writing scripts is hard!
i didn't really expect it to be not hard, but maybe i hoped a little. writing, all writing, is a difficult and self-conscious process for me. and i just want it to not be those things. some writers say you know you're a writer when you just have
to write, which i think is bullshit. it's what i most want to do, has been for most of my life and the only thing i think will make me feel like i'm doing what i'm supposed to do. but i often don't
even though it makes me unhappy not to. instead i sit around and think about how much i suck.
but that's not the only thing tripping me up right now. there's also formatting. i've given myself a bit of a crash course in formatting, so i think i understand the basics. but the way i've come to think of it is like this: i grew up reading books, so that by the time i started writing my own stories i had an understanding acquired mostly through osmosis of the form and structure (not to mention spelling, vocabulary, grammar and syntax, though those are less relevant here). any trolling around at ff.net can inform someone that these two things don't necessarily go hand-in-hand (i'm not saying that i was immediately a master of the craft; it's simply that i knew how to use the tools even if i couldn't yet build something stable and beautiful with them), but i paid attention and, for me, by the time i began writing, it came naturally enough that i didn't have to fixate on that aspect and could just get better at telling stories and finding my voice. i'm at the point where i know the rules, and therefore am able to break them effectively.
i don't have that benefit with scripts. i've read very few in my life, so i don't have any intuitive understanding of them that i can apply to my own writing.
the obvious solution to this is to 1) read more scripts, as many as i can get my hands on, and 2) just keep
writing. but it's still super frustrating right now, because i suspect that the quality of what i'm writing is in the realm of the ff.net of scripts, something that'll eventually make me look back and cringe, and i don't know how to avoid or fix that.
so, i signed up to do script frenzy
this month. i am way behind on the necessary page count at this point, so i doubt i will be able to win. i'm okay with this, in a way. i was originally going to write a two-hour spec pilot (an original pilot script) but decided that on top of the other issues i'm having, creating my own characters and plot and tone were extra hurdles, so after eventually
managing one page i decided to switch to a general spec script*. so now i'm attempting to write a supernatural
spec. scripts for hour-long shows usually run ~50-60 pages, so that automatically stopped me short of the required page count for screnzy. that's fine in theory because i would still have a complete script, which is an accomplishment on its own and i think finishing something would fill me with a giddy, untarnishable joy. in actuality my page count is still very low, i've only been able to find one supernatural script online (which very much exacerbates the formatting issues, considering that specs take it even further and require that you follow the particular
formatting of your show as closely as possible), and it's discouraging going on the screnzy forums and seeing people already past the 100-page count.
i feel like this is something i could be good at. i get excited thinking about it. my husband is very supportive of the idea and has been encouraging and amazing, basically. he's read and discussed jane espenson's blog with me (she focuses on advice for spec writers); he engages with me when i have thoughts i want to talk about, or worries; he's even started pausing episodes of shows we're watching if he thinks the writer did something interesting. but i guess i had a preconceived notion that i would hit the ground running, and instead i'm kind of slogging along and feeling anxious like i always do and procrastinating or just suffering from blank page syndrome.
nevertheless, my goal at the moment is to have something ready in time to apply for the disney | abc television writing fellowship
. i am under absolutely no illusion that i will actually get it (not to mention that i really don't want to live apart from my husband for that long) but i figure that there's a process to all of this, and i want to get started now so i will feel that i am working towards something. i am living off of unemployment right now and using the opportunity to write. when i eventually have to get another menial job that i hate to pay the bills, it will be nice and possibly prevent my soul from dying inside to know that i have done this.* spec scripts are written by hopeful television writers and are basically episodes of currently airing shows. agents and showrunners read these and hire based on specs.