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[personal profile] jeeps
"Literature, like magic, has always been about the handling of secrets, about the pain, the destruction, and the marvelous liberation that can result when they are revealed. Telling the truth when the truth matters most is almost always a frightening prospect. If a writer doesn't give away secrets, his own or those of the people he loves; if she doesn't court disapproval, reproach, and general wrath, whether of friends, family, or party apparatchiks; if the writer submits his work to an internal censor long before anyone else can get their hands on it, the result is pallid, inanimate, a lump of earth."
— Michael Chabon, "The Recipe for Life"

"When you make music or write or create, it's really your job to have mind-blowing, irresponsible, condomless sex with whatever idea it is you're writing about at the time."
— Lady GaGa

"All good books are alike in that they are truer than if they had really happened and after you are finished reading one you will feel that all that happened to you and afterwards it all belongs to you: the good and the bad, the ecstasy, the remorse and sorrow, the people and the places and how the weather was."
— Ernest Hemingway

"If the muse comes to your bedside, don't tell her you'll fuck her later."
— Allen Ginsberg

"I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain."
— Frank Herbert, Dune

"Write it. Shoot it. Publish it. Crochet it, sauté it, whatever. MAKE."
— Joss Whedon

"A writer is a person for whom writing is more difficult than it is for other people."
— Thomas Mann

"Don't say you don't have enough time. You have exactly the same number of hours per day that were given to Helen Keller, Pasteur, Michaelangelo, Mother Teresa, Leonardo da Vinci, Thomas Jefferson, and Albert Einstein."
— H. Jackson Browne
jeeps: (Default)
[personal profile] jeeps
so this is sort of a goal... post... not a goalpost. a post about goals. for the posterity and eventual (hopeful) execution of goals.

I'm currently about three-quarters of the way through Writing the TV Drama Series (second edition) by Pamela Douglas, which is seriously fucking fantastic, okay. it's probably the next best thing to actually taking a screenwriting course, and then only if the instructor really knows what the hell they're talking about. it's kickstarted me a bit, now that I have a job. you would think it wise to take advantage of one's unemployment to write, but that really only works if you don't need to be employed, otherwise you feel too guilty for not putting your share of bread on the table and farting around with your ~craft~ instead (obviously this is not necessarily true if the only person who depends on you is you).

I work 25 hours a week, so what I want to do, once the holidays are over, is make that 40 hours with the time I spend writing included, which will mean three hours of writing when I get home from work (and incidentally have the house to myself). I've committed (& told my husband I've committed, so I can't waffle and back out and never get anything done) to writing a spec for White Collar. I also want to have a solid idea (meaning a very basic outline) for it by the end of the month. then I can move on to the next step after the new year. basically, I'm telling you guys as a backup for my husband, so I'll feel doubly guilty if I waffle and slack my way out of it.

I was just looking through my previous entries and I talked a bit about White Collar here -- I'm much more excited about speccing this show now that it's had a second season and the supporting cast has gotten stronger. I was thrilled when they brought back Diana; her dynamic with Peter is wonderful and she has her own distinctive voice, which the other agents just did not.
jeeps: (merlin ♡ [no kwds #1])
[personal profile] jeeps
the way i generally approach prose is to write a sentence and then see what happens. it has served me well. i know prose writers usually have a preferred approach to writing fiction of length; they either wing it like i do, or they outline. the longest thing i've ever written was 30k words, which i winged and was quite happy with, though i didn't finish it. i suspect that if i had ever finished something novel-length, i would have done it without the aid of an outline.

it turns out i may need to, um, write an outline. for my script. i am making a :"> face because everything i've read on the topic by experienced scriptwriters has said, as opposed to professional authors, you must must MUST write an outline. i did not want to be presumptuous! i accept their expertise! but i thought, ew. perhaps... i will just try it, to start out, without an outline! just to see how it goes. i'm sure these people are right. and that being the case, being empirically proven wrong will make me more comfortable with the idea. all while in my heart of hearts hoping i would manage it without one.

