Derry, Northern Ireland

Derry, Northern Ireland
A book I'm working on is set in this town.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Light Bulb Moment

You never know where awareness will spring from, especially self-awareness. I got a negative review posted for "How To Rape A Straight Guy" on And it didn't bug me, because I'd written the book I wanted to, and I learned long ago I couldn't please everybody with it...especially considering the title.

It's been the same for any other negative response to my narrative writing. "Okay, sorry you didn't like it." But no worry or concern about the book not being perfectly acceptable to one and all.

Well...that segued into me thinking about how I write screenplays. Yes, I write the stories I want and the characters build themselves, but in that I always have an eye to pleasing someone else. In the past, I've gone so far as to change the script to suit a producer's notes, and come damn close to ruining the story...even when I knew what I was doing was wrong.

Thing is, I've never been able to shake the idea that if my script is criticized or shrugged off, that means it needs more work. And tonight I finally got the idea that the reason I fall into that trap is because I'm not writing the script exactly as I want it. As the characters want it.

One in particular is "Mine To Kill", a story about a woman who wants to bring her husband back from the dead and an empathic-intuitive intern who senses the turmoil in her soul. I've had several people tell me the story needs to follow one character or the other, because it's split between the two of them. But the story doesn't want to do that, nor do the characters. And so it's still a problematic script because I haven't accepted what the characters want.

I keep trying to make it fast and scary in the first act, and it's not that kind of story. Period. It's the story of two decent people -- one who's getting lost in evil and one who's climbing closer to the angels. It needs a slower pace to build from...but to appease the Hollywood attitude and all the Syd Field acolytes, I've been trying to make it do the wrong thing for it.

I need to look back over my scripts and just write them the way they want to be. Write the movies I'd want to see instead of what I think might sell. I should let my attitude about my books, which are really problematic for some people, to encompass my screenwriting, as well. I mean, trying to appease what Hollywood says it wants isn't getting me sold, anyway, so what've I got to lose?

Some angst, maybe?

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