I’ve been rather neglectful of my poor little blog here this month. Truth be told, my life sort of exploded the first week of March. (Yes, that’s a bit dramatic. But I’m a screenwriter. What do you expect?) And I haven’t had too many movies to recap despite my two-week absence. And until nine days ago, I didn’t have much to tell by way of my own writing either.
I still don’t have much to tell, but there is this. Nine days ago, I allowed myself to stop slogging through a story I just couldn’t wrap my heart around. And nine days ago, I picked back up a story I used to love but knew needed a huge amount of work, starting at page 1.
I spent the first few days rewriting the set-up completely (a few times). I was sort of approaching the rewrite with what I shall henceforth call The Spaghetti Method, meaning, throw stuff at the page and see what sticks. Eventually, I recaptured the tone I was going for, found my theme, and was able to move on past those first 10 pages. Tonight, nine days after starting, I’m 43 pages in. And it feels AWESOME.
I haven’t felt this sort of fire since I finished MUTE, and I was beginning to fear I’d never feel it again. Turns out I just needed to get back to the stories and, most importantly, the characters I loved so much. So, despite the fact that I haven’t accomplished much (compared to last year anyway) since November, I have learned an important lesson about what grabs me as a writer. It’s characters. Premises and concepts are great, but if I can’t attach a character I adore, then I have an extremely difficult time telling the story.
I know I can churn out a draft if I have to (see TEA, for example, which has gone through 2.5 major drafts to date), and I think that’s an important skill to have as well. But one of the benefits of being an aspiring screenwriter and not an assignment screenwriter is that I get to focus all my time and energy on projects and characters I do love. (How’s that for glass-half-full thinking, huh?) So that’s what I’m doing.
I’ve got 13 days to finish this page-one rewrite of THE AFFAIR OF MONSIEUR VALENTINE, and then it’s off to the races for ScriptFrenzy. I’ve got a premise I think is fun for Screnzy, and I’m planning on doing some development here soon that’ll hopefully give me a chance to fall in love with the characters as well. If that doesn’t happen, I’ll still finish it because it’s Screnzy and that’s what I do. Either way, it’ll be a great learning experience because I’m trying my hand at writing a stage musical. That’s right. You heard it here first.
It’s late and I’m starting to ramble, so I’m going to cut it off here. I’ll try not to disappear for another 16 days, just in case someone out there missed me. 🙂