Earlier this month, I went to Kansas City for a writer’s retreat. As I bemoaned in my Feb. 25th post, I haven’t written anything new in quite some time. Commencing a new script always feels a bit daunting. Add to that the weight of self-doubt and the task of tapping keys on my keyboard feels like an attempt to summit Everest.
So Kansas City was necessary to jump-start the writing process. It was just a buddy of mine and me. My friend has read everything I’ve written and is familiar with the kinds of scripts I like to write. Over dinner, we talked about the story. He'd ask questions, tell me what parts didn’t make sense, demand better answers, make suggestions and then he’d be quiet and let me work. When I needed a break, we’d go out and get BBQ or see a movie.
In the three days I was there, I was able to hone the story, better define the characters, and write about 25 pages. It was an all-around success. Since that weekend, I’ve been working on the script a little every day. I currently have about 65 pages written with another 35-40 pages to go.
This story has flowed in a way I did not expect. And while I would not use the word “easy,” it has been significantly less arduous than anticipated.
The key in a first draft is not to look back. I’ve learned I can kill hours re-reading and editing what I’ve already written. So I have to force myself not to scroll back. Keep writing forward. The re-writing process is a beast of its own. For now, it’s about putting ideas on the page and not judging them.
This story has surprised me as I’ve been working on it. I’ve discovered new characters along the way and revelations about my protagonist that I didn’t see when I conceived the story. This is what makes the writing process so exciting and rewarding.
For the curious, here is a short synopsis of the script:
A Eulogy for the Believer is a dark comedy. In the not too distant future, in a place much like our own, a believer, experiencing a crisis of faith, is asked to the give the eulogy for a friend who was a famous, yet controversial, celebrity pastor. Struggling to know what to say at the funeral, the troubled believer embarks into The City, a place where one can find whatever he or she is looking for, where he encounters, and ultimately must reconcile, his ideas of God, before delivering the eulogy to a worldwide audience.
The synopsis is rough, but so is the story. It’s all in process and will get better as the story continues to be crafted. My goal is to have a readable first draft by the end of June.
A WRITER KEEPING THE FAITH IN LOS ANGELES