A friend of mine turned me on to a little thing called Script Frenzy. It’s like NaNoWriMo except it’s for screenplays, stage plays, teleplays, graphic novels and such. The goal is to write a 100-page script in 30 days in the month of April. She asked me to be her writing buddy, so I signed up. I mean, how hard can it be? It’s not like writing a 50,000-word novel in a month. And I have written screenplays before and even taught an introductory course on screenwriting.
Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about how I used to write for fun during my childhood. I had no intention of being a writer back then; I simply wrote to escape the real world. I didn’t have a clue about form, elements of the craft, or even what would come next on the page. I started with an idea and just wrote whatever came to mind. I had complete freedom to do whatever I wanted, be whatever I wanted, without having to abide by any pesky rules. It was liberating and not at all the way I write now. Now I know what I’m doing, or rather what I’m supposed to be doing, in regards to plot, pacing, setting, character, etc. And I feel more stifled than ever.
I don’t allow myself to write crap. I’m a self-editing dominatrix. Everything has to be perfect before it hits the page. Each thought is strangled, each sentence is whipped, each word is bound and tied until it becomes my slave. But let’s face it–I suck at being a Mistress. Me, I’m all about freedom and beauty and equality. This way of writing has got to stop because it’s definitely not getting me anywhere, except maybe some chafing from that damn leathery g-string.
So it’s Day 8 of Script Frenzy. And according to my caluculations, I should have 26.4 pages written. How many do I actually have? Zero. But I was never one to write religiously every day (even though all the great writers say you should). No, I save up all my writing time for one long extended bout. At least that’s how I got through graduate school. But I have a plot, so that’s a start.
I’m reverting back to my childhood and using an idea that, in retrospect, had actually been my first attempt at a screenplay. Unfortunately, I never finished it, so I have no idea where it was going or how it was going to end. But I will work through all that on my bulletin board as the time comes. First, I’m just going to get my story down in script format and fill in the blanks later. After all, good stories are not written; they are rewritten.