On March 5, 2012 I signed up for Script Frenzy. Script Frenzy is an event ran by The Office of Letters and Light, which runs National Novel Writing Month. Script Frenzy is where writers are given the challenge to write a 100 page script over the 30 day period of April. The script can be written for Film, Television, Stage, or Comic Book/Graphic Novel, and since I am a movie guy, my script will be for the screen.
Similar to NaNoWriMo, once you sign up with Script Frenzy you can get sponsored to help bring donations to The Office of Letters and Lights and their mission. You get access to forums, and the ability to talk to people with in your region. You also get guides to script writing since writing for film, television, stage, and comics is different from writing a novel. It require you to be detailed enough that the reader knows what is going on yet sparse enough that you don’t choke the artistic freedom of the cast, crew, and director that will breathe life into your word.
To sign up for Script Frenzy go to their website, www.scriptfrenzy.org, and click on the Sign Up link on the upper right-hand corner of the screen page. The sign up process involves creating a usernamer, providing an e-mail, and picking what area you are writing in. You then get a password e-mailed to you to which you can then log in and start with your journey to write your script. Once you are in you can start updating your writing profile, releasing information on your script, post on the forums, and find friends for the support you will need.
And while the event requires that you write with in the month of April and not before or after that month, nothing can stop you from starting you plan your work.
Script Frenzy: Week 1
Even though I do not want to start writing my screenplay out of fairness, but that is not stopping me from think about what to write. I want to be as prepared as I can be so that once April comes around I can dive right in. At first I planned on re-writing a screenplay I started last summer and only got seven pages in. But then I decided to challenge myself a bit and start anew.
When starting a new script, I thought, it is always best to think of a pitch. In the business, the pitch of a film can break or make your film. Each pitch is different because every film is different, but there tends to be one cardinal rule. That rule is you must keep it short. It used to be that you had to describe your film in fifteen words or less. If you could not do that your film was less likely to get made. While I am sure that some companies still go by this rule, I doubt most adhere to it. One sentence should be enough, and this is something that applies to most medium.
This makes sense for multiple reasons. Writing a movie, television, or comic book script or a play is very different than writing a novel because you are writing for a visual art. A highly collaborative visual art in which many people will be interpreting as the product is getting made. As such, you are writing an outline, and having the ability to use a sentence (or a “log line.” for a more technical term) to tell everything about your story will show the potential producers your talent for by descriptive with minimum detail.
Another reason to use a log line is the fact that someone has to buy your script. In order to sell your script, you have to advertise it. Calling your script “A surrealist character study musical with comedic bit about a group of quirky adolescents taking part in a spelling bee” is going to get someone’s attention faster than “This story is about these quirky kids who take part in this outrageous spelling bee where on kid is a horny boy scout while another spells words with his foot and there is a counselor who is there because of his service hours…” You are going to lose potential buyers quickly if you cannot hook them immediately. This is made even more vital since the producer who is interested will probably be seeing many other potential buys outside of yours.
There are other reason for having a log line ready, such as giving you script focus, a mood to play with, and much more, but there are two other elements to having a pitch ready. One is the “My script is…” in which you use two films to describe your film. An example would be “My film is Up meets The Sixth Sense.” This shows that the story has elements of the two movies and depending on the log line the elements would be very visible. Another thing this does is compares you film to two or more other successful movies. Be careful when comparing movies to your film. Make sure you use movies that are either critically and commercially successful, just commercially successful, or considered classics, otherwise the film may not get picked up. The last thing to have for your pitch is a title. It does not have to be the actual title, but a title none the less. The buy may not ask what you are going to call your movie, but there is a good chance that they will. Having one ready shows that you are prepared for the journey ahead.
If you are an aspiring writer, especially if you are interested in writing for the visual and performance arts, Script Frenzy is the challenge that can get you in moving in the right direction. Again, sign up at www.scriptfrenzy.org, get friends involved and start planning.
