Tag Archives: creative writing

INT. OFFICE – EVENING

Our weary screenwriter sits at her L-shaped desk, her ever faithful cat, Bones, curled up on the floor near her. She opens up her laptop and starts up her MovieMagic screenwriting program.

She skims, only for a few seconds, the previous pages she’s written. Satisfied that she’s caught up, she cracks her knuckles, places her fingers on the keyboard like a pianist ready for rehearsal to start, and tap tap taps away.

Two pages later, she realizes – the opening is too long.

She pushes back from her laptop and leans back in her chair, stares at the last things she’s written, and decides…she must blog about it.

FADE OUT

Listen, we all know that writing is rewriting. I’m also aware that it’s probably not the best idea ever to rewrite as I go along. The more I look at this screenplay the more I realize…this opening doesn’t work. It just doesn’t. It’s taking way too long to get to the story. I’m at page 10, and I should be at the moment THE BIG THING happens that brings us into the premise.

I really have to decide at this moment. Scrap it and start over? Create a better outline? Or, do I keep going along and do what I’m supposed to do later which would be rewrite it to fix things?

 

 

 

 

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Casting…

Sometimes it seems as though roles taken on by actors were made especially for them. Marlon Brando in The Godfather, Robert De Niro in Taxi Driver, Geena Davis in Thelma and Louise, Meryl Streep in The Devil Wears Prada, etc. etc. etc.

When I’m writing, it helps to imagine who I would cast in the roles of my screenplay. I don’t have any knowledge of the above actors being thought of by the screenwriter when the ideas came forth (The Godfather was a book, so I doubt it there. I don’t have enough off-hand knowledge of the others at this point in time to know otherwise).

I’m currently working on an LGBTQ rom-com. A story that’s been in my mind for quite some time (I’m pretty sure if we go to the way-back machine on this blog of mine you could find somewhere else I’ve spoken about it). What’s been incredibly helpful is casting it in my mind. Not every single character, mind you. Just the ones that are driving the A story and the B story.

The funny thing is, my main character for the B story stands out more vivid in my mind and it is going to help me so much in developing this characters voice and style within the story. I can only hope that one day I could have this person star in the future movie that I’m writing! I know I’ll never utter a word about who I’d want in the roles if and when I ever get the chance to pitch this script.

I can share these choices with you.

The leads:

A Story – Samira Wiley and Ellen Page

B Story – Kristen Wiig and Shiloh Fernandez

I have pictures of them saved in a folder that’s titled after this script. This way I can reference them from time to time to really fully imagine them. Wiig’s character is the one giving me the most as I can easily picture the character and her mannerisms in Wiig’s skin.

I could also easily see Wiig’s character running away with the story. So much so, that I’ve thought of re-working the original premise slightly to fit that character’s story. I’m just not so sure it’s 100% a great idea to that.

So, I’m going to plug away with the version in my head that is aching to get out!

 

 

 

INT. OFFICE – MORNING…NIGHT…AFTERNOON?

I always see little blurbs about writing habits. Habits like getting up early to write before the day really starts or staying up late, etc. I hear stories about successful scripts being written during breaks at work and I think… WHY can’t that be me?

I’ll tell you why. The one big thing holding me back. Well, maybe more than one thing.

I don’t have a habit. I don’t have discipline. That’s what 2017’s theme for me should be. DISCIPLINE. I need to be disciplined. I need to create a habit. I need to set aside a non-negotiable time to write. Perhaps even a daily non-negotiable set of pages that must be completed before I can say, “It’s time for bed.”

I need to look at writing this script as a part-time job. I have time to write…I’m just not utilizing it. I used to work a full-time gig, a part-time gig, and work on getting my degree online. I no longer work that part-time gig. I definitely have time. Soooooooo?

Here’s to committing to getting up at 7am and not hitting snooze. Here’s to firing up the keurig while I’m starting up the laptop by 7:03am. Here’s to sitting down in the beautiful office my fiancee helped make a reality by 7:05am. Here’s to writing the first pages of my new script starting tomorrow.

2017 – The Year of Committing to Disciplined Habits (if that makes any sense!)

 

Writer’s Block

Ahhhhh, writer’s block. We’ve all been there and experienced that dreadful stall in our minds. It’s that feeling that you want to create and write and put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard) but something stops you. It’s as if some invisible force, some wall, has come between you and the creative force you know you are! You stare, mindlessly, waiting for the wall to break…for those words to flow. Ten minutes passes. Nothing.

Twenty minutes passes and you find yourself surfing the internet. Hoping for some sort of piece of information to come across your e-travels to grease the wheels. Still nothing. Frustrated, you close your laptop (or cap your pen), and walk away…another wasted opportunity to knock some pages out.

It’s time we start looking at writer’s block in a different way. It’s not, at least for me, a LACK of ideas. It’s too many floating around in my mind. These ideas, these little fragments of scenes and characters and snippets of dialogue (some from the same script, others are new ideas who decided to try and rise to the top), swirl and swirl and eventually they block the pipe from my brain to the paper (or keyboard).

How can we make that work for us? How do we clear out our minds so that the flow can start back up again? If there’s a block in anything in our lives, then we usually have to find what’s blocking it and remove it. Right? Why aren’t we doing the same thing with writing?

Perhaps we start by picking out each of those ideas that are blocking our flow, one by one, and exploring them briefly. Did that first idea you filtered out start up the flow again? No? Filter out the next piece and work with that. How’s the flow now? A bit better but not a free flow yet? Keep going! Filter out every piece of information until eventually you’ve opened up that pipe again!

Eventually you’ll clean out enough of those blocks that the useful ideas will start to (hopefully) flow again from that creativity pipe in your mind.

So, find what’s blocking you and get it out. That way you can get to the good stuff that’s been pushed to the back,  just waiting to flow out and into the world you’ve created in your screenplay.

I DID IT!!!


I’m a little late to share this news. I found out Friday night while celebrating my nephew’s sixth birthday that I am one of the three winners of the 2015 VirginiaScreenwriting Competition.

This is one of those things that you didn’t realize you really wanted it until you actually got it.

I needed this because somewhere along the line I lost that belief in myself that I could write something worth filming. Though it is a small competition it is still a good barometer of sorts that I can write a great story. I can compete with my peers and I can see that when stacks against them…I can hold my own as a writer.

While On The Plane To New Orleans…

new script

I had an idea creep up on me. I lowered that plastic tray off the back of the seat in front of me, pulled out my notebook and pen, and began writing. I hand wrote only a few scenes but really may have stumbled upon a good story. The story came to me while listening to a Lucinda Williams song called “Get Right With God.”

I’m not a religious person, far from it. Perhaps that’s why the scene came to me and is severely so far from getting right from God that a character could get. Opening scene is a character living in a desolate area, obviously not having a pot to piss in so to speak, who is confronted by his past in the form of a pistol at the back of his head. We know not what he has done, we know not of what the person holding the pistol is there for exactly…but I can see this scene so clearly in my head playing with this song kicking off the opening credits after the short open.

I’m piecing together my handwritten story now and I’ll transfer it soon to MM and post it here. Maybe I’ll get lucky and get a comment on the style and the story and see if this thing could have legs.