Roll up for the My Writing Process Tour!

Sorry, no walruses involved
Step right this way! Sorry, no walruses involved

I’ve been invited to take part in The My Writing Process Tour, which is kind of a blog/chain letter thing. One blogger asks another to take part and answer some insightful questions, then link to writers/bloggers we’d recommend.

I was nominated by Henry Sheppard, aka Adelaide Screenwriter, from the Australian metropolis of Adelaide. He’s always offering up some fantastic material, including articles, interviews and shorts. Definitely worth checking out.

As for me…

1. What am I working on?

Three items currently hold my attention: revamping the outline of a pulpy adventure spec, the rewrite/polish of a Christmas-themed mystery-comedy and resuming the hunt for representation.

2. How does my work differ from all others of its genre?

Even though I’ve written in several genres, the one thing I always try to convey is a sense of fun and excitement. It takes a lot more effort than people realize to really engage a reader that way.

I want you to enjoy the story beyond just “this is good writing” and more like that amusement park thrill ride you rush to get back in line for as soon you get off.

3. Why do I write what I do?

My formative years were the late 70s/early 80s, so I had the benefit of being heavily influenced by the likes of STAR WARS, RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK and BACK TO THE FUTURE. To me, those are textbook examples of what smart storytelling should be, and it’s what I strive for in my own work.

I’ve stated before about being a fan of the genres I write, so not only am I trying to write something I’d want to see, but I try to create something I haven’t seen before.

4. How does your writing process work?

It all starts with an idea. Is there a story behind it? If so, what happens over the course of that story? How could I tell it in an original way?

Once I have a general idea about that story, including knowing how it starts and ends, I set up the plot points (statement of theme on page 3, inciting incident on page 10, etc), then fill in the gaps between them.

If it’s a genre-specific film, I try to incorporate elements that are part of that genre while trying to avoid tropes, or at least approach them from a different perspective.

I do a majority of my work in developing the outline, and it makes a huge difference. It gives me a better overview of the whole thing so it’s easier to keep track of character development, storylines, subplots, setups and payoffs. I won’t even consider starting on pages until I think the outline is solid.

Because of my schedule, I write when I can. When it comes to pages, I try to produce at least 3 a day. Sometimes it’s more. It’s gets easier the more you do it. They add up fast, and before you know it, you’ve got a completed draft to go back, edit and rewrite.

I’m also extremely fortunate to have several friends and trusted colleagues I can turn to for feedback. They pull no punches in telling me if something doesn’t work.

Lastly, I’ll rewrite and polish the script until I think it’s good to go.

Over there on your right is a list of blogs I think make for some excellent reading and advice. I’ve added three definitely worth checking out:

The Single Screenwriter by Christie LeBlanc

Writer of Fine Things by Evan Porter

The Screenwriting Process from James (don’t know his last name) in the UK

Bonus! If you’re looking for some reasonably-priced professional analysis for your script, you might want to consider:

-Doug Davidson’s Four Star Feedback. Doug is the only writer to win a Nicholl Fellowship with an animation script (2004), but he happily covers all genres.

-Andrew Hilton aka the Screenplay Mechanic. His services have garnered extremely high praise on the Done Deal Pro forums.

Thanks for reading!

Meeting again for the first time

Hi there

A day short of one year ago, I wrote this.

Since then, through social media and community forums, I’ve connected with writers from all over the world as well as several from right here in my neck of the woods.

Whether it’s exchanging feedback on a script or offering up a solution to a story problem, or even just meeting for a get-to-know-you chat over lunch or coffee, networking and communicating with other writers can provide a kind of support system that benefits everybody involved.

The other day I met with a guy very busy with several projects, each one offering up a special brand of stress, but he wouldn’t have it any other way. He’s getting to write as well as be involved with the actual production of projects he’s written. Who doesn’t want that?

(An interesting side note – he has severely cut back on his involvement with Done Deal Pro because the negative comments and constant in-fighting became too overwhelming. I don’t blame him and have pretty much done the same thing.)

Try this little experiment to get you started: connect with up to 5 writers a day for one week. Do it through whatever format you want – a blogger you enjoy, Twitter or a respectable forum (Despite the aforementioned issues, DDP is still pretty good). Don’t forget to be polite. Give it a go and see what happens.