May 16, 2013
Slogging away on Offplanet (just a working title), 43,000-ish words in and wow am I tired of working on this dog. The outline is turning into prose well enough, but all I’m seeing is flaws and all I can think of is how much turning it into a second draft is going to hurt.
I keep telling myself it’s okay to hate this first draft because it isn’t any good because it’s not supposed to be. First drafts are supposed to suck. That’s the point of drafts.
Your first draft has weak characters, is all tell and no show and doesn’t make clear why anything is happening? Congratulations! You made something! Now you get to make it better!
Sigh. That’s what I tell myself. It doesn’t really make pounding on that keyboard any easier, tho.
April 5, 2013
I finished screen carding a screenplay project that’s a fairly new idea. Like a lot of my ideas it’s based on where a “real” story went wrong and what I’d have done differently. So it’s ready to start the first draft, but I’m still working on the second draft of Finding Destiny. So what do I do? I shelve the cards and I start developing my next-next screenplay project. I have two set times during each day when I write. Mornings are for prose, evenings are for screenplays. The various bits of downtime during the day I either catch up on RSS or I bash away at ideas until they turn into something. And one of them did, so while I’m waiting for these scene cards time at bat, I’m brainstorming a new thing. Always be writing.
Unless something just doesn’t work out. I’ve recently determined the War Geeks isn’t going to work out. A war comedy is a tough sell to begin with, it’s what studios refer to euphemistically as execution dependent, and I’m just not a comedy writer anyway. So, maybe some day. But I’m not betting on it.
And a hearty WTG to Maximum Z, who got his bad self a manager!
January 17, 2013
Best day working on Project 8 yet. But I wonder how I ended up working on a story that required knowledge of color palettes. I now know what a deep autumn (cool) is. But not very well, fortunately there’s Delicious (although they’ve horribly mangled it recently, seems to be a them of otherwise useful websites lately) to provide a bookmark wherever I go.
I suppose it’s that the information is just there on the Internet. Why not wonder what color shirt your heroine should be wearing? Google’s RIGHT THERE!
October 28, 2012
That time between drafts, or almost drafts.
Project 8 outlining is complete. Now I’m, shit am I really about to say this? I’m revising the outline. As I worked I’d decide a thing needed to happen and that I’d have to go back and set that up. Instead of breaking up my flow I’d just make a note and plow on. So now I’m going back and inserting those bits, setting up some payoffs, pruning deus ex machinas into logical story points and researching a few things that felt thin once they made the leap from my head to the screen.
I’ve also been working on, Jesuchristo, Project 11, which is a screenplay. I’ve got a draft finished and all I see is problems. Which is what first drafts are for but I also outlined and beat sheeted and stuff before I wrote said first draft. Still, it was my first attempt at doing that kind of thing so it’s not surprising that I didn’t quite get deep enough. Still, the flaws I’m seeing aren’t plot based. So that’s okay.
The inventory I mentioned earlier has been restarted three times but I think I’ve got a handle on it. I realized sometime after that post I’d missed a bunch of stuff, there’s over 350 entries in that mess. It’s daunting but I don’t want hot, new ideas to push out older ones that have been creatively germinating and are ready to go.
July 10, 2012
Based on a nugget of advice from an actual published author I’m not just bulling headlong into Project 8. I outlined it which proved to be tremendously helpful to working out the flow of the story and its parts. To accomplish this I made use of Bean for OSX‘s numbered list feature (which works pretty much like Word’s) and its ability to move entries up and down with the clicks of keys.
I’m following up by creating what’s called in screenwriting a beat sheet and even only four scenes in I’ve realized that I need to monkey with the flow further and probably need to add a scene. Which is good, I was figuring each beat would be about a thousand words but when I compared it to the writing I’d already done they were running from 300 to 500 words.
I tried outlining Space Heist but all that did was illustrate how overly ambitious that multiple POV nightmare was for my writing skill/style. Project 8′s outline revealed the balance between the different things the protagonists need to do, which is why scenes are jumping around a bit, but nothing’s coming across as unmanageable. Relief!
June 12, 2012
Just finished the first pass at the outline for my next project. I’ve tried to outline before, but the story I was working on was too complex, far beyond my current plotting skills.
