Friday, July 31, 2009

And now I'm writing like gangbusters

Well, maybe not gangbusters, but I'm averaging two pages a day during the week.

I can always tell how well I'm doing by what I'm thinking about when I go to sleep at night. I do most of my plotting at night while I'm waiting to sleep, but it's not always the script I'm working on unless I feel really good about that script.

When I was working on Not Dead Yet I thought about it before I started, during the writing, and after. For a long time after, which is why I kept making so many damned revisions. It's also why I kept having so many damned nightmares about zombies. Seriously, for a while there I jolted awake at least once a week in fear that a zombie was about to eat me. But I kept thinking about it every night because I felt so good about the story.

For the next year, I thought about anything other than the script I was working on. I wrote it, but my heart wasn't in it. And now I have a first draft of a script I don't love. First draft is all it will ever be.

So then I came up with the plot for Burn Side and started developing it at night, and at first I felt excitement over my story. A few weeks into writing the first draft, I started to distract myself. I thought of anything but my current script. At night I thought up the plot to a low-budget sci-fi character based story, a prison escape movie, a story about William Randolph Hearst, and a kidnapping story. I spent most of my time on the sci-fi thing, so I guess I already know what my next project will be.

But that wasn't the point. The point was, I was supposed to be working on my Chinese-style martial arts movie but I wasn't. And that's because the movie wasn't working in my head.

I was doing the same thing I'd done in college, something my thesis director warned me about. I was trying to hang on to a story too tightly. Instead of scrapping something that didn't work, I was trying to twist a story element into a place where it wouldn't go. And then one night when I began to think about my sci-fi story I ordered my brain to refocus and fix this problem.

And I did. I realized I needed to scrap my whole plan and think of some other way for my characters to get together. Ever since I did that, I've been plotting like gangbusters. All I want to think about all night is my new script.

In short, I'm having fun again. And that's how I know this will be a good one. I wasn't so sure of that a few weeks ago.


  1. You MUST write about William Randolph Hearst getting kidnapped and having to escape from a space prison and learns not to be such an asshole.

    So the asshole part will have to be historically inaccurate.

    I want it.

    Make it happen.

  2. That would be an awesome episode of Dr Who.

  3. Hey, it's true what old Renoir said: creation's either about joy or pain. If you're feeling neither when writing, then somethin' ain't right.


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