I have pushed the self-imposed pressures aside as I realised they were not exactly realistic ... also too many (paying) jobs showed up these last few weeks for which some mental time and energy were needed ... also I've had some fun.
The point is that I still have some deadlines to give me some kind of structure, but they are more relaxed and not stressing me. And thus I am allowing myself to experiment.
I am still at a stage where I am trying different ways to approach the writing of a screenplay, looking for what works best for me. And so I am currently working on two:
- The first one I mentioned previously and has been outlined, re-outlined and re-re-outlined.
- For the second one I'm going blind. It started with an opening image. Characters have appeared who are calling the shots; I'm just following them. The interesting thing is that it is taking shape in a way I am surprisingly happy about (so far).
I am on the first rough draft for both of them and about the same stage: approaching the end of act one. (Can you believe that? With all the preparation it took for the first script and I'm already catching up with the second one?)
They have the same deadline for this draft: both to be finished by the end of this month.
I write on each of them not so much alternately as depending on my mood of the day ... the first one being a comedy, the second a psychological thriller. This little experiment could also help me see if there's indeed a genre I am more comfortable with writing or merely better at.
The part-time job all weekend and the deadlined freelance one on top have sure kept me busy the last few days and naught writing was done.
HOWEVER, I've come out with lessons learned:
1) I've been proofing a 550-page novel. It was work, so not a pleasure read - that said, it was a good one, quite the page turner. Still, I did have my critical eye open, and although it was indeed entertaining (the VOICE made it flow) I couldn't help but ponder a couple of points:
a) the plot advanced thanks to too many coincidences and "eureka" moments that lacked logic - they pick the right clues and discard the wrong ones way too easily.
b) a lot of nemeses. The "main" one, that is the one that appears in the final confrontation, lacked substance. One other possible one would have made for a great ultimate villain, except that, all along, the writer didn't seem to be sure whether she was a bad one or a good one, which made me not sure whether I should feel for her or hate her. And the protagonist didn't know either, which didn't help.
I'm all for characters changing side and all, but I guess a writer should not change their mind about them every five minutes - not in the final draft anyway. It's just confusing.
c) it all started with a painting ... clues hidden ... but I'm not convinced the painting had a purpose in being made in the first place! I'm a sucker for logic, so if something doesn't make sense, I just shake my head.
2) I watched District 9.
a) Never in a million years would I have thought that the little air-head funny bloke at the beginning was going to be the main guy. Seriously. But see how he changes? Talk about a character's arc. It feels like such a huge growth, surely, they can't make it work seamlessly within a mere couple of hours? Well, for me it worked. Thumbs up.
b) the guy transmuting ... I mean, that's The Fly all over, no? If I'd written that myself, I'd probably have binned it thinking it was so obviously not an original idea. However now, it reminds me that anyway "every story has already been told, it's the way you say it that matters."
- Use your voice
- Keep it logical
- Know who what and why 'cos if you're confused, so will the reader be
- As long as YOU like your story, go for it
- Have fun!
PS: I also realised how I can't wait to get back to doing some writing! Yay!
I'm not yet decided whether I shall name the film that I am about to talk about. This is going to be full of spoilers, you're warned. It's not my favourite genre and I only watched it because my friend wrote the score. I believe it is categorised as horror, I call it gore.
As far as the story goes, young girl escapes after being held captive and tortured. Fifteen years later, she finds the location of her tormentors and proceeds to exact revenge. So far, fine.
It starts with her escape, there's intrigue, surprise. She goes on to kill the people, including their kids. Wait ... The heroine kills innocent kids? Not too happy about that but let's see what happens next. Surely, they've got something coming up that will make it ok and make me like her again ... well, actually they haven't but hey. I have no idea where this is going so I watch on.
Now there's a monster that tries to kill her. Who is this? ... I wonder. This is shortly answered in a clever flashback that takes us instants before the opening scene. Quickly enough though, I notice the "monster" is only ever seen alone with her and not when her best mate's around. Could it be that the "monster" is just a figment of her traumatised mind's imagination? Yep. It's ok, let's just say it was clumsy, not a huge deal.
Midpoint: our heroine kills herself.
Hang on, what? Surely she's not really dead. Surely she'll come back to life just like that woman she killed earlier. No? No. She's actually dead. At this point, I frowned. My little mind went racing; it is not equiped to deal with a heroine who dies right in the middle of her story. So what happens now?
Now, my friends, we follow the story of her best mate. Why she's still in this bloody (in both senses) house beats me yet, again I watch on, mostly because I don't want to tell my friend I haven't watched the whole thing.
Our new heroine discovers the torture chambers in a secret basement. She finds another poor traumatised woman, that of fifteen years ago whose ghost had been haunting the first heroine ever since. She delivers her. In a way, I'm thinking she's better as a heroine. Not only doesn't she kill innocent children, she actually saves people (even the bad ones in fact). Anyway the poor woman is messed up and crazy and tries to kill her. Fortunately some official looking people arrive in the nick of time with big guns and shoot her in the head. It turns out, however, that those people are actually the evil ones! The torture thing wasn't just a family business, it is indeed the work of a much bigger organisation!
They now lock up our heroine in order to experiment on her. Oh my! Apparently after you isolate people (young women, no less) long enough and make them suffer, some of them reach a state of transcendance. They do. Even they start to see things, like the first heroine was seeing that "monster" woman. I'm thinking probably our new heroine is going to see her dead friend or something (which would get our original heroine back in the film). No. Well, it was just an idea.
Anyway, nothing much interesting happens, she gets skinned alive and all, and I'm bored. To tell you the truth, I fast-forwarded most of the second half.
The worst, however, is that I was left with nausea. It started pretty early on and didn't leave me. Of course I want a film to make me feel emotions, to leave me with something that will stay with me for a long long time. However, an urge for puking is not the kind of something that I want. No thank you.
This film has been shown at festivals and has won some prizes, so maybe it's just me ... bah.
... LATER Now that I think of it, some bits I fast-forwarded may have contained the visions of heroine #2, which might have been very interesting and even the point of the film, who knows. But frankly this far into the movie, it was too late. I just didn't care anymore.