Monday, July 12, 2010

Is vs Was
Not to Mention
All Those Hads

Day 6 in the turning a screenplay into a novel project and I'm staring into space.

Page 2 of the script. Page 5 of the novel.


That's about the right ratio but jeez.

Write. Write. Write.

Am I off this page, yet?




I've written before about attempting a novel. Every time -- changing to past tense from present tense freaked me out, and I ran home.

Back to a script, I mean.

This time, it's not bothering me that much, I'm not sure why. Either this is a vomit draft and I'll go back and fix it later, or I'm committed to doing something different, dammit, or I took a big dose of Doubt B-Gone.

Besides the inherent brevity of scripts, I've developed a minimalist style that works well in my screenplays, but is not translating effectively in a long form prose project.

Enter our hero. Describe him please.

ah -- what?

Can't I just picture Kevin Costner, write a few telling quirks and be done?


How about -- Picture Kevin Costner or better yet Jake Gyllenhaal a little older as if he played a Sheriff in a small Montana town.

I've noticed one novel writing convention is to have the protagonist stop and take note of the situation by looking in the mirror. Voila, character is described.

Dave looked into the mirror. It was like staring at a poster for a Kevin Costner movie.

I finally put [COMING} and moved on. I'll go back sometime when I don't have Kevin and Jake on my mind.

Describing the setting, I noticed my short, choppy yet evocative sentence fragments.


I'll go back to those too.

When I hit the dialog -- man, she goes like sixty.

So, now I'm on page 10 of the novel and page 5 of the script. I probably wouldn't be noticing this so acutely if I wasn't keeping the script in front of me as I write.

This is a script that I loved and everybody, EVERYBODY else, hated. It was cursed with bad timing, reminding people of an atrocious news story that occurred about the time I started marketing.

Nothing I could do about that.

It is also the most carefully plotted and outlined script I've ever done, so that should put me a little ahead of the game turning it into a novel.

Kevin Costner look-a-like, Sheriff Dave wondered how it would turn out in the end.

Me too.

Stay tuned.

1 comment:

  1. Experience with writing long stuff: you did the right thing, to put in a place holder ("x" marks the spot) and keep on keeping on. You'll re-read and re-write until you're ready to tear out your hair (as if you weren't ready right now) and you'll have lots of opportunity to play around with getting description and back story into your novel without getting all didactic and preachy. The best authors I know for that kind of thing are short story writers, who have to pull in a huge flashback with just a few well-chosen words. (hint: read short stories. Kristine Kathryn Rusch is excellent to read for structure--not to mention a fine story)

    But, I assume you know all this, and I'm preaching to the choir. Butting out now....


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