Tuesday, February 17, 2004

A Non-Writer's Journey - Beginings

Among one of the things that I told myself that I would try to do and finish within this year is another screenplay. It has been close to 2 years since I completed my first one and I felt that it was about time that I tried to get another one out. The blog entries that I have been putting out for these past few months have partly been for the purpose of keeping me in practice with writing and an exercise in creative expression. Part entertainment, part therapeutic and part confessional, these blogs have helped me keep the creative juices flowing and help me organize some ideas in my head.

I have had people who asked me where I learned to write the way I do. It bears repeating that I am not a writer by trade. I have never trained in the art of being a writer other that the basics that one would get from high school and college. I don’t aspire to be a writer for I don’t think that I have the aptitude for it much less the skill to write anything remarkable. What I write usually comes from gut instinct on how the story flows from one point to another rather than the strict conventions of structure. I humbly believe that in its simplest essence, my writing comes from the need for me to tell the stories that I have in my head. These half formed stories and images sometimes seemed to shout out demanding to be heard and that is when I am driven to write them down. I have several notebooks filled with story ideas in varying degrees of completeness and details. Some were no more than bullet points while there are others that came close to complete screenplay treatments. I can never tell when or how these ideas come to me. For all I know I might have been a storyteller in a past life or they are just ramblings from a demented mind. Regardless of their origins, I continue to feel passionate and driven by them.

The story for the screenplay that I’m planning to write this year has been knocking around in my heard for a few years now. It has gone through several incarnations in my notebook over that time and I finally feel that it is now in the flow that I feel confident enough to try to attempt to expand into a full screenplay. Being more of a visual person, the first step that I would have to do for this type of undertaking is to break the story down into scenes to see how many scenes I needed to have to tell the story. One tip that I learnt from the experience of writing my first screenplay was that the best way for me to do this is to get all these screen descriptions written out on medium sized Post-it notes and post them on large piece of cardboard or even to the world. This creative device allows me to visually see the progression of the story as well as allowed me to keep the bigger story firmly in view when I need to rearrange scenes. I guess that one can call it a version of the storyboard but made up of textual descriptions on post-it notes instead of pictures. It is also nice to be able to check scenes off from the board after completing them and have a visual representation of the progress of the piece.

It is only once I get this step squared away that I really dive into the writing experience.

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