It’s now Day 20 of NaNoWriMo, and The Black Rogue is very far behind. At Day 20, the average word count is around 30,000 to 40,000. There’s only 10 days left in this writing frenzy, but The Black Rogue is just under 17,000 words. At the current point of the novel, Tryniti is finally home with her sister and brother, awaiting her fate of marrying the Marquis of Winchester. She only agreed after her grandfather, Napoleon, told her a very dark secret about her grandmother who passed away years before. But Tryniti has a secret plan up her sleeve; after the honeymoon she plans to leave her husband in England while she goes back to pirating on the high seas.
Sadly getting to the juicy erotica part of the story is far to come, for Tryniti has to meet her future husband before it takes place. The Marquis of Winchester, Sean Reilly, is dreading to meet his bride. He doesn’t want the label of Prince, nor have this woman curb his persona of sailing the seas. but he does not yet know his bride is the dreaded and feared Black Rogue. Will Tryniti leave and sail back to the Caribbean before her marriage, or stay and force herself to walk down the altar?
The worst part of writing is actually getting to this particular part. Writing 50,000 words require a lot of detail, instead of getting straight to the point you have to draw it out. Sadly, if you have a full-time job and other obligations, NaNoWriMo may not be your strong suit. It requires much of your time, and to finish on time you practically have to give up your life in order to finish. It’s been a very long journey that’s about to come to a difficult end. NaNoWriMo shows writers how hard it really is to crank out a novel in one month’s time. My suggestion to others: don’t slack off, just write whatever comes to your mind. Don’t try to make it perfect and edit, for it will only make it harder to finish.
It is now Day 14 fellow writers of the NaNoWriMo competition. From having to participate in this event, I have found my writing skills are not up to par as they should be, after all going to college to become a writer you should be a good writer correct? Wrong. Writing a novel in one month is proving to be very stressful and challenging.
Many fellow writers and friends are already asking “What’s your plot about? What’s the storyline?” Well our readers will get to hear it first on the beginning of my novel from hell. The novel is entitled The Black Rogue (its copyrighted everyone, no stealing!) and you can already guess where this novel is headed. A woman pirate by the name of Captain Tryniti Brooke de Láuront, is a 20-something devil of the sea. Half-French, Half-English, she has a wicked temper, a love for her family, rum, and the sea. Her parents were famous pirate captains in the hey-day of piracy. She sails with her first mate and sister Azula, across the seas looking for adventure.
After receiving a letter their brother James was in town, Tryniti decides to sail back to France, for he has urgent news. On their way back to France, Tryniti makes a stop in the “Cove” to refresh for supplies, where she meets her family’s rival, Piazzo Dimonti. Piazzo is dirty as they come, and doesn’t follow the Code. Piazzo ends up capturing James Brooke de Láuront, Tryniti and Azula’s brother. James is rescued by a merchant Captain, Sean Reilly. Tryniti accidentally attacks his ship, thinking Captain Reilly is James kidnapper. When the two Captains meet in fire-some battle, their flames of passion arise. Captain Reilly is due to be betrothed to the Princess of France, as Tryniti is set to be betrothed to the Marquis of Winchester of England. Both Tryniti and Sean ran to the sea to escape their fated marriage. But it turns out the two Captains are the ones to be betrothed to each other!
Tryniti refuses to settle down, invoking sea battles against her future husband. But upon request of her dying grandfather, the King of France, she must marry him before his death. Tryniti cannot choose between her duty to the royal throne, and her love of the sea. But she beings to feel passions arising within her for Sean. Will their passions collide, or will they be doomed to fight forever? Piazzo takes the opportunity to capture dear Tryniti for revenge and make her his wife so he can be heir to the throne, which he was cheated out of before. It’s up to Sean to save Tryniti from her death and perilous fate. will he save her in time? And will he finally admit his love for her?
So far in this epic novel, I have exactly 8,766 words. I should be around 20,000 by now sadly. It’s going to be a push to reach 50,000 words, but a pirate of the seas always reaches her goal.
