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Screenwriting Help E-Mail (Previous)

Updated every Monday, one selected e-mail will be posted and answered here each week. With many years of experience in the film and television business, I look forward to providing answers to your questions about screenwriting or the entertainment industry in general.  Please send your e-mailed questions to: Script Advisor.  You may also wish to visit our Screenwriting Help E-Mails - The Archives.

This week's question: 

Sometimes when I'm writing a script, I get bogged down in my concerns about certain aspects of it and it's like a merry-go-round in my head and I find that I can't seem to get back to the page.  What can I do in those instances?

Rebecca from Michigan

This week's Answer: 

"Unmerrily" Going Round and Round

Rebecca, it's good of you to drop in with your question.  Ah, the ol' "merry-go-round" syndrome.  I know it well and have been on my own many a time.  Makes you dizzy, doesn't it?  I think riding painted (wooden) ponies that go up and then down and then up again ad nauseum (and I do mean "nauseum") while the world spins by you is somehow overrated (no matter what "Blood Sweat and Tears" sang about the subject.

Here's the key to your dilemma:  Don't get on the merry-go-round in the first place.  The merry-go-round is an illusion, a mirage out in your writer's desert.  There's no water there.  No fertile palm trees.  Just sand.  I'll tell you why the merry-go-round is just sand.  (I believe I'm mixed my metaphors.  Oh, well.  There are worse things in life than metaphors that have been mixed.  At least they're still metaphors.  They should be grateful for that.  But, no.  Instead, they just complain all day long about being mixed.  Why, when I was a young metaphor, I used to walk ten miles in the snow to school, and nobody ever heard me fussin' 'bout somebody mixin' me.  Sorry.  I just get a little riled when I hear metaphors complaining.  I'll settle down.)  The problem is that as soon as you're on that merry-go-round, analyzing and self-defeating and self-editorializing and posing questions to yourself that you can't answer yet, anyway, and -- let's call it what it really is -- worrying about this and that (not to mention "those" and "them"), then (and you want to pay attention to this one)...

You're not writing

It's as simple as that.  The best way to get off that merry-go-round of mixed metaphoric sand is to just start writing again.

I'd like to continue this brilliant treatise on the way to write is to write, but I must get back to my own screenplay and return to my thoughts about whether or not my protagonist should wear a blue or red tie.  

I've been working on this important issue for over a week and I think I'm just about got it.


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