Script Frenzy: FTW

At the beginning of April I wrote that I was starting Script Frenzy: a challenge to write a 100 page script in the month of April. Well the month is almost over, and — as you can see on Author's Page — I did indeed complete the task. Officially, I completed 103 pages (although it ended up a little longer when I tweaked the formatting.)

The story flowed pretty easily, and I had no problem sticking to my original "plan". In fact, I really didn't do much coercion (except for introducing the plausible-but-a-little-hokey cell-phone failure.) For the most part, the story just moved along of its own accord.

I re-read most of it and it seems pretty good. I did notice a few typos (like when Bob the waiter just drives off in their car, apparently) and sometimes I'd introduce a character or a place and a couple pages later the name would inexplicably change. But I noticed that the things I cringed at when I was writing — just to keep the flow going — don't seem nearly as out-of-place and absurd as I thought.

Not to brag too much, but I was impressed at the multi-faceted story arc, like the way the scenery changes with the organic changes in the characters. That was kind of a surprise.

I mentioned in the post introducing this that one of the things I learned from my NaNoWriMo experience was that I really needed to keep tabs on my characters. I made a separate document with the names of characters and any things I said about them, or about their past. It helped a lot. Plus, I only had two central characters, so keeping track of them was much easier.

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Script Frenzy for April

A few years ago, I completed the National Novel Writing Month challenge, writing 50,000 words in the month of November. (I ended up with about 60,000 words then stalled with my characters in a place I didn't care about.) Well, NaNoWriMo has a spin-off project called Script Frenzy. The challenge is to write a 100 page script in the month of April.

Well I love movies, and I have an idea kicking around that touches on a number of topics dear to me along with some interesting personal anecdotes I always thought would make a good movie, so I decided to take up the challenge and write a screenplay. You can track my Author's Page here to see how I'm doing — I got about 4 pages done today so that's pretty good. I'd much rather start out ahead of the curve (for teh math-challenged, I need to average 3 1/3 pages a day to succeed.)

I won't give too much away until I get something more concrete in place, but suffice it to say it's a modern cross-country road trip that'll require the venerable CB radio.

What I learned from my NaNoWriMo experience was that I really needed to keep tabs on my characters since halfway through I couldn't tell one minor character from another. I also felt like that was a freshman effort that can safely be hidden away forever. I don't think it's bad, per se, but it probably has more to do with personal therapy than anything worthwhile to read.

Hopefully I'll see this one through and make something of it.

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Winning the National Novel Writing Month challenge

I was way behind at the start of today for my National Novel Writing Month novel. I should have been had around 1,667 words to go but I lost a couple days and haven't been writing as much as I'd hoped so I started the day with 3,143 words to go after finishing a 2,670 day and a 1,931 day before that — all above average. But I have persevered, and accomplished the goal with 50,098 words written. That count will probably stay if I don't update my profile again before the end of the day.

NaNoWriMo 2007 Winner

I had been reading the inspirational messages from published authors — the website sent them out about once a week — and somewhere in the halfway point, they all seemed to get mired in writer's block. At the time, I felt pretty good. My progress was steady and although I didn't know where things would go or where I'd finish, I could always keep moving. The authors said that was important and I took it to heart.

Well unfortunately, it appears those days are upon me now. Writing slowed to a crawl after Thanksgiving, and I started having doubts. I guess I have a vague goal of where I think things will go, but I don't want to put too heavy a hand on it. I get the impression that things around this point are dogging (and should you ever get to read it in some form and this scene survives, they headed to a coffee shop before going out dancing.) It seems the action is dreadfully slow — my god, will they ever get to the fucking club? But no, I've got to write dialog that plausibly consumes about the right amount of time. At least by my rough estimate. Who knows … it might take days for them to speak it all, but to me it's all done in half-hour bursts. Hell, do people really talk all that much?

So now comes the really hard part. I've finished the challenge and got half a novel sitting here. I no longer feel compelled to write every day thousands of words, so now what? I think I'd like to finish it, but will it just sit on a shelf? I sure hope not … it would be nice to be done with the first draft in the next few weeks, but who knows. At least I gotta get those folks out of that coffee shop before they're stuck there for all of eternity.

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Living vicariously

This National Novel Writing Month thing is really taking all my time. Well, not really … it's just taking up some time I had been spending mucking around with the Colorado Burning Man mailing list. So it should be a wash.

The trouble is, I'm starting to live vicariously through my characters. They're all having such a good time that I'd rather just stay home and find out what they're going to do next. Of course, it's my novel, so — surprise — they end up hanging out at a bar talking a lot. Whether it's realistic or good, I don't know, but at least I'm keeping with it.

I need 5,000 words every three days to hit the 50K by the end of the month. Ideally I'd like to be ahead by a little bit so I could take a day off, but so far I'm just barely treading water. I imagine that at some point I'll stall out and that will probably piss me off. I'm not looking forward to that.

At least I'm saving money because it's way cheaper to write about people going to clubs and drinking at a bar than it is to actually do it yourself. It's also funny how I happened to stop by Lux LoungeMySpace link (666 South Ave.) last weekend and was disappointed that it wasn't anything like the idealized place I'm writing about. But then again, I don't want to write about the reality of it all … it's the most excellent parts that are what draw me to it.

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Writing a novel this month

Last year I signed up for National Novel Writing Month but I never even started writing anything. This year I told myself I'd commit to it. The gist is to try and write a 50,000 word novel in the month of November. Obviously, it's not about writing the best novel, just a novel. My profile includes the stats for how far I've come so far. Yesterday I wrote 1455 words which is short of the 1667 needed to hit 50K in 30 days, but it's a start.

I titled it "Memoirs of an Idealist". I'm trying to embrace the philosophy of starting from a kernel and letting it grow on its own. I also have no illusions that this will be any less "semi-autobiographical" than any other author's first novel. And in so, I'm drawing from my inner demons — the ones that wake me up at 3 in the morning and present me with an impossible situation to challenge my ideals. They follow the same theme of trying to crush my individuality, whether it's an authority trying to make a uniform world, or some jerk trying to impose their ideals.

Writing the first chapter was painful to think back on. I just forged ahead with almost no editing. It was horrifying. I didn't go back to fix any missing parts or to try and fill in details I thought I'd needed. But by the end of it, things are starting to flesh out. I've got inklings of several characters and I have no idea what they will do or be like yet.

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