Wednesday, October 07, 2009

I suck

At first when I went on vacation I planned to write 5-10 pages a say and crank the first draft of this script out in a few weeks, but as usual that didn't happen. I had a week in Montana where I didn't want to write even though I should have, then I had some days where I had to go on emergency house visits which I really hope are finished. I should know by the end of the week.

So instead of my mad, 5-10 page-a-day intention, I ended up writing 2-3 pages most days. There's still forward momentum, but not as much as I'd hoped.

The problem is, the script is not as good as I would like it to be. I just read The Many Deaths of Barnaby James and it made me feel like a hack. But then I had to remind myself that it's a first draft and first drafts always suck.

It's really hard not to listen to that voice in your head telling you how much you suck. I wrote a death scene today - my protagonist, you guys. That's right, I went there. I killed her ass. I offed the old biddy and it just felt so cheesy. I write a lot of death scenes and I always hate them, which is one reason I generally prefer short, sudden deaths.

I've had some complaints about that in the past - my deaths feel too sudden. But to be honest, some of my least favorite death scenes are the ones where characters linger just long enough to confess a secret or a message to their loved one or whatever. My favorite death scene of all time was Anya's death in the Buffy finale. "What death scene?" you may ask. Exactly.

But I couldn't do that with this script. I had to have a cradle-my-dying-lover-in-my-arms thing going on, much to my chagrin. The whole time I wrote it I kept thinking Blech. This blows. But I have to finish it.

So I had to give myself permission to suck or I'd never finish it. I hope that when I go through on my first full pass where I fill in blanks I'll change the things that suck. In the meantime, I embrace my suckiness. It's the only way to get to the good stuff.


  1. Don't get me started on long, lingering death scenes. I have recurring nightmares from NYD Blue and Bobby's "death." Ten minutes into the second part of the show I was screaming, "Just kill the mother fer already." And there have been other scenes which made me equally insane--Saving Private Ryan's Captain Miller for one, get your ass ripped apart by machine guns and see if you live long enough to give your death speech.

    And 2-3 pages per day, ain't bad--30 days, give or take, and you're done. Which is a pretty good clip for writing a script. Don't be so hard on yourself. You know you have what it takes.

  2. Heh. Thanks.

    I just feel like a hypocrite after writing all that stuff about motivation.

    Yeah I kind of wish we didn't have so many dying people giving their big speeches as bullets eat at their insides.

  3. Anonymous5:25 AM

    God yes, the "voice." We're old friends. But the ones who listen to the voice are the ones who definitely don't make it. You have to blast through the rock to get to the diamonds. ;)

  4. >I just feel like a hypocrite after writing all that stuff about motivation.<

    Don't. In my opinion, the best teachers and motivators share their ups and downs. Shooting to be better at something counts just as much as succeeding in it.

  5. It's like I have my own online support group of random people from all over. That's kind of awesome.

    Thanks, everybody.

  6. Casey9:52 AM

    Thanks for posting this, especially good timing too since I just wrote the worst scene ever. Drug dealer son has hushed heart to heart with loving mother in vacant pew of Cathoic church, about abusive father who didn't know how to show him love. Blech.

    However now that I got that crap out of my psyche I can revise, revise, revise & move on. Whew!


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