I am going to use my Blogger blog from now on, so if you’d like to keep following my writing, go to:
I have been maintaining both for a couple of months, and I’ve decided to put my money on Blogger for now. It looks very similar but has a few more functions that I like. See you there…
After my last post, I decided to enter the Austin Film Festival screenplay contest. It’s a long shot, to say the least, but I believe in my story and I hope that comes across in the pages I submitted.
Now that there has been some time to slow down and re-read, I am not sure that I did enough to make it great. I keep finding little things, things that bother me, about some word choices. So I’m revising again, trying to make it better before sending it off to Competition #2.
Then late last night, I had a daydream while trying to fall asleep. I don’t know what else to call it – I wasn’t exactly asleep, because I could make choices in what I was “seeing,” but I wasn’t completely awake because I couldn’t stop the story even though it was not a pleasant dream. And now I have the outline for Screenplay #3. (Screenplay #2 came to me in the middle of writing Between Souls…)
So I was thinking more about it this morning, and the end result is that I’m happy that I am never satisfied with one story or even one version of a story. I hope that this endless need to keep writing and revising, and then writing more means that I am where I should be – tied to my laptop, not even looking at the keyboard as the words flow out of my head and onto the screen. Only time will tell.
While revising my screenplay, I’ve noticed a number of online script contests out there. In order to be considered, I must register and pay a fee. In some cases, the contest winners are promised a number of wonderful things, ranging from a guarantee of representation to a guarantee of exposure to top agencies, producers and directors.
Not to be cynical, but how many of these contests are worth the registration fee? If a screenplay is strong enough, can an unknown writer from Pittsburgh get the attention of the right people and start a path to a career, or are the odds of that closer to winning a PowerBall jackpot?
Here are some of the contests I’ve found so far:
- Austin Film Festival – October 21-28. Finalists and semi-finalists offered access to panels of industry pros, coverage available for additional fee. Deadline is June 1.
- BlueCat – Submissions closed for 2010, semifinalists to be announced 6/15. Lots of prizes, including script analysis of every eligible entry.
- Zoetrope Virtual Studio – possible representation, option and development. Opens 6/1, closes 9/3.
I am tempted to try to get ready for the Austin entry, but I’m not quite there yet with my draft. I know there are many other contests out there – are there any to stay away from? And on the other side, are there any that a writer must enter because they are so fantastic? Help!
I have been stuck in the Blog-bog and Twitter-verse for two days, reading all I can about writing. I found a few great blogs by writers and agents, then found them on Twitter and followed their thoughts and links. I have learned a great deal, but there is so much more to learn.
My most recent reading was of the “Konrath Effect” on HuffingtonPost.com. I have to agree that the ability to publish at the instant an author wishes may not be for the best. Although I have not read any of Konrath’s books, he seems to have the talent to back up his self-publishing drive. I look back at my first book, Crossroads, and I wince. Even after multiple edits, it still needs a lot of work! That’s not to say that I am not proud of finishing it and rewriting it for years with an editor before finally throwing in the towel, but it SHOULD NOT BE PUBLISHED. Not in it’s current state. Maybe not ever.
Then I read a post on Rachelle Gardner’s blog – Rants and Ramblings – about reputations. Although her point had more to do with the long-term reasoning behind an agent’s acceptance or rejection of an author’s work, the comments led me to think about what my reputation would have been if I had self-published a less-than-ideal work. At the time, I remember thinking that the Crossroads story was strong, the characters were great, and there wasn’t anything standing between me and a six-figure publishing deal but finding the right person to read it. Boy, was I wrong. And if I had gone ahead with self-publishing, the reputation I might have at this point would not be the one I desire. It would be that of an amateur who needs to work harder to tell a good story and tell it well.
I am glad that I tried and failed. I took three years off from writing anything other than emails, got more involved with my kids’ activities, learned how to knit, and filled my time with other projects. But the desire to tell the stories that fill my mind never went away, and it slowly became so overpowering that once I started writing, I reached my goal of completing my first screenplay in one month. (Thanks again, Script Frenzy!) Now I know that writing is something I need to keep doing. But I do not need instant success. In fact, I dread it. I’d prefer to write a few more Crossroads and keep learning along the way than have my next project be the one to send me to the top of the best-sellers list. A few more failures and I just may have the reputation, and the book, that I want.
There are days when I am lost in my screenplay, working through the scenes and trying to imagine sitting in the theater, watching as the characters play out my story. I drift through my day, not really focused on what is in front of me, but watching the screen in my head instead. Short bursts of action and how to describe them in the shortest possible sentences push me off balance and steal all of my energy.
