Writing is a lot like eating a Reese’s. There’s no wrong way to bite into your script (so long as you don’t swallow the staples). Lots of times you think you’ve finally got the trick down, then the next day you’re as stumped as always.
So while this article from That Action Guy (Brian Logan, you’re internet skimming skills have impressed me once again) goes against the lessons of virtually every professor I’ve had, I’ve got to post it anyway. Because frankly, I’m realizing most of the stuff I’ve been taught is someone’s guess as to how you should write. All you really have to do is type and keep at it.
In the article, “To Outline or Not to Outline,” Timothy Hallinan talks of the merit of surprising yourself. Sometimes outlining lends a rigid story, one lacking discovery and…oomph? gusto? I don’t know, I didn’t really think about what I was going to say there.
I like the idea of discovering as you go. It’s still good to have the basic skeleton in your mind: Understand your characters, map out the main plot points. A lot of times, the first few ideas aren’t the most fitting. You have to be open to listening to the needs of your story. You know, ask it how its day is going. See if there’s anything you can do to make it better.
The greatest part is the real story comes together during the revision process. If you find you hate your new idea the day after writing it, cut it out. Who cares? Even with outlining, you’re going to do this at some point. So don’t be afraid to go to new places, even the ones you never thought you’d go. There’s not point in holding yourself back just because that new ending wasn’t on the itinerary.
As noted, maybe this will work sometimes, maybe it won’t. Give it a try. Why not?
This video almost makes me wish I watched the Emmys. Then again, apparently no one did. So for the millions who missed it, here you go:
I don’t believe I have to emphasize the inglorious life of a writer. It’s the one instance you can judge a book by its cover. That skinny, pale, hunchback you see on the train everyday? Yup. That’s a writer.
Of course, we all dream — whether we admit it or not — of some level or recognition, of fame, money, whatever. There’s always this notion that one day we’ll find success and that will be that. We’ll have creative control, never having to bow down to a producer or editor giving notes or compromise our artistic integrity. Usually the day we’re faced with a reality check comes first.
I figure it’s probably better to get that reality check earlier than later. So, here I am, destroying all your dreams. Nah, I kid. But here’s a link from That Action Guy (a great blog for writing, by the way) to highlight the ridiculous life that can only belong to a writer, as told by novelist and screenwriter (and one-time contestant on Fox TV’s Sexiest Bachelor in America) Ben Mezrich.
The truth is, writing a novel can be painful and horrid. It’s like having a stomach virus that lasts three months: you’re hunched over your desk, heaving again and again, trying to get the last bit out, but it just won’t come. On the other hand, some elements of this business are incredible, fulfilling, glamorous, and life-changing. There’s no better feeling in the world than seeing your work on the bookstore shelves for the first time. I may never write the Great American Novel. Likewise, I may never reach the status of John Grisham or Michael Crichton. But I will always follow the advice I got from Mr. Louisiana (a bodybuilder/model/retail broker), a fellow contestant in Fox’s Sexiest Bachelor pageant. “You’ve got to shake what your mamma gave you.” — Ben Mezrich
Some industry news for the day:
It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia refills the pitcher tonight on FX with the fourth season premiere “Mac and Dennis: Manhunters.” I’ve tried my best to limit the amount of reviews I can read before the show airs, so the only info I have at the moment is that it’s about cannibalism and it’s very dark and funny. When I see it, I’ll try and write up my thoughts. Again, I don’t have internet or cable in my own apartment, so no promises.
For now, go get a few beers at Paddy’s Pub. You want to be in the gang’s mindset while watching.
Elsewhere on premium cable another hunt begins:
According to Variety, David Simon and Tom Fontana ditch their usual gangs for Manhunt, a miniseries about the 12-day hunt for James Wilkes Booth after he killed some president or something.
What’s most intriguing to me is that the project will focus heavily on the media’s treatment of Lincoln’s assassination. If I know Simon — and, you know, I don’t personally, but I’ve seen his work — he’ll certainly have a lot to say on the subject. He places a lot of stock in research, and coupling this with his background in journalism, we should be treated to a very raw look at the media in the 1860s and how its influenced our perspective on the assassination. Whoops, drooling on my keyboard already.
I leave you now with a link to where you can get your very own Greenman costume, as seen on It’s Always Sunny. Hope you all get a chance to catch the new season. Again, it starts tonight at 10 on FX.