My, what a pleasant scent

jimmy stewart flower

It’s a been good week around Maximum Z HQ. A very good week, you might even say.

Got a couple of read requests, including one several months after the initial pitch, and my western advanced in the first round of a reputable contest.

On the actual writing front, made some good progress in the latest overhaul of the sci-fi adventure outline, plus got a last-minute invite to come up with a story idea for a friend meeting with a filmmaker looking for potential projects.

All in all, not too shabby.

Do I wish every week could be this fulfilling and rewarding? Most definitely.

Will they? Heavens no. But that’s expected. It’s the just way it is, and I accept that.

Everything that happened was the result of me putting in the time and effort. Writing, rewriting, researching who’d be most receptive to queries, figuring out which contest was most worth entering, and so forth.

I just happened to be fortunate that a lot of them are paying off very close to one another.

I also realize that each read request could results in “thanks, but no thanks”, my script doesn’t advance any further in the contest, and the filmmaker doesn’t like my idea.

Disappointing, sure, but it won’t slow me down, let alone stop me. I’ve got too much else going on to worry about it.

While the road to screenwriting success may be dotted with potholes, sharp objects and people who shouldn’t be allowed behind the wheel to begin with, every once in a while you get a long empty stretch of green lights and smooth pavement. It may not last long, but it’ll might make you appreciate it even more.

So when you have a brief window of time where it seems like everything is actually going your way, savor it knowing that YOU EARNED IT. And definitely spread the word to your support network – they’ll be thrilled (just like you’d be if it were them).

Use the emotions and sensations you’re experiencing during this happiest of times to keep you going when every response you get is “NO” and the dark clouds return.

But also keep in mind that it won’t always be like that. This path is full of highs and lows, mountains and valleys. The important thing is to enjoy the journey and keep pushing forward.

As we head into the weekend, I’ll take a moment to review the past few days and think “This was nice.”

And then get right back to the grind, once again hoping for the best.

At least it’s something

The past few days have not been kind.

I thought I made some good progress with some slight revamping of the major plot points, at least in terms of my page 45 and midpoint.  The problem was getting from what I had already developed to this new set-up.

I couldn’t figure out what to write.  And when a writer doesn’t know what to write, it’s very frustrating.

It probably didn’t help that I read those two Black List scripts.  The writing in those was really impressive.  Mine?  Not so much right now.

But I also reminded myself that those other scripts weren’t first drafts.  I bet they had the same kind of problems putting them together that I am now.  And that actually help me feel better.  I know this will all come together in the end.  It’s the gettin’ there that kills you.

Today, I was determined to make some kind of progress and move forward.

One of the things I always use as a placeholder during the outline process is a note to myself in a scene to WORK ON THIS or EXPAND! or DEVELOP.

Which is exactly what I did.  I had a general idea of what I wanted to happen in one sequence, tried to play out the scenario in my mind and put it on the page.

And it worked.  Which is nice.

Even better, I changed something in the scene right after that one that presents more of a challenge to my main character.  Before, she was able to figure something out too easily, so I made it really hard for her.

Since conflict is vital to a good story, one of the best questions a writer needs to ask him or herself: what’s the worst thing that can happen to your character to make achieving their goal that much harder?  If Luke and Co just stroll into the Death Star, get Leia and leave, that wouldn’t be much of a story, would it?

Before, this sequence came across as too easy for my heroine.  Now, she really has to pull herself out of a really deep hole.

And now the fun really begins.  I need to figure out how to have the three separate subplots tie together, and about 8-10 pages to do it in.

And I can do it, too.  Not quickly, but I can.  And will.

No Movie of the Moment right now, but V discovered the magic that is the Marx Brothers courtesy of Turner Classic Movies on New Year’s Eve.  If you don’t laugh during the mirror sequence from DUCK SOUP, then something is wrong with you.