Screw the Muse

Personal, Work

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Not to sound repetitive, but it was another weird week. On Tuesday I enlisted the services of professional screenwriting consultant, Erik Bork. I’d read a lot of his blog entries and liked his tone. Some screenwriting blogs have obnoxious graphics and a kind of arrogant tone. Erik’s tone is honest and down to earth and he writes about issues that concern me. If you go to his website, you can sign up to receive his Ten Key Principles of Screenwriting. I found these to be really helpful and informative.

Erik raised some issues regarding my screenplay that I can’t seem to get around. The conflict is too internal. The characters are underdeveloped. I know with enough work I could fix the characters. But I’m stuck on this internal conflict. The idea for the script came to me several years ago and I’ve been building it a little at a time. I never stopped to consider the structure of the story, or the main conflict. Looking back it feels like I started building a house without a blue print. But by now the idea is solidified in my head. After our conversation, I sat down and tried to manufacture an external conflict, but it felt like I was straying from the story I wanted to tell. The thing is, I know Erik is right. I agree with his criticisms. I just don’t know how to fix it.

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So I decided to put this script aside and begin work on another idea. The new idea has a more straightforward, external conflict. I think it fits better into the screenplay structure. This week I started hashing out the story. The idea isn’t as fully formed as the other and the scope is bigger. I’m entering a territory where ideas don’t just come to me from the ether, I’m actively producing them. It’s hard. At the same time it’s empowering, not to be dependent on the “muses” for inspiration. And my hope is that once I’ve digested the formula for screenplays and gained more experience as a writer I can go back to the script I wrote this month and make it better.

Sometimes it feels like I’ve taken on an enormous task. Maybe I’ve set my goals too high. Three screenplays in six months could be crazy. But I’m going to try anyway. Not trying isn’t an option.

And I’d like to thank those of you who’ve encouraged me over the past week. Your words are greatly appreciated.

Progress Update

This week I began outlining a new script. It’s all handwritten so far, nothing in the computer yet. I also did quite a bit of research on Monday and Tuesday. I love doing this research because I don’t have to turn it into a term paper and hand it in for a grade. In fact, I can play fast and loose with the facts because I’m writing fiction!

My Challenges

Keeping my spirits up and the wheels turning. I’ve also been breaking some of my productivity rules this week, spending too much time on social media and no time in face to face meetings with friends. I will do better next week.

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