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Screenwriting Help E-Mail (Previous)

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This week's question: 

DcH, I have so many stories inside of me.  Do you have any suggestions about how to proceed?


This week's Answer: 

Story Surgery

Yes, Dana, I do.  There's a medical procedure for that problem (although, Story Extraction is a risky operation so you definitely want to have full health coverage).  I think the Wicked Witch of the West summed it up very succinctly when she said, "These things must be done delicately."  And be sure that the doctor removes all of them so that you don't wake up one day with this strange feeling and realize that you still have a story left inside of you.

Actually, when I have many stories inside of me, I allow them to tell themselves to me.  I simply become the recorder and do my best to listen as best I can and put down what I "hear" as accurately as possible.  In a way, I'm my Muse's secretary.  (Come to think of it, I really need to ask for a raise).  Everybody works differently, but my favorite way of drawing out the story to write my next screenplay is to don a jester's costume with bells on my shoes and run around in a forest until my story comes out of hiding or until I drop from exhaustion.  Perchance that should fail, I call my writing partner and we return once again to the collaboration process.  What I'm getting at is that you need to find the best way that works for you.  Mine is collaboration or, even if I'm doing a solo stint, I still talk to others and run my story by them, open to their feedback and suggestions.  Suggestions from friends is a great way to drain them of their creativity and come up with fantastic solutions and ideas, which you never have to pay for or share in the booty that may come from their contributions.  (Of course, this approach may find you continually searching for new friends.)

The most important thing is to keep letting the stories OUT.  Write them down; record them; paint them on cave walls (hey, I think that's been done).  But, whatever you do, express them.  They're coming to you for a reason.  In a way, we screenwriters, and all writers, are doing another version of what was carried on way before word processors, typewriters, and even the printing press:  oral tradition.  We're the story tellers sitting around the fire, recounting the tales so that others may know and grow from them, tell others and, thus, continue to carry on the tradition.  That's what we're doing:  continuing to carry on the continuation of carrying on the tradition that continues to carry on.  (Etcetera, etcetera.  Never mind.  Carry on).  Now, the tradition may look a little different than it used to, but it's still the tradition.  So draw together your clan and you laptop and gather round the fire.  Don't be shy to tell your tale.  

And try not to get to close to the flames or you'll burn out your circuitry, crash your hard drive and lose your entire screenplay.

Nobody needs that tradition.



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