Month: January 2014

Scriptwriting: Back on Track (Ohhhh, Yeahhh)

So, I am finally back on track with the actual writing bit.  It took me a bit of time (and not a little bit of builder’s tea), but I managed 7 pages of content with which I am supremely happy.  Though only 3 of those pages are actually a part of part two, I am still pleased, as I finally added in those few scenes in the first part that were missing in my first draft.

So far, I am pleased with how the story is flowing, and look forward to getting into the really juicy bits that are coming.  I will definitely have to do another break down to make sure that I can see approx how many pages I should devote to what parts, but that shouldn’t take too much time, at this point.

Honestly, if anything, I’ve learned that as much as I may drag my feet on occasion, I can do this.  I know my story, I know my characters, and I have learned to trust my instincts and just go with what feels right.  So far, this has worked out well, and as long as I keep trusting myself, I can Keep Buggering On.


Screenwriting: Character Profiles, Part DEUX

Now that the first draft of part one is done (well, save a few potential small-ish scenes that can be added in later), it’s back to the start of the process for me.  What does this mean?

That’s right…character profiles.  Though I am not starting from scratch, per se, I am going back and changing what’s, well, changed between the time I wrote them, and the end of the first part of the script.  I could get all wrapped up in sticking to the profiles, and trying to force the issue, but why do that to myself?

Writing should be organic, and if that means scrapping concepts to make way for what came about as I wrote, then so be it.

Also, as I am now into the next chapter of the story, I am introducing a brand new set of secondary characters, which is yet another reason why I am back to square one.  While, no, I will not be writing profiles for every single secondary character, I will be spending time on those secondary characters whose impact is directly felt by the protagonists.

It may seem silly to have waited to do all my character profiles, but instead of having to go back at the end and change things for everyone, now I only have to change a few things in two of the five already-written profiles.  Also, it allows for more freedom to let minor characters take on more important roles, as needed. Were I tied town to a pre-set number of characters, each with a predetermined destiny, I would have never allowed Benny to come into being…and that would have been very sad, indeed.

So, as it is, not much actual writing got done, unfortunately.  However, as I am going to bear down and be much more strict with my 5 pages a day schedule, I should be back on track tomorrow.  Even if that means getting my happy arse up early and carting my ridiculously oversized laptop to a coffee shop, writing IS going to happen.

I guess what I’m saying is…it’s always acceptable to go back to square one whenever you need to.



So, yeah, perhaps I’m feeling a bit like Leonitus today.  This could be because I’m a giant goof, but it is mostly because I am riding a giant wave of “OMFG, I FINISHED PART ONE” euphoria.  I had been struggling internally for a little bit, trying to work out how I was going to show the passage of time and transition my characters into adulthood without taking up 50 pages.

In the end, I think I found a way that works and doesn’t seem to hokey.  Whether or not it is, it seems to feel and flow organically and doesn’t feel forced.  Also, I like it.  So, yeah.  I am just a MITE bit please.  Though I am not too much above my page goal (almost 30 vs my projected 25), I am still nearly two weeks ahead of my schedule, which gives me more wiggle room, in case I have more unproductive days, where I’m just S T U C K.

This first hurdle…both charging it head on, and then leaping over it, has definitely been a learning experience.  I’ve learned that ANYTHING can be done, if you are prepared enough, and not just in terms of story/character/etc.  I was prepared to devote myself to five pages a day.  I was prepared to research the most insignificant detail in order to get to where I needed to be.  I was prepared to be as antisocial as necessary to get shit done.

This, I think, paid off with my ten pages yesterday, as I was able to finish up today in a little under four pages.  Though I am nowhere near done, this has proved that I can, and will do it.  I am prepared to hurdle jump the remaining two parts and all the surprises they bring.

Scriptwriting: JUST DO EET.

The lesson I learned today, well…the title says it all.  It was a slow start, at first, as I settled in to my new location of the third of part one.  There were a few moments where I had to squirm to get comfortable.  In a lot of ways, it was like I was trying on a new pair of shoes, deciding if they were going to work for me.

Still, I kept to my motto of “K.B.O.”: Keep Buggering On, and did just that.  I had moments where my brain kept trying to interject with “but…can you DO that,” to which I had to reply “YES, so SHUT UP.”  This is my script, and my story, and I will tell it how it needs to be told, regardless of whether my methods are conventional or not.

