Scriptwriting Adventures: Writing a Screenplay for Script Frenzy

Published Categorised as News, Lifeliner, Personal

I am 17 pages from reaching the Script Frenzy goal of 100 pages. I read in Lew Hunter’s Screenwriting 434 (a book I bought when writing Lifeliner) that the maximum a dramatic screenplay can be is 110 pages. So I have about 10 pages to swim with if I go overboard. I knew it was going to be difficult to turn Lifeliner into a screenplay, not just because it’s my first time as an adult writing a screenplay, but also because there’s so much less material in a screenplay than in a book, even a short book like mine.

But I had no idea just how difficult.

It’s a good thing I wasn’t wedded to every chapter and every scene. I’ve had ruthlessly toss out scenes and even entire chapters in order to keep on top of my page count. Some days my fatigue helped. I did not want to wrap my brain around one more time how to shrink a scene into two lines of dialogue. So out the scene went instead.

Speaking of fatigue, the one thing I didn’t expect was how tiring writing a screenplay is in comparison to a book during NaNoWriMo. There is an awful lot of thinking involved, the creative kind, not the research kind. Research is exhausting when you have little stamina, but trying to think through how to stay in the truth yet make a scene work is guaranteed to put head to couch pillow. Now I know why films are docudramas and at times loose with the truth. Some scenes just do not work when you remain faithful to how something really happened.

I usually begin my mornings like many people do: checking e-mail, conversing on Twitter, following others’ game updates on Facebook (does anyone do anything else on FB but play games?). But one day I was unutterably weary; I did not want to write this damn screenplay anymore. Let someone else do it, even if that possibility was as remote as the moon is to NASA astronauts today. But then I remembered my sponsors, the generous folk who pledged to sponsor my Script Frenzy efforts and are helping me reach my fundraising goal of $2,500 (only halfway there!) by donating to The Office of Letters and Light, the nonprofit parent that puts on the international National Novel Writing Month and Script Frenzy, as well as the Young Writers Program. I couldn’t let them down. Maybe the best thing was to write through my weariness then spend the rest of the day on the couch. Lo and behold, I found the rest of the day easier to deal with once I’d completed my writing goal. I was still whacked but writing always improves my mood. I could face my fatigue easier in a good mood.

So far, I’ve stuck to my new routine; I take Sundays off and less and less other days off. I have 17 pages left, six chapters left. I hope to complete it all before the 30th and take the rest of April off to soak up the sun. Of course, it’ll begin to rain as soon as I finish.

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Ramryge angels at Gloucester Cathedral, England

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