Trying to break the grip of master storytelling today, and head off to the comic shop to see the guys. Not easy. I left my last script at a critical point, just before killing off the characters. It’s sort of like putting a film on pause. Everything stops, sure – but you haven’t finished it yet. And since I’m not writing something that’s blatantly obvious from the outset, I want to make it to the end.
Good stuff: The new script is dead on target, with word count right where I wanted it. I also think I’m managing to introduce a few scares and a very tense story. I’ve kept the cast to four people, and the tech requirements low. Considering the idea of asking my bro to record all the sound effects needed for my pieces, then putting both the scripts AND the sound effects out for use. Do it right, and both of us could make a bit of money. But that’s down the line. For now, I’m concentrating on story telling, and setting the audience up for as many thrills as I can. One more day of writing should finish up the first draft.
I find it odd, how I can set out on a script with a very clear idea of what’s gonna happen and who’s gonna do this or that, and then suddenly a small turn of phrase by one character changes the whole nature of the story. It happens almost every time. And I’m not complaining; it keeps it fresh even for me, the writer. But I think my brain works on levels of which I’m not even aware. Somehow, I manage to slip in stuff that seems inconsequential when I write it, but later becomes a vital foreshadowing point. Case in point: the current story, another thriller, is set in a remote cabin. I only envisioned one setting while sketching the outline. But suddenly, the characters were moving into the kitchen, and when I followed them there, what did I find? That this dusty, remote cabin had a spotlessly clean kitchen. Now, long term thought was the former owner was a killer – I’d planned to leave hints all around. I realized, tho, that walking into a clean kitchen after seeing a dusty and dirty living room was a good creep factor. So I’m playing it up: the knives, the weirdness. Even using loud bangs off stage at one point (very like a horror film, yes, that’s what I’m modeling on). Lights flickering on and off, strange behavior by some of the characters – it’s coming together, and if done by a troupe with real talent, it’s gonna be good.
That brain power is already cooking up script three in the thriller trilogy.
How did I get here? A year ago, I would have never considered writing a thriller. Would have thought it was beyond me. Now…I can’t stop. And it’s not just the stories. I want to scare people. I want to frighten the audience, make them squirm uncomfortably in their seats.
In fact, the only thing I can imagine stopping for is another historical drama. Because, like thrillers, I found I like writing that style – and I’m good at it.
Who is this person I’m becoming?
…My obsession with my work and change in writing style has kept me from thinking or worrying too much about anything. Oh, I still rant at the tv every news program. I’m still angry over a lot of stuff. But all that fades away when I lock myself in a dark room and think about how my characters kill each other. A little sick? Maybe. But it’s a lot healthier than acting out, or just being a bull-headed angry person all the time. Besides, write a character that kills, and suddenly (unless you’re writing about race or religious problems) all that goes away. Not much matters when you face a gun or a knife. Not politics, not skin color, not beliefs or hypocrisy or hate. It’s just death. Death and you.
And maybe it’s because I’ve spent so much of my life afraid that I can write what I’m writing. Maybe all those years of anxiety and fear will now pay off. Want someone who freaks out? No problem; I got that mindset down. How about a depressed person? Yep, know how they think, too. Self-harm? Got it covered. Narcissism? Seen it up close and personal. In fact, most behaviors that lead to thrillers (or horrors, or any story worth telling), I’ve got covered. I know them. Intimately. Some, too intimately. But it’s all coming together now. My experiences, the stories…I just hope my timing is good, too. That I find the right place to send my scripts to at the right time. That the right people read my material and see the production.
Either way, I find I don’t want to stop. I suppose some people will think it strange to say that the rejection letter I recently received is really bolstering my confidence, but it’s true. Even tho it was a no, they liked my writing. I find myself less apt to apologetically approach potential readers, half asking and half begging them to look at my work, and more apt to simply put it out there with the knowledge and confidence that my stuff is good and I don’t need them to read it. – At least, it’s good when I know it’s good. My thrillers are good. Real good. My historical drama is good (ditto on the ‘real’). My comedy attempts…not so much. I can do it…sort of. But I still don’t feel like I’m a real comedy writer – which, again, is strange, because a few years ago I would have said comedy was my forte.
Feels like my mind is a snow globe. You take a look at it on the shelf, and you see one thing. But as soon as you pick it up, stuff begins moving and swirling around. Then, suddenly, it’s a new scene – a snow storm. It looks the same as when it sat on the shelf, but now it’s far more complex. See what was hidden under that layer of snow? And watch the way the flakes dance around, drawing your attention to this or that miniature bit.
(sigh) I’ve got flurries on the brain.