Wednesday, January 25, 2012

The Ledge

So I'm about to finish the first rough draft of my script.   My goal is Friday, so I can have people read over the weekend and get it shored up to turn in to the B.H.P. next week.

I started writing on December 28.  My goal is to type Fade Out by January 27.

For the most part I've been sailing thanks to the extensive outline I'm working from - but there have been moments when I was seriously grateful I didn't live in a high-rise.

Let me tell you a little bit about what that feels like - those moments on The Ledge.

First, it comes out of nowhere.  In this instance a little nothing scene.  An exchange between my main character and the romantic counterpart, the b-plot of the story.

There are clues already to how I got on the ledge - can you find them?  A nothing little scene between my main character...  Okay that doesn't exist...  especially not in the b-plot.

I'm zinging along, going to hit my daily page count no problem.

(Daily page count is my tool I use to break out a rough draft, write fast and hot, fix it later.)


I couldn't get past the scene.  I started tweaking.  I hated that.  No that didn't work.  I started cutting huge sections.  I added things that had no relevance.  I cut those.  Wait a second?  What was going on here?

What was going on was I didn't know what this scene was about or why it was important.  Unbelievable that can happen after the many months of detailed outline work - but yet - alas..

I tried to skip it - go back later.  But I couldn't every time I sat down I found myself back on this scene.

I started to hate this scene.  I started to hate myself.  I started to doubt the validity of the entire project.  Of my talent and skill as a writer.

At this point I'm a real joy to be around.  My husband avoids me.  My toddler calls me The Grinch and my dog hides under the bed.

Everything grinds to a halt.  I cannot go forward until I solve this.   I can't sleep.  I am miserable.

I'm on the ledge.  Everything looks hopeless.  I'll never solve it.  I don't know what I'm doing.  Who was I kidding?  They are going to ask for their money back.  I'm going to be sued.

My husband reminds me that I always get this way.  That at some point I always hit a roadblock and I will solve it.   I remember why I love him.

I decide to hang in there.  I look at the scene from a longer view.  The problem couldn't be fixed in this scene because it was a symptom of a bigger issue.  The entire subplot was sending the wrong message.

This sounds like a lot of work - which is probably why I didn't first jump to this solution - but it was the only way off the ledge that didn't end with a long shriek and a splat.

And it made me curious.  I had a lot of new things to explore.  New discoveries to make.  I had to get off that ledge and start writing.   This was the fun part, back again.  The next thing I knew I was whizzing along.  

Happy Writing.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Ten Scenes A Day

I need to turn in the draft sooner than later.  We are pushing against a shoot deadline.  If I turn it in soon AND if its good - then we are making a movie.  Hundreds of people will be employed.  

If I don't pull it off - then we'll have to wait another year.   A year in Hollywood - I shudder to think - anything could happen.

Okay, so I can't focus on the outcome.    I can't think of how much is riding on this draft.  I can't think about the fact that in 15 years my son will be heading off to college.  

I've simply got to take that next step.  From A to B.

A to B.  The step right in front of me is all that matters.  Getting that step right is all I can do.  

So here's my plan:

Write ten scenes a day.    (I'm half way done right now - and at this pace I should be able to get a draft by the weekend.)

Then, I'll get some key reads.  

And turn it in to the B.H.P.  

Then I'll start praying.

As well as blow the dust off my spec, take a look at some possible future writing gigs, break-down my indie film and create a budget.  

Wow.  Writing ten scenes a day is really going to be the easy part!*

I'll keep you posted!  

PS.  Ten scenes a day is a little misleading.  I have a very detailed outline that I'm working on.  Usually a beat in an outline would be one sentence.  Here I have whole chunks of dialogue and most of the description already written out.  I simply divided the work I still needed to do by the days I needed to do it in. Some days will be long and hard, other days will be easy and maybe I can get a jump on the long and hard days.  But, I've just created a manageable  next step.  From A to B.   Basically the same process of every step of writing.  

Happy Writing!

Monday, January 9, 2012

Happy New Year - Starting Again

Writing Tip Of The Week:   The easiest and the hardest thing to do:  Start!

--WHEN IT'S EASY - IT GETS HARDER.   Let me explain, you wake up with an inspiration.  The next thing you know you are scribbling on whatever you can get your hands on to get these ideas down.  You're riding a lightning bolt.  That's an easy start.  Often times, the next part gets hard.  The organizing your brilliance and fixing the problems the lightning had blinded you to sucks in comparison.  And you'll question whether what you thought was brilliant actually was.

--WHEN IT'S HARD - IT GETS EASIER.  Right from the beginning you are pulling teeth.  That's when the closets get organized, you answer emails to anyone, etc.  You are starting cold and have to much through unti you grab an  idea.  But once you break through you are on a roll.  Time is sailing, you are underway.

So those are the two ways it can go.  To get through both you just have to stick with it.  Break down your goals.

For example, today I have a three hour window of uninterrupted time (a rare thing for a working mom with a toddler) and so I am setting a goal that if I stay focused and suck down an adequate amount of caffeine, I should be able to conquer.

It's taking the first step and then following it with the next that will get you there.  But just remember, even if it's easy, don't get discouraged when it gets hard.  And if it's starting off with a challenge, keep going it will get easier.

Happy Writing and Happy Monday!

PS.  The new site - although we have it up on our server - has been delayed.  The movie needed more work over the holidays (see previous posts) and so, the new blog has had to be re-prioritized to its rightful place (below actually contractually bound writing jobs... ;)  But it's still in the works.