The Distance


I know. I haven’t been writing. Well, I have, just not my blog. I’m really good at excuses. Excuse #1- I need to be motivated to blog. This one is really lame. I think about writing something, decide I have nothing interesting to say, and that’s the end of that. Excuse #2- There are always more important things I think I should be doing. Like writing my screenplay. Or watching Brothers and Sisters.

Writers group has taken on an April Challenge. There’s a book called, “How to Write a Movie in 21 Days,” by Viki King. Lys started using it last month to write something and has gotten really far in her screenplay. So Dane decides to torture all of us with it. “Who wants to commit to writing a screenplay in 21 days?” We all raise our hands. Because we do want to do it even though it sounds like a terribly, terrifying experience. So we even give ourselves a little extra time with the entire month.

Until now, I’ve been working on my outline and character background and even just writing scenes here and there that come to me. But for the most part, it’s not much. And I keep getting frustrated. I write a scene about my main character and her sister. Fine. The next scene is about her Dad and his girlfriend. Well I don’t know how to write them. I don’t even know who they are. Sure, I have some history on them, but I have no idea how they are supposed to interact with each other and it actually be interesting. So I go back to my character background. Dane and I Skype once a week and he asks me a million questions to figure it out. “Was she married? Does she have any kids? What does she do?” I DON’T KNOW! I don’t care. Leave me alone.

So what this book does is force you to keep moving forward. For instance, I like my first scene. But I know it can be better. I know it needs more. I want to perfect it. Don’t! Move on to the next scene! Ugh, fine. This book is crazy. The 21 days isn’t even to write the first draft- it’s to write a final draft, so I’m supposed to write an entire 110pg. screenplay in seven days!!! Are you kidding me?! Then you go back and do rewrites and I’m not sure what else because I am certainly not that far yet.

The first day was rough. I had to write 10 pages. I suppose that doesn’t seem like that much, but after I write for a while I look up at the page number, thinking I’ve written seven pages. I’m on page two. It’s not fair. So it takes me an hour to two hours to get this much writing on the page. This is different than what I’m used to doing. Before, I’d sit at the computer with my fingers on the keyboard, imagining what words to write but not actually typing anything because none of my ideas are my best idea. They’re lame. They can be better. So I sit there staring at a blank page. Or Facebook.

Now I have to write. Just write. It can be bad. It doesn’t matter because I’m going to go back and rewrite it! But I have plenty of doubts. OK, fine, so I write this awful, stupid scene, and I know I’m going to rewrite it, but what if this scene leads to another awful scene (which it surely will) and when it’s all done I just want to throw the whole thing out? What then? What then, Viki King?

Fine, have it your way. I write my ten pages. There’s a lot of shaking my head and scoffing. Soon I’m just laughing at how dumb this is, but I keep writing. Day 2 I have work and afterwards only get done four pages. So on Day 3 I have to play catchup. I’m supposed to be on page 45 by the end of Day 3, which means I need to write 26 pages. Well, I do it. Three hours in the morning, a beach break, and three more hours in the evening. Page 45. I mean, this is not what I want my screenplay to be. I read some of it and it’s like one, big, fat cliche. But, there is a silver lining. It sucks. It’s awful. But it’s not as bad as I thought it would be for writing it in three days. So I guess I just have to suck it up and keep going.

Today is Day 4. I just sat down at the computer to write my next 15 pages, and the thought of it made me tired. So, I figured I’d write a blog about it first. Now that I’ve procrastinated (with something else that I’ve been procrastinating) I guess I should get to it. By the end of today, page 60. By Monday, a first draft!


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