The Bag Means Your Mind

A delightful mix of insightful comments and ignorant assumptions about screenwriting... and such.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Back from the Dead

Yeah, I know it’s been forever and a day since I last posted. Things have gotten all balled up at head office and I’m mired in my third draft. I’ve been crawling along, stuck in Act I, trying to re-imagine scenes and implement some new story ideas that will make everything more dynamic. As I’m slugging through hedge country I discovered something.

Writing is hard. I know I know. We’re supposed to have these ideas that fall down on us from the heavens. We write them down and turn them in for barrels of cash. Well I’m here to tell you, shockingly, that it isn’t so. The check isn’t in the mail. Devastating news to be sure, but somehow, I’ll soldier on.

My current crisis involves my efforts to add a little complexity to the script. A script is a puzzle. Many writers have devoted ample blogspace to this idea, but I’ll offer my spin just the same.

My conundrum is this: Does the piece I’m working on have to be shaped or is it the surrounding pieces that need shaping? Indeed perhaps the whole puzzle is wrong except for my lone piece. Writing these scenes is a hard task, but how hard is too hard? At what point do I give up on the piece throwing it out for another? This is not a good place to be, my friends.

During the writing of a story, pieces will become locked. They are the foundation of the story. As you get closer to that fantasy place called “done,” more and more pieces get locked until the entire story is an impenetrable fortress.

Theoretically, no piece should be locked and the writer should remain free to change anything at any time.


I’m sorry I just can’t do it that way. I need to feel some sort of progression. I have to at least believe that I’m on the right track. Otherwise I’m just spinning wheels.

Right now I’m generally happy with my main character’s progression throughout the story. Now I’m trying to add some texture to the other characters. Creating a story for them is difficult because every move has to jive with the main character’s story. It all has to fit together. . . like a puzzle. Will the madness ever end?*

* No, it won't.

Labels: ,