A little glimpse into that which is writer purgatory

4 Apr

(Previously, on Sunday, August 2: There was much tossing and turning with no results.  Tried to conceive new story idea to write about but came up empty, and at approximately 8pm gave up and returned to old stinky script to rewrite.  Stared at it blankly for 3 hours.)

Monday, August 3, 2009

9:00am – Wakey, wakey.  Time for breakfast and chores.

10:00am – That’ll do.  Time to rewrite the script you’ve already spent a week writing.  Set myself up on the patio and came up with two other alternate opening ideas.  But which one?

1:30pm – Not hungry for lunch, but finish a couple more chores and grab a little snack.

2:15pm – Chose lead actress for film: Katherine Heigl.  She’ll have to go brunette.

3:00pm – Oops.  Supposed to be at an Act One party a half hour away.  I am such a Scrooge.  But I’ll regret it more in the morning…

6:00pm – Discover I’m not the only Act Oner not at the party.  The real party is going on on Facebook, where real writers are venting about their script issues.  And cupcakes.  Pass my three different script options to a friend back home who isn’t already as jaded by them as I am.

6:30pm – Hostess comes home from work.  When she hears that after two days of work I’m only two pages in, she offers me a glass of wine.  We sit on the patio and talk squirrels and dogs…while my brain avoids what waits for me.

7:30pm – Host comes home.  Wine glass empty.  Back to the salt mines.

9:15pm – Check Facebook.  It’s like angry ants out there.  I’m hungry.

10:00pm – I manage to escape from my computer long enough to drive to In-N-Out for a burger and much needed Diet Coke.  Take the long way back to refresh my brain.  Take pictures from my car on dark streets which scares the natives.

10:50pm – Back home.  Revived.  Caffeine courses through my veins.  But it’s not enough to resolve my problem: Option 2 of my revised opening ends differently than Option 1…which means that the scenes after it no longer make sense in the order they are in.  But they are written for that order.  What do I do?


Scribble outline notes like a mental patient.

Juggle this scene.

Juggle that scene.

12:00am – Return to the Writers Support Group a.k.a. Facebook.  Why can’t I be as witty with my script as I am at late night banter?  Advil.  My head hurts pretty bad after so many hours in front of the computer.




Back to square one.  Again.

1:00am – Write a blog post about it hoping it will jar the right side of my brain to do something with these scripts!

3:00am – Still refining.  Getting closer.

3:30am – Stopping for the night.  Emailing OK for final opinions.  Will check my mail and make my final decision in the morning.


BONUS: Actual FB conversations direct from writer purgatory:

Jennifer White  FADE IN:
JENNIFER, 34, flops backward on the bed in frustration. Her arms fling “The Hollywood Standard” on top of her head.
(to herself)
Don’t. Move.
She lies still. Maybe this way the words will fall off the page into her head. Maybe Chris Riley’s talent will do the same. She SIGHS.
7 hours ago

M.O. I had nine pages written this afternoon. Scratched everything and started again at 4:30. It’s going to be a rough night.
3 hours ago
G.G. I heard that.
We had four pages written last night, scrapped every word and started all over again. Not as rough as 9 at 4:30 though.
3 hours ago
L.C. Bummer. I’m on page 5.
3 hours ago
K.B. I hate it when that happens.
3 hours ago
Jennifer White I almost had Diet Coke coming out my nose when I read that. I’m so glad I’m not the only one in rewriting purgatory.
3 hours ago
Jennifer White I’ve chosen the actress I want to play my lead character. Does that count?
3 hours ago
L.C. I’m really impressed with all you re-writers. I’m just trying to get stuff on paper (or into the computer, I guess).
3 hours ago
L.C. That’s awesome, Jennifer. (I am way over-using the word “awesome” today, including in my script pages. What’s up with that??)
3 hours ago
S.T. “Turtles in a half shell – turtle power”
2 hours ago

M.O. Where do first drafts go when they die?
3 hours ago
M.H. i can think of a few places…
3 hours ago
Jennifer White We do not speak of it. The Place That Must Not Be Named.
about an hour ago

S.T. is page 9 bound and wondering just how many explosions he can fit into 10 pages of a screenplay.
2 hours ago
S.D. Many.
about an hour ago
D.G. We’ve got 5 so far. Tee hee.
about an hour ago
L.C. I’m pretty stuck halfway through 7.
about an hour ago
Jennifer White Personally, I’m trying to squeeze in ninjas. Need more ninjas. Romantic comedies set in England never have enough.
about an hour ago
L.C. That’s what I need! Thanks, Jennifer! S. – at least 1 per page …
about an hour ago
Jennifer White I thought there was a one per scene minimum. ‘What is An Act One Film?’ and all that.
about an hour ago
S.T. KA-BOOM! Yeah, that phrase is actually in the script!
about an hour ago

(Cross-posted at Tumblr.)

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