Friends, today sees the release of The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. If you’ve ever played a videogame developed by Bethesda, you know that their massive, open-world RPG playgrounds are the kiss of death for your social life, sex drive, personal hygiene, and any projects you have in the works. Take, for example, any novels you may be in the process of hammering into something intelligible in a month’s time. In the time I’ve owned it, I spent hundred’s of hours with Skyrim‘s predecessor, The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion. It’s best, I think, so begin preparing myself early for heartbreak.
I was horrified when I realized that Skyrim would be here halfway through NaNoWriMo. I’ve kept my nose to the grindstone so far (I passed the 19,000-word mark yesterday), so I feel I’m ever so slightly ahead of schedule. With Skyrim’s release, I sense that my lead is about to disintegrate.
But it’s been an interesting ride so far. I’ve been keeping a pretty strict pace for myself, averaging something like 2,000-2,500 words per day. I’ve skipped a couple of days, but always managed to recover before I slipped too far behind. The most interesting thing for me so far has been how often I’ll revisit older short stories and such that never saw the light of day, realizing that a motif here, a theme here, and a character here all seem to want to fall into place in my novel, like they were meant to go together, even after all these years. That might sound like self-plagiarization, but it’s nothing of the kind. I’ve simply learned not to shut the door to any kind of inspiration.
So we’ll see how it goes. We’re just a little less than halfway through NaNoWriMo. I’ll see if I can maintain my pace, even with Skyrim‘s siren song humming so sweetly in my ears.
Here you can see updates from Emily’s NaNoWriMo progress. News, rants, and tips will be provided, so all of you participating can get a feel of how a local is doing.
11/8: Starting on the 2nd week of this National Novel Writing Month thing, I’m not doing so hot. There’s a reason they tell you not to go back and edit or delete. God forbid you start over.
I started over.
I’ve had a certain character in mind for the past few years, and she has just been nothing but trouble for me. I’ve also had a good idea for a setting, but something’s just not settling with that and this character. Through my senior year at SU, I couldn’t fix the constant nagging that something wasn’t working in my story. I couldn’t even get to her part of the story in my novel class. I was embarrassed for my character every time this happened. Basically, it felt akin to seppuku every time I tried to write her story in that world–a little bit suicidal and a hell of a lot of pain, waiting for someone to end it all for me.
It was just as agonizing this time around. I got to about 3,000 words and had to stop. I couldn’t justify writing through the rest of the month like that.
To be fair, this is my first NaNoWriMo that I’m actually taking seriously. This is not for a class, not for my writing major. This is for me this time. And I’m okay with failing my first time, because I’ve already learned what not to do next year.
So even though the head honchos at NaNoWriMo tell you, “Plow through! Just keep going, and throw in some unexpected turns if you start losing steam!” I feel that you must also be realistic with your story. If you’re writing down horse-squeeze just to get to 50k, was it really worth it? Probably not. I’m sure we would all feel better hitting 15,000 words for a really awesome story than 50,000 words for something with which you wouldn’t line a bird cage. Besides, we’re allowed to write during the rest of the year. It’s still just nice to try to reach for something like a really high word count. And that’s what NaNo is all about: pushing us to hit limits, especially one most of us don’t normally push ourselves to hit.
I had a tough time as a writer these past few months. After deciding that I didn’t want to go on to graduate school, I’ve gotten two new jobs (one here, the other at the mall) and my first apartment. That’s a lot of stress to handle, and my writing has only been for Unwound. It’s nice to rediscover my love of writing by forcing myself to aim high.
By the way, I’m at almost 900 words, and I restarted maybe an hour and a half ago. I did some research in that time, but I’m already feeling like I have better momentum than I did with my original 3,000. According to the site, I’ll finish by Feb. 4, 2013 at this “108 words-per-day” rate. That’s with my -2,100 words from today alone. I’m excited to fix that.
Have you joined the competition this year? If so, feel free to submit your own tips, comments, or questions to the UM staff!
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