A script in 30 days, unfinished

The Script Frenzy outline in much rarely used writing journal. April marked the Script Frenzy challenge, in which writers were encouraged to try to write a 100-page script of one kind or another within a month.

A 100-page script isn’t really that bad, at least when you’re writing a screen play, like I did. Formatting helps a lot – there’s a ton of white space, character dialogue eats up pages and pages, and you get to make line breaks for different actions and things all the time. All in all, it could be worse (see Game on, novel writing, an entry about Script Frenzy’s sister event, National Novel Writing Month [which I subsequently failed]).

My 100 pages is finished. The untitled script is about Marney Friday, an intrepid high school journalist, who sets about chronicling the last days of her father’s life after he suffers a heart attack. Marney travels around her town, interviewing the people who interacted with Hal Friday before his death, and learns things about the man – and herself – she didn’t expect.

Problem is, 100 pages puts my script right around the end of the second act. In a three-act structure, this is, as we writers say, bad.

There are probably an additional 30 or 40 pages I need to write before I can set about revising this first horrible draft. I say “horrible” because, as far as my writing goes, this is one of the worse things I’ve ever put down. It’s not exactly a bad idea, and the writing’s not god-awful. But a good way to describe the project in general is, perhaps, “malformed.” Undercooked. Still incubating.

Ms. Friday needs some more time in the test tube before I unleash her upon the world. As such, I’ve given almost no part of the script to almost anyone, when usually I’m sending at least bits and pieces off to several of my writer friends for feedback. (However, you can read the unedited first 10 pages here.)

I don’t want feedback this time, because I know what it’ll be.

Meantime, one of the larger effects of Script Frenzy seems to have been that focusing for that long on one thing has got my brain swimming around in ideas for other things. I’ve hopefully got more than one zombie story for Wrath of the Damned forthcoming, as well as some other scripts I want to work on.

The only problem with that is firing up the old hyperdrive motivator in my head to get me working on some of them.

Or finishing that script.

Or revising it.

At least I’m not writing this in front of the TV. That’s one step in the direction of creativity.

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