Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Back From... Easterwhile?

Back from my extended Easter weekend (my office takes off both Good Friday and Easter Monday as statutory, and therefore paid holidays, and I used a vacation day on Tuesday to be at home with the kids while Sarah, my partner, got through a day of carefully-scheduled appointments.)

Anyway, I wasn't blogging, but I was writing.

I was on target Sunday night - 500+ words - and finished the first draft of Creeping Murmur. It was quite a rush to finish something, something I'd kept working on for several days. It was another incrementalstone.

That said, I think I'll set it aside for now; I'm still working at the sit-down-and-write thing, and I'm not really in the headspace to edit or rewrite. I think, despite many, many problems and weak spots, that it does deserve at least a shot at a second draft. I like the characters and the sensibility.

And since Karol asked, I will go into the story in more detail later. For now, I'll just say that the title is from Shakespeare. First person to post a comment correctly identifying the play it's from will win my public congratulations in this forum, and the resulting adulation of your peers.

Monday and Tuesday were... interesting. In a good way. The writing was productive, but I'm starting to wonder what I've gotten myself into.

You see, on Monday I saw a movie. In a movie theatre. I had popcorn and everything.

It's been months since I did that. Last summer, or maybe it was last September. Sarah and I saw The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.

(Your collective condolences are noted.)

But on Monday, I saw a good movie. I saw Brick.

I recommend it highly, although not unreservedly. It's a very dark film - hey, it's a modern film noir set at a suburban California high school, so dark was pretty much a guarantee. But solid performances (it takes real talent and craft to pull off the stylized language and rhythm of film noir), solid direction and excellent writing.

The problem is, it inspired me.

I sat down on Monday night, not sure what I was going to write. Maybe a movie review? Maybe some automatic writing to empty out my accumulated subconscious detritus?

What came out was the beginning of a screenplay.

A screenplay is a bigger project than I was expecting to launch in these early innings. A feature film screenplay is expected to run at least 100 pages (because of the industry convention that one page of screenplay is equal to roughly one minute of screen time).

But I started on Monday, and banged out over 700 words (which, because of the formatting of a screenplay, was over four pages). I couldn't stop on Tuesday, and wrote another 700+ words, bringing the page count to nine-and-a-bit.

Now I'm about 10% done a feature film screenplay. The problem is, I wasn't planning for this. I don't have an outline, or character notes, or more than the vaguest sense of where the plot is going. But the main characters are bickering engagingly, and that energy is carrying me forward for now.

It is sometimes said that the heart of screenwriting is structure. It has also been said that this is a crock, that the heart is story, and that structure is best used later - in rewriting - to serve the strengths of the story.

Looks like I might be about to find out.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I really really wish I could remember whose advice this is -- some professional writer giving advice to us plebes, in any case -- but in response to the question of whether one should start with short stories as a kind of warm-up, she (I think!) said: if you have it in you to write Moby Dick, write Moby Dick!

You have to love it or you won't do it. It sounds like you found that, and the dam has burst wide. I say, if the passion is there, let it carry you, and damn your modest intentions.

(And experience tells me: this project will become hard work soon enough. Having that kernel of passion there, however, will help make that bearable.)