By the end, I finally gave face…if not a name…to the thing that I’d been hinting at about my characters for the previous 15 pages.  That, most of all, was a high point of my writing day.

Well, that and the fact that I’ve officially exceeded my min page count for part one.  HUZZAH.

Yes, that’s right.  I did not 3.5, not 5.25, but 10 pages today. 10.  Though I probably have roughly that left before I can happily move on to the middle act, as it were, this is not something to sneeze at.  At least, not for me, who is a writer of short stories and is constantly being told “GO BIGGER.”  I honestly think I have my surprisingly unproductive day yesterday to thank for this, as I have referenced my little blueprints countless times in these past 3hrs 8 minutes

So, I can happily call it a day with a “Job Well Done, M’Lady,” and drink a cup of Victory Tea (Well, English Breakfast, but who’s keeping track).

Screenwriting: Unexpected Roadblocks are Unexpected

I hit my first roadblock today, which was…not exactly a welcome thing, but turned out to be a blessing in disguise.  As I went to sit down and write my next scene (the one leading up to the end of part one), I realized that I had written myself into a corner when I’d chosen to use an old Victorian house as my sanatorium.  So, instead of using my time to write, I sat down and researched sanatoriums…and both colonial and Victorian houses.  Finally, after nearly an hour, I found a layout which I could adapt to suit my purposes.

I spent the next hour painfully looking at the schematics for a tall, multi-level Victorian house, and restructuring it so that I could work for what I needed it to.  This meant a lot of slow sketching, and a lot of frustrated erasing.  I ended by doing a bird’s eye sketch of the landscape in question, so that I would have everything I need the next time I sit down to write (tomorrow).

The lesson from all this, for me, at least, is that roadblocks are huge pains in the ass, but can be very, very necessary.  Honestly, I am not sure I would have been able to bring part one to a strong close if I had tried to write without having a visual to reference.

So, though I would have preferred to finish the first part of this SUCKAH today, I am kind of glad I ran into the Victor Von Doom of stumbling blocks.  This is going to make my life so, so, sooo much easier.


Screenwriting: Fear Less, Create More

As I sit back and write my script, I often have to stop myself and say “It’s OK, what you’re doing…this ‘taking time,’ thing.”  With so many movies rushing, rushing, rushing to get to the point and hurdle jumping the things that matter, it’s easy to forget that a good movie lets you sink into the characters’ story.  Yes, I’m going on page 16 with my protagonists not yet out of their childhood, but what I’m doing is important, and building towards something bigger.

I just have to trust myself to know that what I’m doing is necessary, and I have to trust my audience to be willing and able to follow my protagonists on this necessary journey.  The end will be worth the wait.

What it comes down to, I’m finding, is essentially: Fear Less, Create More.

…Give myself plenty to work with…lots of story, and nuance, and emotion…and damn the torpedoes.

So, that’s what I’m doing.  So what if I’m on page 16 of my roughly 25 page (maybe more?) first act.  I have at least 50 more pages to really go into their characters as adults, so shut the hell up, brain, and stop your fussing.


Screenwriting: Behind the Scenes

Though I did not get any more pages of my script powered out, I did enough of the initial background work that it should be much easier to get out more than my minimum limit tomorrow.  Just the act of writing down those little details, and drawing out scenes, and finding pictures of places I have in mind is helping me develop the story in a way that will make make the transition from idea to reality that much easier.

Honestly, having a background in writing (I write a lot of short stories) and theater (I was a theater geek growing up) has helped a lot.  It is my belief that a writer, whether of novels, or plays, or radio productions, etc, needs to have at least an understanding of drama in order to be able to get inside a character’s head.  The reverse is true for an actor…you must be able to think like a writer.  In both cases, if you cannot get inside the heads of your character, you are going to fail to bring them to life.

So, I’ve tried approaching my character profiles like a story or a play, broken down into outline form.  It makes it easier to approach the material as both the actor (finding out the whys of the nervous tics, pet peeves, etc) and the writer (delve into the nitty gritty details of the world that makes it real).  So far, it’s been helping a lot.  Though I have not written, per se, I have enough to go on that I can.

Alas, as I mentioned in my earlier post, I have the real world things, like homework, to do.