So I’ve gone and ruined my June by signing up for Script Frenzy, a month-long dash from the people who brought you NaNoWriMo. The difference here is that the wordcount is significantly less (20,000) but of course this time it’s not padded, prolix prose we’re all attempting, it’s cut and cleaned movie/stage scripts.
I have no idea why I sign up for these. Perhaps the hallowed memories of ferverishly spending the better part of three days typing non-stop back in Two-Thousand-freaking-One have given me an itch that must be scratched every tme Chris Baty drops me an email (quite what I did to resist it in 2004 I’ll never know). Perhaps it’s so that, should the world come to an end the month after next, well, at least I can say I finished one project I took up.
Either way, I’m in, and I have no idea what I’m going to write. There are tons — quite literally dozens and possibly over a hundred — little notes in my books marked with the code ‘MOV’ that can be turned into scripts. I could also just go in blind as I have done with NaNoWriMo in the past. I’m weighing whether or not I should just pick the biggest, most epicest story I’ve ever come up with. Something else tells me I should aim low — this is my first script — and I should choose somethings small and intimate.
20K seems like a much more accessible goal, but the fact remains that a script and a novel are very different beasts. The one time I’ve attempted to write a script (for a 27 minute sitcom format show) it’s taken a good three days (or around one full day’s worth of hours) to end up with a first draft of around 4,000 words, that too with a partner. Of course, a feature is not constrained by having to squeeze everything into seven minute segments. I really don’t give two hoots about three act structure and Hollywood script norms, so I don’t need to worry too much about it (since nobody’s really going to see the product of this June’s endeavour).
I know I sound like a broken record. This is pretty-much the same post I’ve made every October for the last five years. It seems that I’ve been “getting back into writing” (6 years) longer than I was actively writing in the first place (3 years).
There is, of course, the site, which I also consider writing. It’s imporant for me to be able to not just write fiction. On the other hand the only way I can hypnotise myself into being able to write non-fiction — even in a journal post like this — is to somehow imagine it as fiction. You won’t believe the amount of stuff that gets cut out because it’s me trying to get rid of a talking head. You don’t need to know when I lean back and gesture with the first three fingers of my right hand, because it’s a freaking blog post. I still don’t know why I even stopped calling this a blog… something to do with a technical difference in the backend of the site, I think, plus my sudden need to think of myself as a Writer again.
Two months ago a friend of mine, Jamie, asked — well, demanded — that I write a story that is actually, you know, complete. Being the hot stuff that I am I said, “Sure, I’ll have it done in a week, tell me what you want.” So he did.
I’m currently writing a Savant story — first time in years (no, I’m not counting all the aborted NaNovels) — and it’s got underwater cities and action and cool stuff (as per Jamie’s request). I’m around a 1/3rd of the way through, I think. He has exams starting in around a week’s time, and I have finally started to like what I’m writing, so it’s somewhere around the 8K mark with a possible completion date of this weekend. There are lots and lots of holes in it, but I’m enjoying it now and then.
Over dinner with some friends today the topic of drawing glass objects came up, and how it worked out best when you switched off your mind and just did it. Suddenly you switched back on and a half hour had passed, with you going, “Did I just draw that?”
Believe it or not, it’s the same way with writing. It should be that writing especially would require a person to be aware, pushing that left brain around to form words and sentences that make sense, but it isn’t. I can tell you from firsthand experience that every time I have written something I’m happy with — something good — I have never recalled the process or the time spent.
Switch Off. Switch On. Two thousand words of pure magic in 10pt Verdana, and a satisying ache in the wire of your spine.
Can’t beat that feeling.
And that is why I’m looking forward to June.