuation zone, but I didn't lose power (just internet for a bit), and Netflix streaming helped my housemates and I pass the time in restless comfort. We ate. We watched. We ate. We watched. I broke the pattern to read and write. While much of New York City flooded, burned, or literally washed away, I plugged away at the sci-fi spec, spinning a long second act into a 70 page yarn that needs adjusting but doesn't have any obvious cuts yet.

As I mentioned before, the script is getting long. I submitted a 74 page first "half" to my writing partner a week ago, and this morning I sent him the first two acts. He got an email with a 104 page pdf. We both know that this draft is going to be long - maybe 130, 135. I don't want to start with edits now; it would just be counterproductive. I want to keep my momentum going, so I'm ignoring what I know to be a page count issue. Some stories demand long scripts - this just isn't one of them. Also, though, I know that I can't short-change Act Three to come in at the desired 120. I want to strip 5 pages from Act One and 10 from the first half of Two, but I'm not going to do a disservice to the script by trying to preemptively trim Act Three. My writing partner told me to keep going, and I'm certainly not going to argue with that. 

We've been in touch over the past week - when you are stranded and can't get to work, you feel guilty when you're not working on your scripts. He has notes, for sure - some tonal, others about character motivations - but we're setting those aside for the time being, too. Neither of us is displeased with the draft. More than that, we're also learning a lot about the story from my pages, what's working what isn't, and where we're falling short. Character motivations are still a little rocky, especially with the protagonist. But we're seeing that clearly now, and our game plan is to do a full, line by line edit/review after I send him the completed first draft. Only then will we really know where we've landed and what we need to focus on next. 

I know I was fortunate to have made it through Sandy the way I did. Friends of friends lost everything. My cousin lost his roof (literally). Even other Leaguers went without power or water for days. I'm grateful that I was able to get so much done during the storm, especially when I know so many artists and theatres that have lost or suspended everything. 

I hope all you writers out there who have been affected by Sandy - or whose families have been - are back up and running and writing at full speed.