So, I hit my 20 page mark [re: The Tagalong]. It wasn't very hard, as you might imagine - it's never hard to add things, after all. That it happened surprised me, though, as I never really felt like I was adding things... sitting down to work on the script each night this week, I felt more like I clipping, and was actually worried that this early in the process I might be clipping a little too much. So I did something rare for me, and saved a copy of my original marathon run-through on the script [the thing that usually doesn't survive past the first read].
Depending on what kind of thing I'm working on depends on how much I save from previous drafts. I'm just not that taken with most bits I cut, and usually the "killing all my darlings" thing only comes in very late in the proofreading/editing stage for me. I can't think of any compelling reason for that - immaturity, probably, because when I write something that I actually like or think is clever, I do tend to want to keep it. There's a line in this that's like that, that I imagine will not make it to the final draft. We'll see.
Tried to take a break working on this last night. Failed miserably at that. Tonight, it's been a bit better. Talked to some people, read a little, did some work on the book review I have due next week. Doesn't hurt to get outside of "Tagalong" headspace.
It feels almost... shoddy to me, how quickly this came together. Admittedly, I've put in several nights, but this is a pretty rapid pace I've kept up, not odd for me in grand scheme, but odd for me lately. "Nova" took a couple of weeks to finish to a working script point, and that's not counting the months of polishing and the mad editing I did to get it to 25 pages. Which, I guess could still happen here. Hopefully not for as long. But I am still in the honeymoon period.
The process hasn't felt as solitary either. I mean, it's writing, it's always solitary. That's typically unavoidable. Hell, even collaborations have solo aspects. But Twitter, as much as people like to bad mouth it, has actually been kind of good this past week. There are times, when working, when you kind of just want to bang your head against the wall and scream like a mental patient, or just have someone to say one of the repetitive things that have been running through your head all night - so being able to post it there, whether people acknowledge it or not, takes a little bit of the edge off [Twitter's new slogan - not a stiff drink, but a healthy alternative]. Less pacing. Less moving around. Hell, even I'm surprised to say it, but the internet has, at least for this project, been the opposite of a distraction.
One of my college literature professors, the immensely talented writer Christopher Miller [good reads here], he joined Twitter this past week, and it was just so... nice that he was there, because I've been having this hang-up lately where in dialogue, I just sort of choke whenever a character says "I love you." And it's not a new problem, back when I was in a class with Chris it had come up before, and what he said back then was sort of a game changer that got me comfortable thinking about how and what people say in situations like that. With the phobia returning, Chris offered up this bit from Mamet, which was just spot-on what I needed, and I'm sharing it here because... it's a damn good point, made by one author and passed on from another.
Chris: Advice from Mamet: "People may or may not say what they mean, but they always say something designed to get what they want."
Chris: I.e., it doesn't matter whether or not your characters MEAN it, as long as it's plausible that they would SAY it.
And maybe there was just something in the air, but one of my favorite comic book writers right now, Kieron Gillen, one of the many talented persons behind the CBGBs comic I liked so much, and the guy writing my new favorite teen X-Men book, Generation Hope, was also talking about writing, and his process, and also about how he always tries to avoid using songs as titles for stories. His reasoning was just not wanting the medium to feel any more derivative, but his point was, more than anyone else following his rules, was how important it was for writers to have rules of their own, boundaries that may seem restrictive, but push you, even in a small way, to do things others aren't doing. I mentioned in response that I was trying to eliminate instances of characters talking to themselves when no one was around, a common trope that annoys the piss out of me, because only in a handful of situations do people really talk to themselves like that. I didn't expect him to see my response, because honestly, the dude writes for Marvel, and has a lot on his plate, so imagine my surprise when, upon mentioning a day or so later I'd already broken my own rule, he replied back "It was a good one, but a fucking hard one."
Always nice to get encouragement from writers you respect, look up to. I know it gave me a bit of charge, got me back to work. In both cases neither Chris or Gillen had to go out of their way, but even their little bit of help meant a lot, the acknowledgment got me going again, and I appreciate that. It's easy as a writer to put people on these levels, where your heroes and your teachers and the successful are kind of unreachable, and your peers, not all of your peers mind you, but some of them come across like they want to impede your work, as if there's some sort of adversarial relationship there [which is, by the way, a poisonous way to look at writing, or any creative endeavor]. But small courtesies can go a long way.
So thank you, Chris. For a lot more than just this one thing, I should probably say. And to Kieron Gillen. I appreciate it.
I've sent the short off to a few people. Not many. If anyone else is interested in seeing it who I didn't think of, or get it to, feel free to e-mail me, comment here, etc. Always interested in readers, feedback... though I might put you off until I get one more draft under my belt.
More soon. Cheers.
P.S. I removed the Google Search Bar from the blog. It's not been working properly since 2010 ended, so I'm not screwing with it anymore. Hopefully, I'll find an alternative, or something that'll make going through my archives easier.