Note: This post was written well before my blog hiatus so that’s why it’s going up, but I’m otherwise sticking to just posting the 52 Week Project for now! xo
One of the best parts of joining a writing group is getting has been making new friends. This is what led me to the lovely Beth, who is a far more accomplished writer than myself and an inspiration because she is really fucking talented. It’s odd that we didn’t know each other before then (we were at the same schools at the same time!) but I’m very glad I know her now – who else would geek out over Shakespeare, the Muppets, and Veronica Mars with me?! In any case – she invited me to do a blog tour on my writing process (you can find hers here), so here goes!
1. What am I working on?
I’m working on a few different things, all of them screenplays in one form or another:
- Script #1, which is a romantic comedy feature, has a completed second draft. I got notes from my writing group and close friends, and am letting it simmer for a bit before going back in for a rewrite. I’m really proud of this idea and the fact that I have a finished draft, but I’ve been working on it for too long and I’m ready to move on to other stories.
- Script #2 is a coming-of-age feature and is in the outline stage. I’m working on creating a board game that goes with this, and am meeting with a game designer in the next couple of weeks. Hopefully I can get a solid outline ready soon so that I can start writing, because I’m really excited about this story.
- I’m writing a 3-5 minute short film for fun — ideally, I’d shoot and edit it myself. It’s a silent black and white film…but that’s all I’ll say for now!
- I’m working on developing an original one-hour TV drama pilot for my next class…and by working, I mean class starts in three weeks and I don’t have an idea yet. Whoops.
2. How does my work differ from others of its genre?
I’d like to think I bring an original voice to the stories I tell, and I bring in a diverse cast of characters because duh, that’s what our world looks like now. I’m a big fan of writing female leads with depth because I’m sick of only seeing male protagonists. Also, I write really snappy dialogue.
3. Why do I write what I do?
In terms of genre – I like stories about growing up. My favorite movies and TV shows (Almost Famous, Adventureland, Freaks & Geeks, Felicity, (500) Days of Summer, Reality Bites) are all coming-of-age stories with heart, soul, awkwardness and a sense of reality. There are commonalities that we all go through – going from middle school to high school, rejection, acceptance, falling in love for the first time, having your heart broken, breaking someone’s heart, growing apart from the way you grew up and the people you grew up with – that are so fascinating to me. There’s something spectacular in the ordinary things that happen to all of us and I love that.
In terms of screenwriting – since I can remember, I see stories visually. I think television and film are excellent storytelling mediums, with the ability to reach people who would have never considered reading a fun option. When I picture a scene I can see it through the camera setup with the ideal song playing in the background – movies/TV are the only way to make that happen. I’ve thought about prose but in all honesty, my heart lies with screenwriting. We’ll see if that ever changes!
4. How does your writing process work?
I am a crazy obsessive outliner. Like – I can’t start writing a screenplay until I have a really solid outline. I outline in bullet points, timelines, (color coded) index cards…it gets bananas. I also start working on a story playlist that helps me write – I’ll usually have a bunch of different playlists for different moments, and one album that’ll get me through the bulk of the writing. For Script #1, I listened to Johnathan Rice’s Good Graces on loop for days upon days.
In talking to my screenwriter friends, they tell me I’m in the minority and that they hate to outline, because they like to get to the “actual writing,” which hey, is fine if it works for them! That said, because I outline, I work through a lot of my story problems early on. By the time I’m “actually writing,” it’s fairly smooth sailing — I don’t get stuck in act II the way other people who haven’t planned out where they’re going do. That said – everyone writes differently! I edit a lot as I go on, so by the time my “first draft” is done, it’s closer to a “second draft.” I then let it sit for at least a week before getting feedback, and once I get notes, I let it rest for a least a month before I decide what to do.
What is your writing process like?