Saturday, November 15, 2008

Another year, another missed second round

I began my morning getting punched in the throat by a 25 lb medicine ball. It did not feel good. You have to be careful when you let Beefcakes teach you weight training lessons because sometimes they don't realize that you cannot catch a 25 lb medicine ball when it's thrown at your neck with full momentum.

Then I went to the Expo.

I did the Open. The prompt was basically this: Your protagonist is someone unloved by society but has changed his ways. Now he is confronted by an angry mob.

So at first when I went in I thought it would be a good idea to try making up some character details and backstory to save time so all I had to do was alter a character I already created. So I planned to use what happened to me with the medicine ball that morning.

When I read the prompt I started to write a story about a former beauty queen who has aged and gotten fat and wants to get back to being beautiful so she takes a weight training class but everybody else in the class resents her and attacks her with medicine balls.

But I got about a page and a half in and realized it was boring as hell.

I have a formula for short films. Not on purpose, mind you, but I've noticed that all my shorts have a common style: an unnecessarily extreme reacting to events, a gun or knife used to threaten, quirkily repetitive dialogue a la Pushing Daisies.

This beauty queen thing was not my style.

So I walked up to Jim Cirile and asked him if I could have a new copy of the prompt. And I just started writing with a vague idea of a story and no outline.

I'll post the pages tomorrow together with my coverage, but for now I'll just share a lesson I learned.

I was about four pages in when I decided this was crap too. It was better crap, but I felt a little confused since I didn't outline. So I figured I had already lost so I rushed the last couple of pages, didn't reread it and threw it in the basket up front.

And when I got it back the score was 89. The cutoff for the top 10% was 91.

So I learned a few lessons from this. First of all, I'm getting better. Last year I got an 86 I think. I also need to learn to maybe not be so damn critical because I write better than I think I do, but also trust my instincts because that first attempt really was bad and if I hadn't started over I would have gotten a much lower score. But maybe if I hadn't determined my suckiness I might have written the ending better, and the ending is what kept me out of the top 10%.

And the truth is, when I picked up my script three hours after I wrote it I reread it and realized it was a lot better than I had originally thought, so clearly I need to cut myself some slack.

I'll post it tomorrow or Monday.


  1. You rock, kid. That's what I been tellin ya.
    I'll scan one of mine, too.

  2. ouch, that's painful, hope u feel better too.

    yes, you probably do write better than you realize. that's good you're getting better as a writer ^_^

  3. Good for you, getting better is great - and realizing that you are getting better is even greater.

    btw my word verification in "undersware"


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