What Kind of Screenwriter Are You?

In my time of slack, I accumulated hundreds of emails that required at least a fleeting glance.  In my time of focus, I think I’ve cut that number down to about 60 that will require a slightly longer look-see.  Not too bad given the short amount of time dedicated in that direction.  During this time, I came across a personality quiz for screenwriters from Stephanie Palmer’s Good in a Room site.

writingmemeI feel like I know who I am as a writer.  I don’t outline much; I “generally” know where it’s going to go though, before I sit down.  I like happy endings, my characters are often sarcastic and they’re always do-gooders (the protagonists anyway), and because of my genre choice, I have some freedom to let my imagination run wild.  I listen to my characters.  I alternate between procrastination and binge.  I like to write some things by hand (my fanfiction has almost entirely been written by writermemehand, oddly enough), but the computer monitor allows me more space to “see” (hence, all my screenplays have been written via the modern age).  Plus I type much faster than my hand can write to keep up with my brain (which is why some of my fanfiction looks like chicken scrawl).

I realize that my style of writing will some times write me into corners, but often ideamemetimes, I discover alternate paths and ideas that I never would have seen had I not allowed my story to just unfold.  I have literally found myself astounded with what I’ve unearthed this way.

So I wasn’t surprised by my results upon taking the quiz – Gardener Heartwarmer.  Even the name sounds right.  Here are some of the highlights from the break down:

  • You are good at generating new ideas and following them courageously wherever they lead. You work best when they have the time and the confidence to allow their creativity to spring forth without judgement.
  • You combine new ideas in unusual ways and can make unexpected, quantum creative leaps. You also function well when ideas are in a murkier state – and this is often the case when a screenwriting project is in earlier stages of development.  You create strong, complex characters and stories which contain emotionally powerful moments – the cinematic moments we remember forever.
  • Drama requires conflict, and this means putting characters in the worst possible moments of their lives. This can actually be difficult for you because you are experiencing the emotional journey of your characters so poignantly.

And then there were a few helpful tips.  This one, in particular, struck me:

Your creative work is going to take you to some deep, dark places. Make sure you’re writing at the right time of day (or night) so that you have the freedom and the strength to go where you need to go.

I used to like to write at night, when the world grew quiet.  The Sis would be asleep with the furkids snuggled up beside her, my phone was silent, and there was less likely to be something to sidetrack me because The Sis was asleep and I didn’t want to disturb her.  I’ve been trying to write during the day, and I find too many distractions.  I need to get back to the old routine, where I can be more productive.

So, are you ready to learn how well you know yourself as a screenwriter?  Take the quick, six question quiz here.  Share your results below.

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Quote Monday

Today’s quote is continuing in the theme of goal setting from my last post.

sacrifice

When I thought on this for just a few seconds, I didn’t care for the feeling, meaning I had already been sacrificing what it is I really want for myself.  I need to hang this on my wall.

What are you willing to give up to achieve your goals?

2019 Goals

set and reach goal conceptAt the beginning of every year we each decide what we’d like to accomplish, what we want to change.  The dreaded New Year’s Resolution – gyms are overcrowded for a month, a flurry of spending happens while we’re excited for a new hobby, mentally we prepare for the first of the year as if it were a magic reset button, but usually it’s all in vain.  We say things like, “This year, it will all be different.”  “Kiss last year goodbye and say hello to the new one and all the newness that comes with it.”  We set goals, we make resolutions, only to lose momentum a fraction of the way through the year.

Some years are better than others, but it’s because of this I’ve never been one to make resolutions.  The looming (potential) failure.  And I don’t like the feeling.  The reflection at the end of the year at how little I accomplished.  It’s not that we’re lazy, I think it’s just that we lose passion or focus and the reason why we wanted whatever “it” was to begin with amidst the chaos that makes up our daily lives.  An elusive goal with a slow payoff will usually take a back burner to the things that require immediate attention.

Maybe it has something to do with that mid-life crisis I talked about previously, but I’ve started to make some changes by redirecting my focus.  Side note, I did cut my hair off, and it’s kind of fun and different.  I’m not sure how long it’ll last just due to the sheer amount of work it requires but at least I was finally brave enough to try.  Last year I let a lot of things slide.  I let my focus shift to unimportant things, things that didn’t require the value I placed on them, and the year passed with little to show for it…again.

Price

It’s probably a good thing I didn’t make any resolutions. 😉

I like my day job (most days), but I realized I’m giving it too much attention.  I allowed it to gain too much space in my life, and for something I don’t want to do long term, I needed to shift my focus.  Coming home feeling tired, both physically and mentally, causes me to waste the number of hours I have left in my day to accomplish more.  Reading, writing, watching a movie – there have been too many days when none of those have happened. 

