Friday, May 22, 2009

Writers Groups?

Advice, mm?

How do I start a writers group that isn’t annoying?

If I can figure out a way to carve out some regular meeting time among all the madness, I’d really like to have a good sense of community – and I mean face-to-face, not just on the Internets. I’d like to read other people’s stuff more. I’d like to hear about their processes. I’d like the pressure of having to deliver pages regularly. I’d like to give and get feedback.

I wouldn’t like to have to listen to people who refer to themselves as Artists. I don’t want to hang out with people who think they’re genius writers with nothing to learn. The last thing I want is to be in a group with someone who sees the group as a captive audience for their groundbreaking 600-page script tracing the history of Planet Zythoryx.

Okay, maybe I’m a misanthrope.

But I was in a writers group once in grad school that was great. Everyone was pretty good – we all delivered stuff that was imperfect but interesting. We all understood we had a long way to go. No egos, good humor, no extremists. Laid back but helpful.

And then I remember writing workshops in college that just made me what to eviscerate myself to have an excuse to leave. And sometimes when reading the blogosphere or discussion groups of spec writers, I get so woozy from the self-worship and whining I pass out.

So, those of you (is anyone there?) who have started or joined successful groups, how did you do it?

I know two guys around here I’d like to invite. Start there and see what happens? Put an ad on craigslist that lists the rules? Hey, is that it, create rules?

Advice anyone?

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Go Clara, It's Your Birthday

As of last night I’m eight pages into this next script and already the characters are starting to say things that surprise me.

I love that shit. You start with an idea of a character but sometimes they literally take over and start to become a little different.

Maybe it ends up being a bad thing and in revision you have to bring them back to the character you first envisioned. But in my experience, usually it turns out nicely and you get some stuff that, coming from some unquantifiable place in an imagination on the fly and not from the intellectual act of outlining and character sketching in advance, is richer, more interesting and usually more real.

In this script the lead, currently named Mindy, is pretty much what I expected, but the second, now called Clara, has really surprised me.

So have at it Clara. Go girl go.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Back In The Whatever

Fell off the wagon there for a while. Or the horse. Or whatever trite metaphor I’m supposed to use.

Anyway, I finished the action script and have started to query agents and managers with it and send out it to my limited contacts and contacts to contacts. One management company has responded positively so far, asking to read the script.

Doing so has renewed my energy to try to get my drama out there, so I’ve made a fresh push with it as well. Got a nice rejection letter from Tyler Perry’s place. Very polite and kind.

The action script was the first one I did the infamous Index Cards with. It was a little annoying to do but I have to say it turned out to be fairly helpful in big-picture perspective and being able to visualize individual characters’ arcs. I recommend it.

And since my own version of kinda-outlining (which essentially means bullet notes on Blake Snyder’s Beat Sheet but intentionally leaving space for winging it in process) worked with that script, that’s how I chose the next script to work on:

I started these kinda-outlines on four ideas I had. As I proceeded, I got more excited about one over the others and that kinda-outline went fairly quickly, so that’s where I’m heading now.

Started writing in earnest last night. THREE WHOLE PAGES down so far.

Feels good to be back in the saddle. Wagon driver's seat? USSR?