Yet another busy week around Maximum Z HQ, including quite a bit of doing script notes, polishing the latest draft of the comedy spec and punching forward on the horror-comedy outline.
Fun stuff all around.
It also included my western placing in the top 15 percent of this year’s Nicholl, which is the second time for this script, and third overall. Not bad, but still not enough to get to the quarterfinals. At first I was feeling kind of down about it, but realized (and was reminded by more than a few colleagues) that a much larger number of scripts didn’t even make it that far, so I should still regard this as a positive.
Suffice to say, it looks like there’s a little more tweaking in store so as to get this script and at least one other ready for next year (along with a few other top-tier contests).
Since this blog recently hit the 9-year mark, of course there are some previous posts of relevant content.
Most of this month has been all about working through the latest draft of a comedy spec. Averaging about 4-6 pages a day, so making some good progress, and hoping to wrap it all up by the first week of March.
Then, the cycle repeats itself with the next round of editing, rewriting, and polishing.
So as I focus on that, here are some older posts about the whole illustrious process, along with a few other related issues.
My projects over the next couple of months are shaping up nicely.
-Finish overhauling the outline for the comedy spec and convert it into pages
-Some more fine-tuning on the pulp sci-fi (courtesy of a steady influx of good notes)
-Maybe one more pass on the western. Yeah, I know. But I recently got some keen insight on a few parts which could do with a little improvement.
The potential is still strong for all three, both in terms of contests and queries.
I have to say that this time around, my analytical and editing/proofreading abilities feel a bit stronger. Not that they’re the pinnacle of perfection, but at least slightly more developed than, say, a few years ago. That’s a definite plus. Nor would I hesitate to take full advantage of the sage advice of my squadron of savvy readers.
I feel a bit more prepared now, as well as a little more confident about ending up with a triad of really solid scripts.
That’s the hope, anyway.
Another part of my enthusiasm comes from seeing the results of some of the major screenwriting contests, some of which I entered and didn’t fare as well as I’d hoped. I’ll work on these scripts, send ’em out and hope for the best.
On a brief side note, I recently read the comment on an online forum – “Waiting for notes. What should I do to occupy my time?”
I suggested “Start working on your next project.” It’s what I would do. Can’t think of a better way to get your mind off a finished script than starting a new one or digging into the archives and touching up an older one. Gets the creativeness pumped up and really does help pass the time.
Anything that lets you flex your writing muscles while adding to your arsenal of material can only be seen as a good thing.
Among the sizable slew of ongoing projects of which I’m currently undertaking, finishing the edit/polish/rewrite of the pulp sci-fi spec was pretty high up near the top of the list.
Mostly because it was something I felt I absolutely had to do; sort of a “get it out of my system” thing.
And for now, it is. Finished. At least until the next sets of notes come in and the whole process starts all over again. No big deal. Par for the course.
Overall, I like how it turned out. As has been the case before, it was also simply just fun to write. That helped. And some of my readers from the previous draft were quite enthusiastic about what a fun read it is. That also helped.
Even though the story’s pretty much set in place, every once in a while inspiration would strike, or a suggestion would be made, and I’d come up with a way to potentially improve a particular moment, scene or sequence.
So off it goes to some very savvy readers, and my attention redirects to the much-interrupted overhaul of one of my low-budget comedies, which has been a sizable challenge on its own.
Creating amazing tales of thrills, excitement, and heart-pounding fantastic-ness? No problem. Trying to craft a smart, funny story? A challenge, to say the least.
2017’s writing got off to a pleasantly rousing start with the commencement of the first draft of my latest project: the pulpy adventure spec.
Yep. After years of working on the outline, I finally decided to take the plunge and write the damned thing.
Seeing as how this is a genre near and dear to my heart, I dove into the opening sequence headfirst and just had at it, surpassing the original goal of completing at least 2 pages a day by two and a half times that amount. Add to that the 4 pages for yesterday, and that places me further ahead than anticipated. It’s not expected to maintain this kind of output on a daily basis, but no complaints so far.
That being said, upon reflection, the latest scene still leaves a little to be desired, so an impromptu rewrite is already being planned out and will be implemented straightaway.
A few alterations have also been made in regards to the overall writing process.
First, even though the outline needs to be rock-solid before starting on pages, the scene descriptions are sometimes a little vague. “Big fight happens!”, that sort of thing.
When that happens, the focus shifts to plotting out the beats of that particular scene. How do things play out so it tells the story and moves things forward? Is it accomplishing what it needs to? It’s quite helpful, and helps prevent a lot of frustration in trying to think up stuff on the spot.
Another is fully embracing the whole “just get it done” attitude. Write it down and move on. There’ll be time for all that fancy-pants editing and polishing stuff later. It’s also been noticed that sometimes the first idea is still the best.
And in what may be the most important development, seeing as how this is at its core my interpretation of the old pulp novels, I’m doing what I can do to really make it read that way. One could even argue that writing the western was just a warm-up exercise. The writing in this script might be a little more over the top than usual, but that could be exactly what it needs.
Even though it’s a screenplay, I take a certain pleasure in coloring things a slightly stronger shade of purple.
There’s no specific target deadline for completing this draft, but hopefully it won’t take too long. For now, I’m just enjoying the ride.