Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Verbal Viagra

I have finally accepted that I am a member of that not-so-exclusive club of writers I loathe. You know who we are. Deluded that we're brilliant minds stifled by life and held back by a terminally ill industry, we tap out dreck on our computers and then raise our fists at the door nobody knocks on. We're peddling piss in a bottle and calling it penicillin.

Well, I've recently looked over all the piss I've written in the past five years and it's pretty clear to me now that while I have potential, I've never written a drop of penicillin.

What appears to have happened is that I spent so much time studying the craft that I didn't actually write anything worth producing.

I remember reading my first screenplay a year after I wrote it and shuddering in embarrassment. Well, I'm no longer embarrassed by that piece of garbage or anything else I've written over the past five years. They're exercises in screenwriting. One is a thesis on character development and dialogue while others focus on structure, foreshadowing, or conflict.

But, they're not screenplays. They're homework.

If I believed in resolutions, mine for 2009 would be to write nothing that isn't great. My own opinion, though, is that resolutions are frequently little more than admissions of failures and shortcomings disguised as noble goals in order to help us cope with our deficiencies. Well, no need. I readily admit that I am deficient. That's the first step in any recovery process:

Hi, my name is Mary Anita Batchellor and I am an impotent writer.

Step one. Done. On to step two.

10 comments:

millar prescott said...

Hi. My name is Millar and I too am impotent.

MaryAn Batchellor said...

I hope you are referring to your pen.

mernitman said...

The funny thing of it is, writing all that "garbage" (and writing this blog) have created in you the writer who'll be capable of crafting a great screenplay.

MaryAn Batchellor said...

That statement, which I wholeheartedly believe, is the verbal viagra for an impotent writer.

E.C. Henry said...

MaryAn, you're on the right track; you're starting to say the right things, however...

Just write. STOP putting so much pressure on yourself. That gains you NOTHING.
You were spot-on in writing/admitting, "what appears to have happened is that I spent so much time studying the craft that I didn't actually write..." (I don't agree with the end part of that sentence so I didn't include it)

Wish you had more of a love for what you've written. For gosh sakes be a professional! If don't love what you're written how can you expect someone else to? You need to learn how to see potential, and how to improve previous draft. Realize this: EVEYTHING is just a draft.

I've read some of my earlier stuff, and sure there's room for improvement, but I did the best I could at the time. AND if I ever manage to engage a buyer, hey, I'll burn 'em a better draft!

You shouldn't diss yourself like you do. VERY bad form. THAT should be your resolution for 2009. Journey is one of your favorite groups, right? Well steal a page from one of their hits, "Be Good To Yourself." Put it on your IPOD and rock out! I know I do.

- E.C. Henry from Bonney Lake, WA

MaryAn Batchellor said...

Keeping it real, E.C. We're all arrogant as beginners. My dreck made top 10% once in the Nicholl so it isn't hopeless. I've got some great stories so just gonna let go and let it fly.

E.C. Henry said...

Sounds great, MaryAn,

Glad to hear you had sucess at the Nicholls. If you did it once, you can do it again. I have faith in you. Looking forward to hearing more about your new adventures and sucesses in 2009.

Keep it real, but don't keep it so real that it looses the fun.

"If the fun goes in, it comes out the same way," Akiva Goldsman as quoted by my memory from Karl Iglesias' "The 101 Habits of Highly Successful Screenwriters."

- E.C. Henry from Bonney Lake, WA

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