Thursday, June 04, 2009

Kicking my own ass

I've been getting some positive hits lately on Not Dead Yet. People want to read it, and when people read it they like it, and then they send it to more people.

I gotta tell you, I think my query letter must be pretty good. I think I'm going to send out more next week.

Recently someone was kind enough to remind me that when the right person finally reads they're going to ask the next obvious question, "What else you got?"

Um. Well.

You can't ride your entire life off one post-zombie apocalyptic survival story. I think Ben Franklin said that.

I have a lot of crappy stuff I sometimes pretend doesn't exist because it really shouldn't, and I have Fear of Clowns. If someone asked me right now today to produce something, that's in a rough state but far enough along that I could polish that shit up in a couple of weeks if I busted my ass. But I don't want to.

I wrote a vomit draft of that, but in the end I abandoned it because it feels fake. I teach kids who deal with gangs, but I've never experienced the things they've experienced and I've never even been to any of their homes. The day I met the Beefcake I was supposed to go to a graduation party for one of my kids but I skipped it to go to the other party. In hindsight that was definitely the correct decision, but I still feel kind of bad that I haven't spent any time in the community where my kids live.

And this is why I feel like a fraud writing a story about a kid trying to stay out of gangs. The main reason I wanted to write it in the first place was to counter some of the bullshit you see in similar movies, and I found myself writing the same bullshit. So even if I could clean up Fear of Clowns I just don't think I should.

I used to have these terrific writing habits. Every day I wrote for at least an hour and on Sundays I often wrote all day. Then I got a life and started working harder at my job, and well, now I don't write enough. Granted, some of that time has been researching and planning and editing Not Dead Yet, but still. Seventeen pages in like three months is ridiculous.

I have to reestablish a writing pattern so I can finish Burn Side. I think at the very least I need to make sure I've written at least one page before I go to sleep every night, and on Sundays I will set aside two hours to just write.

All it really takes is for me to say I'm going to do it, then not allow any excuses. It's a habit thing, really. While I was implementing my major rewrite of Not Dead Yet I got out of the habit of writing every day and into the habit of editing, and those are two different processes. So I have to accept that NDY is done and rework my brain back to being creative in a different sense.

Because soon somebody is going to come looking for what else I've got, and I need to have something to give them.


  1. yeah... I hear ya. I need at least 2 other solid screenplays when I start querying around my complete screenplay, which I am very proud of.

  2. if you want to, we could challenge each other with a prize at the end. Number of pages? scenes? drafts? up to you. We know each other well enough to trust each other not to cheat. Call me.


  3. Vanilla, that method has never really worked well for me. It just makes me annoyed with the person doing the nagging and I'd like us to stay friends.

    But I'll nag you, if you like. I'm pretty good at motivational speeches.

  4. It's incredibly hard to have a life and to write - but I have seen others do it, so I know it's possible!


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