My winter doldrums, writing-wise, have done their best to slow me down. And for the first week of my holidays, they did a very good job. But I’ve started digging into a script, and I’m making some great progress.
The script is a follow-up episode to a comedic pilot I wrote over the summer, Characters. I finished the back half of the pilot in September, and used that spurt of creative energy to write a second script in the series. I’ve always had some issues with it, though, and my main beta reader felt the same way. I enjoyed the opening half of it, but the plot and humour completely fell apart as it sped to resolution. So, rather than try to spruce up scenes that were simply wrong, I decided to tackle a draft with everything after page 13 on the cutting room floor, and to start Act 2 anew.
So far, it has been successful. At least, the pages are better than those they replace, and feel more on tone to the show they’re attached to. I’m sitting on page 20, with up to ten pages to wrap things up. My block now, thankfully, is not being able to access the voices of the characters, or a lack of writing energy. It’s merely the issue of working out a sufficiently clever way to close off the episode plot-wise.
The strategies I used to move from doldrums to inspiration were pretty simple:
Freewriting: As I’ve written before, freewriting is an excellent way to push through a block. Forcing myself into an act of pure creation without the weights of necessity, consistency or logic sometimes helps me unlock my creative energies. I can think visually, focus on making those images as evocative and interesting as possible, and explore ideas about story and character as they come to me, rather than working from an established outline. Two pages was all I needed, last night, to kickstart my brain into working on established projects.
For the curious, you can read the product of last night’s freewriting here.
Rereading: I read over the pages I’d written, in order to plan strategies for how to revise it. For this particular script, I had a full draft I could read over and feel out. I also had the forethought, before I left for the holidays, to print out the full draft so that I might read over a paper copy. That helped me settle down at 2am and read over my work, giving me the chance to enjoy where I succeeded and groan where I failed.
Strategise: I realised that my main problems with the script didn’t lay with the first half. It was roughly the same quality of the pilot, I found; whether that was good or bad relied on who had read it. The back half, however, was killing any momentum or fun from the script. There was little humour, what was there wasn’t funny, and it sacrificed the best potential plot for an extended ‘joke’ that was neither clear nor funny. It culminated in everyone running around like mad and a hard-to-follow action sequence. So I cut the entire problematic section out, saving it to a PDF of the previous draft, and started anew.
Write: When I had a battle plan, I immediately dug into the writing so as to not lose my hold on the writing energy. I plowed through three pages before falling alseep, and wrote the same amount today. And once I figure out the conclusion, I fully intend on pushing through right to the end of the script without pause. Momentum is a hard thing to build up, and a terrible thing to waste.