Monday, February 28, 2011

This __________ is killing me.

So, I did my final rewrites to my screenplay, BRUTAL, on Friday February 25.  I then submitted it to four screenplay contests including the Nicholl Fellowship.  You can never tell what will happen with these contests and the judging is very subjective, but I hope to at least place in one or two of them.  Finishing was fantastic, but getting there was, not to be cheesy, brutal. 

BRUTAL went through nine drafts and was critiqued by several friends and fellow writers.  It started as a twist on a horror movie and ended up a thriller.  The first drafts had to do with a local urban legend, The Bunnyman.  I spent hours researching The Bunnyman and coming up with scenarios that would allow the legend to infiltrate the movie without him ever making an appearance.  By draft six, The Bunnyman concept had been completely eliminated from the script.  I had an entire motif of illegal campers (80% of the movie takes place in a camping area) that I hacked out by draft seven and the last two drafts were spent trying to solidify the relationships of the characters and making the eventual murders realistically motivated but still completely avoidable.  All in all, this took four months to accomplish.

By the time BRUTAL was done and solidified (I don't know if it was really done, but it was where I had to stop), I had read it so many times that it almost didn't make sense to me anymore.  Not only did I write nine drafts and edit them all, I wrote at least four plot out lines and several character journals not to mention all my lists I write before I even start plotting.  

Every time I write a large scale piece, I comment on it in my journal.  The comments, or the majority of them, are almost always the same:  "This _________ is killing me."  The "__________" should be filled in with "play" or "screenplay" or the title of the piece I'm working on.  Each and every long form piece I write is a terrible challenge in some way and I have to wrestle with it for some time.  I haven't literally lost years of my life and I'm sure my premature gray hairs have more to do with genetics than with banging my head against my keyboard but I still think "This ___________ is killing me" is the best way to sum up the overall experience I have with writing.

I'm not whining.  I love writing.  Even if it is killing me.  It's just funny to me that after five plays and three screenplays, I still haven't found a smooth way to painlessly unleash the story.  Instead, I grapple with it, play with it, and get to know my characters and plots better with every passing draft.  Instead of a death by a thousand paper cuts, mine will be a death by a thousand drafts.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Creating a Website

So, I've been told that writers need to have an online presence.  I guess the real world just isn't enough anymore.  Though I really don't have a lot to say, I've given in to pressure and got myself a website and a blog.  I guess I'll just write about what I'm writing about and become extremely obsessive over my life. 


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