Saturday, June 26, 2010

Making notes and keeping ADD away...

All right, so before I get going, it should be understood that I have a screenplay that I am revising. It's on public display, and has done fairly well, but as you know - it needs more work. It always needs more work. Then there's the other ideas that drop in uninvited, threatening to distract me.

It's been a problem all my life. I get involved in something I really like and like a funny car on a track a half mile too long, I run out of fuel before I get to the end. That, or I see a newer, shinier story and gravitate to that like gold diggers to a lottery winner. End result - nothing gets done.

 Lilith and Eve... something that fell into my lap.

 This screenplay - Aethyrika, (pronounced ay-theerika) is the closest I've ever come to finished in my screenwriting. The first draft was - well, a first draft. When I put it out there, it got pretty good reviews, but had holes in it... a few flat characters, things that didn't relate, and unfilmables. My biggest problem - as a story writer, I write like a movie, but that doesn't translate the other way around. Back to the board.

The second draft was a lot more concise and clean, and though the holes were patched, a few still leak. The movie name is based on a pagan tome. Hmmm... guess I should explain it somehow... something I am doing in this  revision. The antagonist was something I picked out of light research... but her background turned out to be a gold mine. But how much can I use? Moreover, since it crosses religious lines and the tome in based in Celtic Paganism/Christianity - how many people am I gonna piss off?  I was able to answer that easily enough. Not many. In fact, there's more than a few people intrigued by the roots of the book... but that's not the story, it's just a vehicle within it. The name - I made it up. It doesn't exist. I didn't want it to be tied to anything genuinely historic, other than what I can control. I love being a demigod...

 Originality is a big challenge, too, especially in horror. I don't want a "place your bets on who gets killed next" kind of story - that's not something that draws on your fear. I'm looking forward to getting deeper into this revision, as long as the research doesn't have my mind wandering off... okay, that's already happened. But I'm trying to contain it. But... those shiny new ideas are knocking... and they're bringing notes.


Saturday, May 8, 2010

Ideas are everywhere.... but what's good?

Just one of those things I wonder about. I've written a lot over the years, mostly short stories and this novel that won't go away. The thing is, as I occasionally slip through old notebooks and folders I find the pieces of ideas scratched on paper. Mostly - at least what I think - are good.

I write mostly horror. Some of the many filed ideas are comedic and there's an occasional thriller thrown in, but nothing is more fun than finding a new way to creep someone out.

One two, Freddy's coming for you... one of my favorites.

Those that have read my stories have always said that they read like a movie. So... with a little encouragement, I thought I'd see if I could turn one of these scraps of paper into a working movie. I mean hell, I wrote stories and have a nearly completed novel, so this should be a breeze, right?


Just like poetry is different from a short story, screenwriting is a world apart from any other form of writing. I took my most likely idea at the time and began to work on it. Problem was, I am used to prose - describing thoughts, fears and attitudes.  The manner in which someone behaves... trying to illustrate in the reader's mind the scene before them. Doing that in screenwriting just makes it a painful read.

I found out that some of the ideas, as a whole, would never make it into a screenplay. A good three hundred page story doesn't translate the same way to the screen, and sometimes you find yourself economizing characters just to fit your screenplay into something marketable. What ends up? Some ideas end up either getting reworked into nothing or trashed outright. Others only bear a resemblance to the original story. I'm thinking that's why virtually EVERY Stephen King novel turned movie are totally different creatures.

I did join a popular site to get peer evaluation - it helps. Scenes that play out in my head sometimes don't translate well to a reader, so you got to redo it. So here, I decided to document my journey into this - mind you, I do have a screenplay (under revision of course,) but it's getting there. And here, just like after adding the FADE IN:, the most awkward part begins. First draft, first words. Now it should get easier. Hope you follow along... maybe I'll get that greenlight!

But don't we all hope that?