Monday, May 20, 2013

Before I write...

A lot of people think writers just start writing their story and probably some of them do. However, for me, it can take weeks or months or even years before I finally get to any particular story. Sometimes maybe less than a week.

Last week I started on a new screenplay, a political thriller. I had part of the idea way back in 2005 but didn't have the story right. Then last fall, I was watching a TV show and something came up in the story that hit me like the proverbial brick.

I had the second half of the story.

And because of the complexity of the story involving politics, heart transplants, action and other elements, it required a lot of research. As I was finalizing my book on screenwriting, I began looking for stories or events that would fit into my screenplay. 

But the book began to have problems, primarily with the createspace people who work for Amazon. They said we had flaws in our book file and we said they had the problem. This began to take all my time, calling them, showing them files. As of now it seems all has been solved, but I won't believe it until I see the proof copy on Wednesday. 

I finally had some time and realized I could also began the new screenplay and I began research with the intention of starting the story immediately. The research included watching political movies, West Wing episodes and anything revolving heart transplants. 

I called ULCA Cardiology and asked to meet some of their transplant people and they agreed to let me meet and talk with them. This was invaluable as I could ask almost any question I could think of. The three people were friendly and helpful. 

I also saw a new way of heart transplant transportation, rather than placing the donor heart on ice, which lasted for 6-8 hours, this new unit actually makes the heart beat, you can see it beating in a metal case about the size of a suitcase. It's really neat.

Then I watched more movies, of which some helped me, others didn't do a thing. That's the problem, you never know what can help. I also found screenplays of doctor shows and movies on the internet and printed up some of them.

Then I did a "beat sheet"which is a collection of "moments" in the screenplay and eventually, in the movie. I could write "he's reluctant to help" or "she knows a secret entrance", things like that. I wrote  seven pages of beats and rewrote, changing some, adding new ones and taking old beats away.

This took a week in itself.

But finally, on last Thursday I sat down and wrote five pages and they looked good. On Friday I wrote five more and they looked good. I don't usually write on week-ends so I focused more on the WW11 documentary I'm working on with my 89-year old former pilot and his stories of flying in the Pacific war back in 1944.

So now, today, I'm hoping to write another five pages. That's how it goes for me, no writer writes the same as another, some write a page a day, some write all night, others write two pages, there's no real rule.

So now, I am back to writing after a long absence, not including the TV pilot I wrote a few weeks ago. And I'm coming up with the same excuses starting; I should do the dishes, maybe water the plants, check email.... 

It's never easy even when it's easy...