EveryNewDaySo, nearing the end of 2018 I started to reevaluate my situation, and like serendipity my general manager gave me a book, “The Coffee Break Screenwriter” by Pilar Alessandra and a tee-shirt that says screenwriter for Christmas.  

I think it was the the push I needed, and I have thanked him again since the holidays because I’m over half way through the book and I’ve already had some ideas about one of my scripts that needs a rewrite, I submitted my pilot to a competition, and I’m planning on attending my first ever screenwriter’s summit.  I’ve watched at least one new movie a week, I’m reading more, and I’ve decided to do the thing I fear – write down my goals.  It’s my hope that visualizing what I’d like to accomplish, in addition to having some sort of accountability, may help me actually reach them.

Discipline

I’m one for lists, so by creating a path to accomplish said goals, I may find it easier to navigate throughout the year when I start to wane or lose focus.  In the past I wrote about finding external deadlines to help in goal setting.  This was not my genius idea but one I had come across from a number of sources.  It’s one thing to say I’d like to rewrite my script by such and such a date, but having a competition to submit to with a hard deadline will definitely add the pressure, so I’m finding those as well.  

It’s about using my time wisely.  More wisely.  Finding the balance between the day job and the dream job, family, other interests, and the mundane will take some effort.  So here’s to a new year and the newness that comes with it. 😉  

How do you plan to achieve your goals this year?  Want to help each other be accountable?  Share your goal and let’s have regular check-ins to make it happen!

Quote of the Week for a New Year

Happy 2018, my friends!

It seems that I’ve had to “get back on track” a lot lately.  So, in (yet another) effort to do this, I’m going to start of this new year off right with one of my favorite quotes in the hopes that it will inspire.DoSomethingTodayEach step in the right direction, no matter how big or small, will draw us closer to where we want to be.

Wishing you a wonderful and productive New Year!  xx, Rach

 

Quote Monday on a Tuesday

Well, hello!

I’m not going to make excuses for how absent I’ve been here.  I mean I could mention how busy work has been now that I’ve been promoted, and how my days off were scattered and inconsistent.  I could mention how it’s time for yet another move and all the stress and prep that goes into that…but I won’t.

Times flies whether you’re having fun or not, and suddenly it’s the middle of October and you’re feeling a bit concerned because of how little you have to show considering nearly another year has passed.  I had such big plans at the beginning of the year too.

The only way to get back on track and refocus my attention is by getting back to the routine I once cherished and held dear.  Sooo, let’s get back to one of my favorite things, quotes!

OneDayOrDayOne

I have to find a way of reconciling my new schedule.  I must find a balance between the day job, the dream job, and everything else.  I’ve said “one day” more often than I’d like to admit recently, and I don’t care for how it feels.

How have you balanced your life and found time to do the thing you love?

Quote Monday

So I happened upon my insights page and compared what I’ve done this year (so far) to the three years prior and the results are dismal. The first year I really took to blogging, I posted 164.  The next year, which saw a great increase of interaction with the outside world, I posted only 112.  Then last year, I posted 118.  Can you imagine with my lulls of inactivity where I might be sitting this year?

21.

Yep.  21 posts (now 22) in seven months.  ((sigh))  Wow.

If those are the results of my blogging, I don’t even want to know what that might mean for my writing.

I set goals for myself at the beginning of the year (last year had proven productive, for the most part), and I wanted to keep that enthusiasm going.  I’m now reevaluating those goals as I’m certain I’m going to fall short at the rate I’m crawling.

How did this happen?!

I may need to reevaluate a few other things as well.  I saw this quote and decided it may be the best way to get motivated again.

NotAPriority

What are your motivational/goal achieving tricks?

What To Do In The In-Between Time

IdeaLightBulb(jeffbullassite)Draft after draft.  Rewrite after rewrite.  Sometimes it feels like all we’re doing is writing in circles.

When you need a break from your beloved, it’s hard to decide what to do in that downtime.  I know I’m usually at a loss.  I try to find a new story idea, or consider rewriting one of my other screenplays, but sometimes you just need to do different work for the same story.

Bang2Write is a great resource for writers, and if you aren’t subscribing to Lucy V Hay’s site, as a screenwriter I would recommend it.  I have found loads of truly useful information, like the following – 7 Useful Things You Can Do Between Drafts.

Using my sci-fi pilot, The Demeter as an example, I’ll go through the steps and show you what I’m thinking about in my own downtime.

