I be a good righter.

Monday, May 15, 2006

An Asparagus Tip

Okay where did that last non sequitur post about dialogue come from? Well, my friends, it came from deep inside my neurotic, addled, completely freaked out that I'm an unoriginal hack writer, brain.

See, I do this thing. I've always called it the "Vomit Draft." (Apparently, this is not a new term). Where you literally regurgitate everything onto the page. And, yesterday, in writing this draft, I spewed chunks. I wrote a particularly bad line of dialogue, which got me thinking about good lines of dialogue (or the dialogue I wasn't writing yesterday -- nor will I write today).

The problem with this way of writing is: You know it's going to get better as it's rewritten. But, you also know it's crap right now. And, really? Who likes writing crap? Those of you who write like this (I know a lot of people who do) know how difficult it is. You watch yourself type placeholder lines into Final Draft, full of exposition, and on-the-noseyness. You know you'll figure it all out later. "But, the important thing," I tell myself, "is that I've just got to get the story out."

I don't really like to talk about my stories to other people. To workshop ideas-in-progress. Because, inevitably, I'll feel that the story's been told. By telling it, it relieves me of my necessary anxiety to get the story onto the page. Last week, I accidentally told my story to a friend. Because I had some concerns about it. I'd realized that a major plot point (after brilliantly coming up with this idea) of another show was the major plot point of this show. Well, kind of. Obviously, I can't talk about it, otherwise I seriously will not get any writing done on it. The friend I'd told (hate her for doing this), used my own words against me! Bitch. Around here, that's a word of love.

The dealio is: There's a short story called "We Can Remember It For You Wholesale." Written by Phillip K. Dick. This particular short story has sired three entirely different movies:

1. Total Recall
2. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
3. Paycheck

I'd mentioned this revelation to my friend a while back. So, here I am, struggling with the fact that my major plot reveal is very similar to that major plot point in another popular series. And, she reminds me of the short story. She reminds me that the way I write my spec will most likely end up being totally different from the series. After all, that series doesn't have a trademark on the condition I'm using to motivate a murderer to murder. Yet, I can't help feeling like a total unoriginal hack.

So, I'm sitting here in a pool of self-doubt. And, it's magnifying the vomit in the Vomit Draft -- apparently it ate asparagus... and I'm blogging instead of writing. Even with the deadline looming. By Thursday I need to have vomited this draft, and rewritten it -- not enough time to come up with a new idea.

And, frankly, I just feel nauseous.


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