yeah, turns out they're right. possibly in the future, when i have a lot more writing under my belt, i will be able to have a very clear vision of something and simply translate it from my head to the script. but as it is, television requires a ton of structure. the number of pages has to be within a certain range; the number of pages within each act has to be within another range, depending on which act it is; each act has a certain structure within the act, particularly act breaks which are meant to end on a suspenseful note (to get viewers to wait through the commercials); and you have your A story and B story running throughout the script.

at the moment i just don't have a clear vision, at all. in fact, i started writing without even having completely settled on what i wanted the plot to be, so now (after a teaser and the first act) i have a few scenes that don't jive with each other because i'd moved from one idea to the next and back again. it hasn't been a huge problem so far because they're easy fixes that will just require little tweaks for it all to make sense. but i've also been writing the portion of the script that's a little more about subterfuge and creating the mystery (which i think i've always been able to do well, even if i have nothing to back it up -- i have that in common with lost), and from here on out it will be about unraveling it -- and i need to have something solid to unravel. i just know that if i try to move forward without a clear understanding of what's going on in each scene i'm going to completely lose any sense of the script. i've also been getting steadily less productive and less happy when i do make progress because i'm slogging through it and not looking forward to figuring out What's Going to Happen.

i don't relish the idea of outlining either. but! i figure plot is my weakest area right now (well, besides formatting) since it's honestly not a skill i've ever focused on developing. it's kind of the tedious part for me. if i can get the plot "out of the way" i can better focus on the stuff i love about writing, which is the characters and their interactions with each other. and anyway, outlines are pretty much nonnegotiable in the pro world (they're reviewed and discussed and corrected before they ever even get turned into a script), so if i want to do that i need to get used to the buggers.

i kept looking at my icon as i wrote this post and thinking i would totally write a merlin spec if it weren't a british show. so many procedurals, not enough fantasy!
jeeps: (wc ♡ [no kwds #1])
[personal profile] jeeps
Screenwriting Tip #260: If this character never gets to say or do anything cool or interesting, why the hell would an actor want to play this part?

i was thinking along these lines tonight while watching white collar (a show i'd like to eventually spec) — while i adore the main cast (neal, peter and elizabeth), the other fbi agents couldn't have blander roles. you can practically see them doing the best with what they're given, but the fact is there could be different actors saying those lines every week and they wouldn't have to change a word. their one-shot characters get more development than these guys. it's boring for the viewer and it always pulls me out of the show because i'm feeling sorry for the actors.

today was a productive writing day! um, it helps to admit to myself that i cannot immediately be awesome at things i've never particularly focused on in the past. it makes it feel more natural to then work on those things instead of bemoaning my lack of immediate mastery and not being able to pull these things out of my ass.

i also came across the writers guild foundation library catalog today. AWESOME, OVER FORTY SUPERNATURAL SCRIPTS FROM THE FIRST THREE SEASONS that i have absolutely no way of getting a look at because i don't live in los angeles. boo.
jeeps: (art ♡ masochistic insides)
[personal profile] jeeps
wrote another couple pages. i'm not thrilled with them, but at least it's progress. i guess i was feeling pretty stuck on the first act. christian brainstormed with me for a while and i had a nice little cascade of ideas when one of his suggestions hit. then he made me sit down and actually write. tyrant.

i tend to think of myself as good with dialogue, but i'll probably do better with it in this particular medium when i get used to the idea of the entire work being mostly reliant on it. journal rp is obviously similarly reliant on telling a "story" through characters talking, but then it differs in that you have to handle both sides of the conversation. i want my dialogue to have that same dynamic possibility to it, where the characters talk to you and sometimes their responses aren't what you expect — they're better. i want to feel confident enough to dig deeper.



the other day i went to my local borders and checked out their books on screenwriting, of which they are not lacking. they were technically in reference but could have formed their own section, there were so many. despite this, there was not a single book specifically aimed at tv writers, so i left disappointingly empty-handed. then as i was reading along in jane espenson's blog she recommended crafty tv writing: thinking inside the box, and from there (ilu amazon) i found a bunch. so i bought four (4!) books on writing for television. they all have a different focus and were all really highly rated, so i couldn't choose between them! i will probably talk about each one here at some point, even if i don't end up doing official-like reviews.
jeeps: (spn ♡ [no kwds #1])
[personal profile] jeeps
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 swimming 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.
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