Bursting at the seams – part 2

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On one hand, progress for the pulpy adventure spec is moving along nicely. Still maintaining a daily output of about 3 pages.

But on the other hand, this thing feels like it’s growing exponentially, continuously getting bigger than I originally anticipated.

A lot bigger.

Like “rise out of the bay, tower over the skyline, ready to wreak havoc and terrorize the populace. Call the military!” big.

That’s pretty big.

Part of this stems from me having a one-sentence description of a scene in the outline, not really taking into consideration I’ll need at least a page, maybe two, to execute it. Hence the feeling of overstuffedness.

There have been times where I’d be in the middle of a scene, but then think “Too much!”. This would be followed by the immediate deleting of what I’d written so far and starting anew, but with a mindset of “Same, but a lot less this time.” It happens; just not all the time.

No problem whatsoever if you start with a scene that’s initially three pages long, because you know the next pass will involve whittling down to one (or a little more). Getting it written in the first place is the hard part; everything after that – much easier (for some, anyway).

I freely admit I tend to overwrite, but that’s usually limited to the first draft. Once that’s out of the way, the red pens are produced and much killing of darlings commences.

Sometimes it’s very frustrating that my initial effort isn’t what I want it to be, but isn’t that the point of a first draft? There’s a reason it’s also known as “the vomit draft”. You just throw everything on the page, and then go back for ongoing cleanup work. The guiding principle here – you do what’s necessary to get it to that desired end result.

Will there most likely be some drastic changes somewhere down the line? Undoubtedly. If that means starting with a first draft that’s way too big, so be it. It’s not like this is what the final finished project is going to look like. Better to have an oversized script ripe for editing than a scrawny one that needs to be bulked up.

So for now, the slog continues. Scenes may go on too long, but it’s cool. This is a fun story and I’m enjoying writing it. I know it’ll take a while to get it to where I want to be, and that’s fine by me. All part of the process.

But better have the military on standby, just in case.

Smashing through the wall you just hit


If it were only this easy all the time
If it were only this easy all the time

Some days it’s hard to write. Really hard.

This isn’t about finding the time. This is about when the words and ideas just won’t show up.

No matter how many times you try something, it just doesn’t work.

The more you stress over it, the harder it gets. The frustration can be downright crippling.

We already put an exorbitant amount of pressure on ourselves in our attempts to produce quality work, and being angry for not doing so is just counter-productive.

How can people think this is easy? Like us, they soon discover it’s anything but.

Is it at least a little reassuring to know that this is just as common among the pros? Just because you’re a working writer doesn’t make this any easier.  In fact, it may make it even harder – their paycheck is on the line.

Believe me, I wish I could offer up some kind of all-knowing sage advice that goes beyond “Step away, take a deep breath and gather your thoughts,” but sometimes that’s all you can do.

Maybe it’ll work, maybe not. At least give it a try.

The more scripts you work on, the more the odds will be in your favor that you’ll be able to find your way back into that groove and have a few more good writing days.

This is just part of what it takes to be a screenwriter, so you have to know what works for you when this happens.

Which it will.  A lot.

Are you ready?