Wednesday, April 29, 2015

A Surprisingly Successful, Non-Writing Script Frenzy

Well, this year's Script Frenzy ended up being equal parts successful and complete fail. I know I still have today and tomorrow, but I haven't touched the script in weeks now, so I think we can assume I'm done for the month. Done and with only about 10 pages of script written. The worse that I've ever done with Script Frenzy.

To be fair, I did try a format I've never attempted before. A format I was never taught how to write in. Thank God for Celtx having a sample comic book in its archives so I had a base to go off of. It definitely helped, and so I feel accomplished in that regard.

Actually, even though this month was sort of fail, I don't feel like a failure at all; especially compared to past years. I am taking a lot of pride in the fact that I pushed myself to try comic book writing. Pride in the fact that I'm teaching myself how to write in that format. Pride in the fact that I was able to get ten pages done in one month. Granted, I could have done a lot more if I had all my ducks in a row first, but it's still something.

Also, I can take pride in the fact that I was working on the story - in some shape or form - nearly every day. Well, if I'm being honest, I didn't really work on the comic this past week, but I'll get to that in a bit. Point is, I pushed myself this month, and I call that a great success.

Script Frenzy isn't an official program any longer. Sure, I could participate in a Script-Frenzy-Like writing experience in November instead of writing a novel during NaNo, but still doing so in April is big. I don't have the support group of other Frenziers. I don't have the website keeping track of my progress: the countdown to the end of the month and the progress bar as I crept towards 100 pgs. While I petitioned members of both my own writing group and Writers’ Huddle, I think only one person said he'd participate with me. And we didn't get a chance to really talk this month in order to encourage each other and push each other to continue.

So I didn't really have a support group writing along side me and pushing me forward - not to say I didn't have supporters throughout the month, but it's different when they're going through the experience with you.

As I already emphasized, I also pushed myself by writing a comic book instead of a stage or screen play like I normally would; like I was taught how. Writing something I didn't know how to and with no one guiding me. That's big for me.

I also pushed myself to finally write my X-Future reboot. It was a project I've been working on for a year now, but I never really put anything official down on paper. Yeah, it's because I was world building, but I could have had a lot more figured out by now. Just about everything I stalled on during this month could have been decided back around Thanksgiving. I had been slacking. I kept telling myself "I'll get to it when I'm inspired to" or "It will be written eventually, there's no real rush". Well, now there was a rush. I couldn't procrastinate any longer. I needed to finish world building and I needed to have it done NOW.

Plus, when I hit my first brick wall I could have just stopped completely. Granted, I DID stop completely; I haven't really written anything else since I hit that wall, but it's different. Different because last year I probably would have focused on anything else. I would grumble at the blank pages and whine about how I wasn't making progress. I would get down on myself for being so far behind on my goal. I would have failed in my resolve to keep writing, and then I would doubt that I actually was a writer.


This year I pushed through. I used the fact that I was stonewalled by my lack of world building as the drive to keep world building. I pushed myself to get things sorted out so I could continue writing. I mean, it didn't work that way. I never did go back to writing, but that doesn't matter.

I have a lot of new stuff figured out now. Stuff I probably would still be stalling on figuring out if I hadn't attempted Script Frenzy this year. Between that and the fact that I WAS working on this story - in some shape or form - for the vast majority of the month... I consider that a success!

Now, back to that earlier disclaimer about not working on the X-Future reboot this past week. I was stuck. Plus, I needed something to keep me entertained while I waited for Hubby to get out of work on Sunday. See, more often than not our work keeps him past his scheduled time in order to finish the job he does on the overnights. I go to pick him up when he's scheduled to be done, and sometimes I'm waiting around for two hours. Well, I don't have Celtx on my smartphone, but I DO have Google Docs. So, Sundays - while waiting for Hubby - is usually my days to work on Please, Let Me Explain.

I don't know if it's because I got in to a groove, or if it was sparked by finally talking to the elusive Ronoxym again, but I just couldn't let go of this story. I couldn't wait until Sunday to continue working on it.

Starting at the very first word once more, I read through the whole story up until the POV switch. See, most of the story is in Devon's POV, but right around the section that Ron stopped writing it switches over to Willow's. I stopped my edits at the POV switch. Once I have the latest chapter up I'll work on that next bit.

Anyway, the point is that I tore the story apart. I took notes - literal notes, on a legal pad and everything - of what Devon and Willow said to each other. This way I don't lose track of what was said, and I could keep reminding myself what was going on in each of their heads.
Man, my handwriting sucks...
I'm equal parts super glad and kinda bummed that I decided to critically analyze the story like this.