Then I have days when I am ready to get back to the novel. I have long, flowing descriptions that stream out of my mind, ready to ripple effortlessly one after another after another.
Unfortunately, neither manage to make it into my computer.
My time is not my own. The demands of the family prevent me from running to the keyboard and typing for hours. So I am trying something new. I am trying to use the Evernote app to jot down these quick bursts of action and the rippling descriptions as I fold the laundry or dust the TV. I carry my phone most of the time anyway, so now I am going to try to pause to type a phrase or two instead of abandoning the mommy-job for the joy of writing. There has to be a way to do both! I will keep track this week and see how many times I am able to use Evernote and then continue with the task at hand…
Any other suggestions for iPhone apps that would help me write and live my life?
Revising my screenplay, yet again. I don’t mind, though. There is something satisfying about using a good red pen and writing in the margins. It somehow seems like major progress, even if it isn’t.
I’m not someone who needs to print everything I read, but for some reason, revising must take place on paper at least once in a project. Then I can get a spatial sense of the action, I can check the pace and the length of each section.
After editing this month, I’ll start sending it out. I think my first step will be entering a contest or two. Any suggestions? I saw the Script Frenzy page has some, so I need to review their links. Love those guys – they really got me to finish an entire screenplay. Awesome.
I did it. I cannot believe that I finished my screenplay in 28 days. It certainly is not perfect, and I would like to rework about three scenes, but I hit the mark.
The kids were great as I tried to plow through the last twenty pages tonight. My daughter watched me type the last three pages. She was particularly interested in my pauses, and then finally asked me if I was making it up as I went. When I said yes, I think it dawned on her that this was my idea, not me writing down a movie I saw, but writing down something no one had done before. I was so touched when she decided to write this date in her Journal as a big event – so sweet.
My son is inspired, too, but he wants to know the details. He wants to know if they can see the movie once it is made. He wants to know who will buy the script. He wants to know everything about it. I wish I had answers for him. Maybe someday I will.
But for now, I am just thrilled that I finished. Thrilled and delighted.
I had very high hopes for my weekend writing. Unrealistically high, I’m afraid. I should have known better after looking at the calendar and seeing dinner at our house for friends, baseball, and three other commitments. So as I looked at my page counter that moved up by 2 pages, I was slightly discouraged. Then I read an email or two from well-meaning (I’m assuming) Script Frenziers who ARE FINISHED and I was ready to give up entirely.
Not to worry - I have gotten past my moment of despair and know that I will catch up. There are still 11 days to go, and once I get past some obligations today and tomorrow, I should have a number of days with hours ready and waiting for the sound of my fingers on the keys.
I laughed when I read my latest email from the folks at Script Frenzy. Did Jennifer know from experience that so many others would be hitting a wall, or as she phrased it, “stall.” She then gave what I am calling the 5 Stages of Script Frenzy (similar to the 7 Stages of Grief, but oh so different). My abbreviated version is:
- Stop panicking
- Recalculate pages per day
- Cancel all other plans
- Make one writing space change
Sounds like good advice to me. And I appreciated her additional note that, “This isn’t rearrange-and-organize-your-desk month.” Had she not written that, I would have found a way to spend a whole day or more reorganizing the entire office and not writing one word.
So thanks, Jennifer, for answering my last post without knowing about it. But now I have to find another way to procrastinate…
My creative projects have a very predictable arc. I begin with total excitement and enthusiasm, then get into the details and obsess to the point of ignoring basic things like clean laundry. Once I get to the bulk of the work, I start to lose interest and wonder if another project would be a better use of my time. And then I hit the first wall. If I can stay on course over the first wall, I will finish the project. If I get distracted, though, I may not finish for a long, long time, if ever.
I hit the first wall today.
I am truly enjoying the writing process. I love to keep coming up with ideas that might work in my screenplay. But I also find that I start to doubt the path I’ve taken and backtrack too easily. I start to wonder if another idea, another story line, another character would be better than what I have so far. And unfortunately, the doubt can paralyze my writing and mean the end of the project.
I am going to try to climb over the wall tomorrow. Rather than start from scratch with a different idea, I’m going to see this one through, for better or worse. Then I’ll be able to decide at the end of the month if it has become something worth reworking or if it is merely a goal accomplished and time to move to the next idea. A good friend reminded me yesterday that oftentimes the difference between writers and non-writers is the simple act of writing.
I’m sure I’m not the first to hit this wall, but it made me wonder if there’s a specific day during Script Frenzy when the wall commonly shows up. Next time I’m procrastinating, I’ll look it up online.