Revisiting old stuff to see if it sucks


I started working on my Script Frenzy script again last week, which I completed as part of the month-long script-writing event in (holy crap) 2010. It was already way too long — the Script Frenzy goal is 100 pages and I was at 117 — and I added to it significantly yesterday. (I posted on it some time ago, which also includes the first 10 pages.)

It’s good to be back in old projects again.

In fact, I’m finding there’s a lot of benefit to checking out old stuff lately. It’s an exercise in seeing where you’ve been and how you got to where you are, which is enormously beneficial. And then there’s the fact that it’s easier to see how to improve your work when you see the crappy parts of old stuff that you made when you were less good. And you’re always less good in the past than you are now.

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In the Brainholes: creepy dreams, Mass Effect, stories

ellen page

I’m still feeling out the format for this blog, but I’m taking a lot of inspiration from the work Chuck Wendig does over at He has several days of the week where he hits specific blog categories — Fridays he usually throws down a writing prompt, for example. Thursdays are usually interviews. Seems like a good idea.

“In the Brainholes” is my current experiment for Friday blog posts. I’m envisioning it as a rundown of the stuff that’s been on my mind throughout the week. Plus I think I’m going to throw a writing prompt/weekend fiction challenge at the end (and shamelessly steal from Chuck). For the time being, until I decide I don’t like this idea anymore.

So away we go.
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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.