On the one hand, I found a few typos and sentences I needed to rework. So that's great; except some of them are in the earlier sections that I already published. Whoops. I'm also glad because the story got so long, and with so many different times that Devon and Willow talked, that we actually DID lose track of what was already said. Once or twice Devon repeated himself while explaining his side of the story. Once or twice Willow did the same while yelling at Devon. It's fine to repeat one's self; it's not alright to do so while making it seem like it was the first time it was said. I'm sure my readers would have picked up on that a lot faster than we did.... Whoops again.

I'm also glad I was so meticulous this go because I found a semi-major plot hole in our story while going back through the dialogue. So, yay that I caught it before publishing that part! Also, boooo, because now we have to figure out how to rework a huge chunk of the story. It would be the second half of the latest chapter, so pretty much the entire third-quarter of the story Ron wrote so far. Super duper whoops.

See, I never noticed before that Willow changes her tune in that third-quarter of the story. It only JUST occurred to me that everything that happened in that part of the story more-or-less ignored the huge scene of Willow talking to Devon in his cell. Aside from being caught up in the current dialogue, I'm not entirely sure how we missed this opinion switch before. I've also noticed that she was acting a bit more "Lia-like" in this part of the story as well. So, now I have even MORE work to do. *sigh*

I've also become acutely aware of the fact that I was head-hopping. Not sure what head-hopping is? Check out this article Ali Luke wrote about it:
Do You Head-Hop? Getting Third Person Point of View Right

I want to stress that I am the one with the head-hopping problem. Mainly because I'm used to writing Third Person Omniscient. Those who have read my "Hey, Arnold!" fanfiction know I love delving deep in to the thoughts of my characters. Especially during arguments, so that the reader knows where everyone is coming from. It helps keep everyone relatable and sympathetic. So - if it were up to me - I probably would have stayed Omniscient in PLME.

Thing is, the story was Ron's baby. He was writing the story through Devon's POV; obviously, since Devon is his character. I interjected Willow in to the story. Because of that collaborating set-up, the story was mostly writen in Devon's POV. Which means the times that I imputted Willow's would be considered head-hopping. It's not an even split.

I was able to go through and weed out most of the Willow head hops. However, there are a LOT of sentences still where I have no clue. Am I head hopping in to Willow? Is Devon just observant enough that he can tell? How do I know for sure? How do I fix it without messing with the intensity of the moment?

I submitted these questions - in a manner of speaking - to the fine folks over at Writers' Huddle. It kept a few days, but two Huddlers responded to me on Monday. I have some work to do, but at least I now know where I went wrong, and I have a direction on how to fix it.

So, I'm going to be busy. Between fixing my head hops and then figuring out how to rewrite the plot-hole-oops problem.... Yup. Busy. On the plus side, I think I have a good start on the later.

This story will truly be the death of me, but I love it all the same. It's really driving me, and it's a great learning experience. I'm figuring out how to work with a collaborator. I'm doing some major editing. Probably the most hard-core, tear-it-to-shreds, complete-rework editing I have ever done in my life. It's a practice I really needed to work on. I'm also learning to rein in my adverb usage and honing in on my Third Person Limited skills; e.g. preventing myself from head hopping.

So, I'm super glad Ron let me in on his project last year. I'm just sorry if in hijacking it I ended up killing his motivation. He was so excited about it and had it more-or-less finished in his head. Then I derailed him.... I should have let him finish the story first, I think.


OH! Before I forget, I said in my blog last week that I'd let you know what the organization name was that Phfylburt came up with. So, after we had a conversation about the whole thing, we agreed that GPS is the perfect accronym. First of all, it's sorta-techy, which really works in a cyberpunk story setting. Second, they are in charge of locating Glitches. Third, I could have fun using GPS brands as street nicknames for them. For instance, instead of Popo, they would be called TomToms. It's corny, but I like it.

We struggled a little trying to figure out exactly what the P and the S stood for; it was a given G was for Glitch. Eventually Phfyl landed on Glitch Placement Services. It's a non-threatening government-agency-sounding name. It explains what they do: round up Glitches and move them in to ghettos to control and "protect" them. I like it.

Alright, well, I have a bit more free time this week, so I guess I have some writing to do. Farewell, Script Frenzy. We didn't go as far as I would have liked - I never even finished the pages I plotted out - but you still helped me accomplish much this month. Here's to high productivity continuing on throughout the year!

No comments:

Post a Comment