Three topics of discussion today :
As mentioned, over the weekend I was getting back into writing a new draft of the short film I'll be making sometime with my homies at Closer Productions. I was going to use exercises as a way to reengage with the work after some time off - I was finding it difficult just to up and write it again.
The film is a two-hander romantic comedy, so as an exercise, I rewrote some dialogue from the other character's point of view. Just very quick, ignoring the actual story and plot points, just purely investigating a different arc / emotional beats for the secondary character. I wrote it and it seemed reallllly shithouse - but then, Eureka! I went back in to do a new draft, and had a starting point. Parts of that exercise found their way into what became a very rough new draft, a real kitchen-sink kinda thing where I explored a bunch of new ideas.
What was once quite a polished thing almost ready to go now looks shapeless and patchy, but I think it's a really important step to take; to really push in all directions and then come back, focused, on the older draft and feed in new textures and ideas. Starting to feel better about it - watch this space.
This week's story 'Dearest Evelyn' was not great. Not great at all. Interesting formal choice (a letter) and tonally playing with more traditional gothic horror, but no real ideas in it. I was actually working on an idea and scrapped it late on Sunday night for various reasons, and had to jam something out. Which is the whole point of this site - to just do, not think - but I'm going to try to give myself a bit more time to come up with some better ideas. I'd like some tangible outcomes from this as well as the more experimental, process education I'm getting. Interestingly, one of the last things I did was the additional, strikethrough writing (the protagonist's madness seeping through) and this kind of formal experimentation is easily the most interesting thing about the piece. Something to keep up the sleeve.
Considering spending a few hours over the weekend - prior to writing Monday's story - just brainstorming a whole bunch of imagery and one liners. Then, each week, I can refer to the list, and pick something to build on. That way, I won't be wasting as much time just forcing at an idea, and more time on the craft and exploration of an image. Could be helpful.
On Saturday night last week, I decided to stay home and finally finish 'Locke and Key', which is a comic book series by Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodriguez. It's finished and available in 6 collections, so you can go out and read the whole thing from start to finish and you should because it is AWESOME.
I love comics, because by the time you get to the end of a story like this, chances are you've been living with these characters for years. It's been 18 months since I started (volume six only came out a few months back), so the investment I had in reaching the end was very similar to finally finishing a great TV show. There's an epic quality to this kind of long-form storytelling that cannot be matched by movies or even single novels (depending, of course, on the length of the novel).
'Locke and Key' is a story about a family of kids, who return to the creepy Massachusetts mansion where their father grew up after he is violently murdered for seemingly no reason. The kids start finding a series of magic keys, each of which unlocks increasingly strange and powerful abilities. Which sounds like a young adult novel (and it sort of is) until you see the crazy amounts of violence and darkness and sheer horror present through the whole book. It's also incredibly moving family drama. It's Harry Potter meets HP Lovecraft (the town the kids live in is called 'Lovecraft', which is probably the only hamfisted thing about the series) meets Six Feet Under. 10 out of fucking 10. People who think comics are pointless childish nonsense need to grab a copy of Sandman and get on board.
Genre's greatest power is to be able to use it as a key (chortle) to unlock grander ideas - in this case, growing up, family, death, grief, love... you name it. It's why I love genre, and why I'd like to write more of it. Inspirational / emotionally crippling Saturday night.
Time to watch footy.