Seed Beads & Marathons: My Patience Metaphors

Every day this week has felt like Friday and with that came the feeling that I should update my blog on what I accomplished this week, even though the week isn’t  over yet. Since I’ll be posting a new Sundance review on here Friday, I thought I might as well jump ahead on my writing update.

In the last 2-3 weeks I was quite inspired and wrote an almost complete draft of an hour long pilot. I’ll describe it as a zany procedural action-packed drama. Quite unexpected. My Final Draft program isn’t working right now though so I’ve typed it all in Word. In order to do this without wanting to tear my hair out, I simply write the action and scene headings normally, take the time to underline the headings and then write dialogue with the first letter of a character’s name, followed by a colon and then the dialogue.

Example:

INT. ELLEN’S OFFICE – DAY

ELLEN, 25, sits at her desk and types up her blog. The mailman MARK, 30s, drops a pile of mail on her desk.

E: Thanks!

M: No problem! Have a good day.

E: Thanks, you too!

FADE OUT.

FIN.

I’ll get the program issue sorted out as soon as I can and then I’ll simply re-type it, which may help me with my second pass on it anyway. There is supposedly a way to import files into Final Draft but I really don’t trust it. I’ve tried it in the past and the formatting gets all screwed up.

On a related note, I think patience is an essential quality in a writer. I find that I am an exceedingly patient person. As a child I sat and worked with seed beads for hours (those teeny tiny beads) and made all sorts of things, dragonfly hair pins, necklaces, bracelets, earrings. I also hand wrote my first and second books before typing them up. Man, I wonder if I’ll ever do that again. Probably not, because I can’t write as fast as I can type, plus it makes your hand hurt. So the point here, is simply this: Writing, or doing any sort of creative work, is a never-ending marathon, not a sprint.

Anywhoo, speaking of marathons, I’ve been working on my science fiction novella as well and I just couldn’t be happier to be at the point I’ve reached. I’ve now come to terms with that fact that yes, it will be a novel. This may be a bit repetitive from my book club post but bear with me. I remember when I sent my very first novelette version to my brother, Paul, a year ago after about two frenzied weeks of inspiration. The resulting word vomit was analizyed by Paul, who gave me some very honest and very true advice. One piece of his critique was the fact that I was missing dozens, if not hundreds of pages in the story. Characters were floating around un-grounded in unfinished scenes living amongst futuristic technology that he still needed help visualizing. The idea that I needed to flush this story out was an understatement. For the longest time though I didn’t want to admit that it was a novel.

I think I felt this way because I already have my YA novel project and my screenwriting projects, and I didn’t want to admit that this project would also take an exceedingly large amount of time to complete. I wanted to cut ahead in the race and hold the finished copy in my hands without the hundreds of pages. I loved the story and the thought of all the work that needed to go into it was overwhelming. I’d say, about 70 percent of the time, my stories end up in altered worlds and crafting those worlds with their rules and tones and changes from our reality, all takes time to build.

But, since then I’ve realized that the novelette was actually an outline and I’ve been following my blueprint and continuing to simply, write out this passion project. The further I go, the more excited I am to reach that finish line, for this project at least. But I know that it may not be for some time. This story is officially in novella territory but more importantly, the world has opened up to me and I can step back and see the future finished product. It’s all there, I just have to write it, which is actually a very liberating feeling.

And yes, I have to start spec’ing a show as soon as I can. And yes, my YA novel (that I completely adore) is temporarily on the back burner.

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5 responses to “Seed Beads & Marathons: My Patience Metaphors

  1. Importing into Final Draft is very easy if you’re current. Simply give each element it’s own line and save as a text, then import. You may still have to clean up odds and ends that your own personal style creates, but i’ve written many scenes outside of FD and imported, with little issue.
    Try a small scene as a test. You won’t be sorry 🙂

    • Its eaaaasssssyyyyy…. just do your text file like this:

      INT. OFFICE – DAY

      Ellen hesitates over her computer file.

      ELLEN
      Are you sure about this?

      TONY
      Trust me. Ctrl-Alt-Del works miracles!

      Ellen presses the key combo. Her laptop smokes.

      TONY
      Or maybe it was Ctril-SHIFT-Del…

      CUT TO:

  2. hahaha

    INT. MAC STORE – LATER

    Ellen picks out a shiny new laptop. Tony takes out his credit card.

    Ellen
    Thanks for teaching me about formatting Word files for easy translation into Final Draft. And thanks for the new computer too!

    Tony
    Sure thing!

    FADE OUT

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