This outline is made up of points in each story thread. My next step is either to flesh out the points or, more likely, integrate the threads. Certain points are dependent on points in other threads, so developing them before putting them in order is probably a bad
I’m also experimenting using an explicit act structure, incorporating what I learned from Lennon and Garant. My prior manuscript outings were a little mushy in the story development area. Hopefully as I get better at that I won’t need to be so draconian about it.
L&G also tell us that writing is easy, outlining is hard. We’ll see how that goes. I definitely hit some spots in this rough outline that would have been disheartening in a first draft.
April 29, 2012
I had a note on my iPhone called Notes, Hooks and Ideas where I’d write down anything that occurred to me about things I hadn’t started yet. I always skipped to the bottom to add new things and I realized that the note was getting pretty long, so I went through it. Along with the writing folder on my computer and Dropbox, not to mention the greatly neglected Projects page on this very blog.
10 Bits (a “bit of business”, a scene, a dialogue, whatever)
2 Characters (mostly people I saw out and about or on the bus)
53 Hooks (story ideas)
23 Ideas (setting ideas)
14 Notes (notes about a setting)
I also found 4 Manuscripts (one finished, one being outlined, one percolating, one abandoned), 6 screenplays (one complete, one almost complete, one in treatment form and the rest unauthorized adaptations I pick at when I’m bored) and 2 short stories (both finished).
I was happy to see I had more, many more “hooks” than “ideas” because I’ve always felt like I’m better at thinking up settings than stories. If one could make a living writing fictional encyclopedias I’d be a rich man. These hooks are everything from bare seeds to almost ready to start. But I’m almost ready to submit War Geeks (just needs a final proof reading) and I know what my next project will be.
I better go update my projects page now.
April 9, 2012
It’s not really my first draft I suppose. Taking the advise from Messrs. Lennon & Garant I wrote my plot points first, the intro, the next bit (you’ll have to buy the book to get that info), and so on. I suppose that’s the real first draft but I refer to it as my skeleton draft. This is the first draft because the story is complete.
It’s too short, the plot points are way off their page count targets, the climax needs a LOT of punching up, the denouement is just what I had in the outline and I think I’ve fallen into my trap of not having a clearly defined antagonist. But hey, neither did Black Hawk Down.
I’ve got 22 days to . Best get cracking.
Anyone wanna look at a screenplay?
December 29, 2011
There’s clearly a link on this page that anyone with web access can use to yell at me for not posting here regularly. I blame you, reader. Clearly this is your fault.
So I (sigh) shelved Space Heist. Moving on.
I’m working on something else. I’m going to return to my prior practice of not talking about writing projects. I need to take down that word count bar.
In other news the Nicholl Fellowship is coming up (and the picture of last years foo’z who aren’t me is suspiciously stocked with attractive folks) and I had been planning to tackle a Page One rewrite of The Ugly Life. It only took me a few weeks to figure out what the “write script” reminder on iCal for a solid month was referring to, go me. But after buying an ebook of Writing Movies for
Fun and Profit I decided to pimp something more conventional. So I’m moving on to War Geeks, which came with a nice tag line that lended itself to an easy elevator pitch. Unlike my man against himself story about two guys who start off the movie sucking at their jobs and attempting statch (inadvertantly, of course) whilst extremely intoxicated. Yeah, that’s an indie.
But I’m not sure when I can find time to create both a first draft manuscript and, well at this stage scene cards. I’m again dissatisfied with the logistics of my writing. Shocking, no? The GF suggested I get a small office for writing, which would be a whole lot less expensive than I’d anticipated. Alas there’s this irritating credit card debt (stupid dental work!) between me and that.
October 3, 2011
I was paralyzed with indecision all of last week. I was suddenly afraid that the direction I’d taken my core thread of Space Heist was all wrong. I thought I’d come at it too straight, that I’d forced the character into a situation that would work better if I pushed them toward it but let the POV finish the job.
I might have a point, that character is pretty reactive. But as of this morning I’m over 12,000 words into it and I’m loathe to ditch all that in the first draft and start over AGAIN. So I’m gonna finish what I’ve got and consider the new angle later.