  1. Compare/Contrast to “Like” stories – Like the Doctor of Doctor Who, I want my human protagonist to not hold any immediate prejudice because of what an alien might look like (although easier said than done. We humans scare easily.).  The video game Mass Effect inspired the idea behind the human/alien interactions and romance options.  It’s unlike shows such as Firefly because not all the characters are human and not all stories are about human problems.  Star Wars and Star Trek are obvious go-tos, but other than the military connection, which won’t be overly used until season 2, I want to stay away from any ideas influenced by either.
  2. Think it Over – The pilot needs to foreshadow more of the ideas I have for the first season.  In addition to a different opening scene, I need to show the “shady” nature of the ship’s captain so the viewer is unsure for some time whether or not he can be trusted.  Early feedback suggested I integrate an image of where the show “might” go aka Battlestar Galactica always showed Earth as the final destination.  Where do I want the show to go?
  3. Work on Craft – Feedback also recommended I adjust the pacing.  Determine the best course to improve this.
  4. Make Contacts – Besides social media…think outside the box on making contact with those in the industry – Meetups, retreats (within reason), writer’s groups?
  5. Feedback – Build relationships of give and take.  Giving feedback will help my writing as well.  Get back on Zoetrope.
  6. Submission Strategy – I’m already using a calendar to keep track of contest deadlines, but could be better arranged for the whole year.  FilmFreeway is a good resource to use more fully.  Get more than one script ready for submission.
  7. Nothing.  Relax…for a minute. 😉

I hope you find this information as useful as I did.  Happy Writing!

Quote of the Week

A couple of weeks ago, I discovered that I had not placed in the top of the last contest I had entered.  I was excited to have advanced at all, let alone make it to the finals, but I was still disappointed – to get so close.  Ah well.  It’s time to move beyond this latest round and look forward.

Easier said than done.

It was a huge boost to my (writer’s) ego to get that bit of validation, but now here I am again, starting at square one.  I have that tune in my head, “second verse, same as the first”.  Creatives have a tough gig.  So I was trying to find a quote this week that speaks to those of us who continue to try, despite the odds, because passion dictates that we do.

I present the following:

Churchill-Success

Yes, this is a quote that most likely relates to a world war, but the message can be applied to anyone who continues to strive towards their goal.  It is my hope that we all do!

Best Wishes and Happy Writing!

Writer’s OCD

TypewriterFontWriterIf you Google the above, you’ll get a slew of articles and posts about how writers suffer from various forms of obsessive compulsive disorder.  I know I have my own tendencies, I can thank my years in fine dining for that – put this exactly here, move that slightly to the left, straighten it, remove the clutter, organize!  This doesn’t disrupt my daily life, so I suppose it just means I like things a certain way.

And then there’s the writer side – reorganize your desk, yet again, remove the clutter around said desk (which is really just procrastination) oh, and of course, get that story out of your head!  Whenever and wherever.

I’m trying to be a screenwriter.  I mean, I am a screenwriter, but I’m trying to make a profession out of it, so you can imagine the annoyance at having a completely unrelated story taking over your life.  I can’t seem to focus on any other story beyond the one I’m working on now, and it’s bloody fan fiction.  ((exasperated groan))

I’m wondering how many of my fellow writers out in the ‘verse have this problem?

I don’t know how it happened.  I posted a writing prompt of concept art from the video game series Dragon Age a long time ago, and after writing a small chapter, 6,500 words, it slowly began to consume me.  I was struggling with my own work at the time, I remember, and I just wanted to write something.  It became a refuge from my unsatisfying server job, but then I found that I enjoyed thinking up scenes that were unseen in the game or expanding on conversations, etc.

When I write a screenplay, I agonize over every detail, every word, and I found with the fanfic that I could just write – whatever I wanted, without worry, without much forethought or editing.  It was so freeing.*  What I’ve posted so far sits at about 68,000 words.  Are you kidding me?!  I think this is where the writer’s OCD comes in.  After so much time and energy invested, I have to finish it.

The problem is two-fold.  1) This has taken away from the writing I want to do for my livelihood, but then again, any writing is good, right?!  2) Writing this story has opened up more possibilities, and now I want to explore those story lines.  When will it end?!

I feel like I should be asking for help, and yet, I am loving every moment.  I keep thinking if I write one more chapter, or finish a particular story line the OCD will subside, but it just seems to be getting worse.  I think another part of the problem is that at my old job I was alone a lot, without much to do, so I could escape, now there are too many people around.  The routine I had set has been disrupted and needs a new avenue to find its way.

So I guess I’m looking for advice or validation. 😉

If you suffer from a similar predicament, let’s commiserate!

*Just type Dragon Age or fanfic into my search bar to see what I’m talking about.

 

Writing Prompts 101 & 102

In case you missed last week’s post with the word “smorgasbord” in the title (yeah, it contained a bit of everything), you may not have seen Writing Prompt #101.  So here it is again, because I think it’s great!

Something Dumb

Now, in order to get back on track, because it’s Wednesday and I’ve been terrible lately at being timely, here’s #102.

GoldDust

Are you inspired?  Don’t forget to link back to my page so I can read your lovely words!

Happy Writing!

*All images have been found via Pinterest.  I do not own any of the writing prompt images I share, and I do my best to give credit to their creators.  If you ever recognize a piece, please let me know so that I may credit it accordingly.