The reason why

sunset-holden
Only a slight connection here. I just like referencing this movie.

The busy times never stop around Maximum Z HQ. Among the latest tasks being undertaken:

-Rewrite/overhaul of the low-budget comedy

-Sporadic rewrite work on the pulp sci-fi spec, with initial sets of notes being carefully scrutinized

-Crafting together some pretty solid query letters, along with researching the best places to send them

-Jotting down notes for several future projects, including a comedic take on one of my favorite genres

-Providing scriptnotes to patient writer colleagues

You’d think with all of this going on, plus the non-writing normal life, I’d be exhausted.

Actually, I am, but it’s cool.

The way I see it, keeping busy like this helps me be a better writer; continuously working on something helps me be productive and further develop my skills.

Sure, somtimes the amount of actual writing is bare minimum, or maybe even not at all, but that’s okay too. All work and no play and all that.

Most importantly, I’m just getting a real kick out of doing it. If I wasn’t, I’d be a lot less likely to want to keep going.

And there are also days where it all gets so frustrating that I want to just walk away from it all. But I like doing it to much to even consider that.

Some recent interactions I’ve had with other writers have included more than a few of them expressing frustration about their diminishing hopes of making headway with breaking in and getting a writing career going.

I feel for them. I really do. As just about any writer will attest, this is not an easy undertaking. “It’s a marathon, not a sprint,” right?

Even though all of our chances are somewhat slim, I suggested they keep at it, if only for the sheer joy of writing. Isn’t that what got us all started?

When I asked one writer how their latest project was going, the response was “Really enjoying working on this, even though I know nobody else will ever see it.”

I totally get that. We all have our reasons for deciding whether or not to put our work out there, but the important thing was that they were having a good time with it. And you can tell if they were by what’s there on the page. It it was a chore for you to write, it’ll be that much more of a chore for us to read. Is that really the route you want to take?

So no matter what it is you’re working on right now, I sincerely hope that it’s bringing you as much joy and pleasure as you’re hoping to provide to your reader/audience.

Feeling triumphant, if only for a few minutes

By the time you finish reading this sentence, I'll already have gotten back to work
By the time you finish reading this sentence, I’ll already have gotten back to work

Well, it’s done. I got to type in those glorious words “Fade Out”, thus bringing to a close the massive rewrite of the western.

The script now clocks in at a respectable 114 pages. No reason a few more can’t be trimmed with some diligent editing and polishing.

Normally this would be the part where I’d say how long this has taken, but to be honest, I really don’t know. I haven’t been keeping track. Two months, maybe? Something like that.

But the important thing is that I got it done. What a grand feeling of accomplishment. It’s quite nice.

All that work and effort has paid off, resulting in a pretty solid piece of material to show for it (if I do say so myself).

As much as I’d like to sit back, rest on my laurels and enjoy the moment a little longer, there’s still a lot of work to be done. Once this latest round of editing is done, the call goes out to friends and trusted colleagues for feedback, which will no doubt result in more editing and polishing. And then it’s on to shelling out some bucks for professional notes.

From there? I don’t know. Contests? Query letters? That stage is pretty far down the line, so not too worried about it just yet. Right now it’s all about making the script as bulletproof as it can be.

During this entire time, when the opportunities present themselves, work resumes on the low-budget comedy, the mystery-comedy and possibly the pulpy adventure. Feeling confident at least one, possibly two, could be done by the end of the year.

All part of the never-ending process.

Have you no imagination?

"You'd have turned down Gone With The Wind." "No, that was me. I said, "Who wants to see a Civil War picture?""
“You’d have turned down Gone With The Wind.” “No, that was me. I said, “Who wants to see a Civil War picture?””

It’s still an uphill climb with a few gaps here and there, but the overall story for the low-budget comedy is coming together.

I’m making a point of not rushing through it and being extra careful – almost to the point of meticulous – about how all the pieces interconnect.  The more I work on it, the more the phrase “French farce” comes to mind, so lots of interweaving storylines, the intersecting of character paths, and the ramifications of each character’s actions on the others. At least that’s my interpretation.

A challenge, to say the least, but it’s been a fun ride so far.

A last-minute surprise factor was this response to the logline on an online forum:  “It’s so straightforward now it’s hard to believe you could sustain interest through 100 pages.”

I’d like to thank that person for throwing down the gauntlet in making me work even harder than I already was. Never underestimate the motivational power of “Oh yeah? Just you wait and see what I can do.”

But back to the bigger issue. Statements like these always make me wonder about the person who says/writes them.

I never cared for the “I don’t see how this could be a story” line of reasoning.  That tells me you lack vision and creativity. Just because you think it won’t work doesn’t mean it won’t. Nobody thought GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY would do well and look what happened.

Side note – My western received a handful of reader responses along the lines of “This isn’t factually or historically accurate, so I just couldn’t get into it.” They’re entitled to their opinions, but I feel bad about their inability to just sit back and enjoy an old-fashioned ripping yarn. Although one person was gracious enough to admit at the end of their comments “It would be better if you just ignore everything I’ve just said.” Consider it done.

Always remember the sage advice of William Goldman: Nobody knows anything.

I’m all for encouraging other writers. If your idea interests or excites me, I’ll tell you. If it doesn’t, I’ll explain why not and make suggestions of potential fixes. The last thing I want to do is discourage you or give you a lecture, and you sure as hell don’t want to hear one.

My criteria is pretty simple: If I read somebody’s logline or hear their story pitch and can instantly imagine the potential within that story, and more importantly, if it sounds like something I would want to see, then they’ve succeeded and gotten over the first hurdle.

Of course, having the actual script live up to or possibly even surpass expectations is another thing.