ScriptFrenzy a Bust?

14 04 2010

As much as it hurts me to say this, I think I have to give up on my ScriptFrenzy challenge. I’m still stuck at 11 pages, and it’s nearly halfway through the month. I’m behind on pretty much everything I can be behind on–grading, prepping classes, meeting deadlines–and I feel I should attend to those things that I am getting paid to do rather than spending more time on a script that is quickly going from it’s-so-bad-it’s-funny quality to I-can’t-even-bring-myself-to-finish-this-thing-it’s-so-horrible quality. *sigh*

I don’t like starting challenges I can’t finish, and so I’m stuck between trying to force myself to finish the challenge and keeping my head up and saying, “Next year I’ll be more prepared.” I can’t just quit the challenge and not think that I won’t try again–that’s too much finality for me.

My writing love goes out to all those scriptwriters who are keeping on task and finishing their scripts by April 30. I am saddened that I won’t be able to count myself among the winners, but I think I’ve learned a valuable lesson about switching to new written genres: it’s not as easy as it sounds. Next time around, I’ll be ready to write a not-good-but-not-horrible script in 30 days. Watch out April 2011!


ScriptFrenzy: Too much of a challenge?

6 04 2010

I stared at my script for ten minutes today. I didn’t do anything with it–I just stared at it. Why? Because I have no idea what to write next. I feel like the material I already have written is laughable, and so I’m in that slump of thinking, “So why should I continue this challenge if all I get out of it is a pile of crap that I’m even embarrassed to re-read?”

***Beginning of script for internal argument

JESSIE: (sighs) I just don’t know if it’s worth it. Is the thrill of writing my first script worth the pain of having to look at what I’ve got every day and know that it’s horrible?

INNER VOICE: (a tiny whisper) Every writer has to start somewhere.

JESSIE: But what if some writers are only meant for one medium? What if I’m just not meant to be a screenwriter?

INNER VOICE: You’ll never know if you don’t try. You might end up learning something in the process.

JESSIE: If this were “Leave it to Beaver,” I’d smile and say, “By golly, you’re right!” But this isn’t “Leave it to Beaver,” and I’m swamped with school work and life and other obligations right now. I can’t even remember why I thought this was a good idea.

INNER VOICE: You wanted to try something new.

JESSIE: Next time I want to try something new, I’ll reach for the cookbook and find a new recipe. I won’t choose something that takes a month and a lot of work to complete.

INNER VOICE: Next time… Sure. But how about you make it through this time first?

JESSIE: (rolls her eyes) Yeah, yeah. I’ll try. But if I can’t make it past the twentieth page because I can’t stand wading in any more muddy words and faltering plot lines, I’m giving myself a “free out”.

INNER VOICE: How about we wait and see how it turns out before planning to quit?

JESSIE harumphs.

***End of script

Now that’s some quality writing… Is anyone else out there stuck in the middle of a writing challenge and wondering why in the world they decided to take it on in the first place? What are you doing to make it through?

Panic over a script

1 04 2010

It’s April 1, and ScriptFrenzy has begun. I should be excited–after all, this is my new writing adventure, and I have no expectations beyond a page count. So why am I staring at a blank screen and freaking out? Because writing a script sounds like it should be … not easy, but also not torturous. I’ve been planning out a storyline for a couple weeks, I’ve got my list of characters, I’ve created backgrounds for those characters, and I’ve got ideas for the settings. And yet, I have no idea what to do with any of that. I’ve read scripts, I’ve seen how they’re arranged, and I understand the basic principles of putting fingers to the keyboard and writing a beginning script. AND YET, I HAVE NO IDEA WHAT TO DO WITH ANY OF THAT. Holy cow. What did I get myself into?

Adventures and Insecurities: A writer’s props

31 03 2010

Tomorrow is April 1. I don’t care that it will be April Fool’s Day–in fact, I think the last time I pulled an April Fool’s Day prank (or had one pulled on me) was in high school. To me, April 1 would be just like any other day … Except this year, I signed up for ScriptFrenzy, which means tomorrow will be the first day of writing my very first screenplay.

I’m nervous even though I have no expectations for my screenplay beyond its length. To be a winner of ScriptFrenzy, I will have to write 100 pages, so 100 pages is my goal. My goal is not to become a famous TV screenwriter, though in my wildest dreams, I do see the pilot I’m going to be working on as a successful TV show. I’ve chosen to write a pilot for a TV show I’ve wittily named “The Profs” about a group of professors in a department. The show will feature those professors as they live their daily lives and navigate academia (including all the departmental politics and dealings with students). For anyone who knows my background, you might be saying, “Shocking” with a bit of a sarcastic voice. This screenplay will be pulling on some of my own experiences of being a professor as well as the “horror stories” I’ve heard from colleagues about past jobs and interviews and what not. I’m excited about writing it, but again, as a first-time screenwriter, I have no expectations going into the month of April. If you’re doing ScriptFrenzy, too, my username is joiedelire. I’ll take all the writing buddies/support I can get!

While my brain is mostly preoccupied with writing up some last-minute characters sketches for ScriptFrenzy (as well as familiarizing myself with CeltX, the screenwriting program I’ll be using), I’m also going through a bit of a panic attack about another writing project: my first completed novel that I finished last year. Since August, I’ve been trying to find an agent (unsuccessfully), and I’ve entered the manuscript in a writing contest (again, unsuccessful), and all the failed attempts are starting to eat away at any confidence I had built up in myself and my manuscript. I entered the first page of my manuscript in the Page-to-Fame on WEbook (an amazing resource for writers), and every day–I can’t help myself–I go into my profile and check my submission’s progress. Right now, it’s doing okay. Which should make me feel better, but I don’t. I’m afraid to make any predictions about whether or not it will make it to Round 2 (where I would get to submit the entire first chapter), and I’m even afraid to hope for that admission into Round 2. My confidence is a yellow ball of string being batted around by a large cat named Insecurity. One minute I’m feeling okay (and possibly even better than okay) about my future as a writer; the next minute, a giant paw reaches out and bats me around until I don’t know how to feel anymore.

From what I understand, every writer goes through these periods of insecurity. Yet when I’m in the midst of an insecurity attack, I feel alone. Desperately alone.

I feel alone right now, so I’m forcing myself to put that aloneness out there online for the world to see (should the world stop by and read my humble blog). I can imagine there are readers out there who will stop and read this and think, “I know just how she feels.” Being able to imagine that makes me feel a little less like a solitary figure and a little more like a part of a community.