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Failure – How and when?

Last post mentioned the Coin Convention Heist which only served to voice my aggravation in the fact that I can’t seem to finish this script. Coin Conventions don’t have any bearing on the story now, and even if they did, it’s stupid to be annoyed that someone I’ve never met implemented something I’ve only been pondering for a work of fiction for the last year or three. Really stupid.
Yeah, not a note of sarcasm there. But it’s a waste of energy getting frustrated at that sort of thing, because it happens all the time. Nothing new under the sun. Anyone who is trying to write anything, especially something as cliche’ as a heist script, should already be well aware of that fact.

Where a lot of my frustration is probably coming from as it lashes out irrationally at anything vaguely resembling my story- ‘Oh my god, that protagonists breathes! Oxygen! My protagonist breathes oxygen! Those bastards ripped me off!’ – where it’s coming from is the fact I can’t just put THE END on this and move the fuck on already. Why is this taking so long?

And the question is- how long is too long?

Now every story evolves as you write- characters, motivations, subplots. It’s a fluid, subtly changing thing, writing is. Flexibility is required to get through it. But don’t be too flexible, because structure can be important and useful, I mean, you have to have a page limit, yeah? Every story has it’s confines and caps. But you want to keep it universal, appealing. Just ignore the nosebleeds for now. Sure, I just keep grinding away and sure I’m using super-fine when I should be using 40 or 50 grit and gutting the mechanics probably didn’t help me much, but I have characters and a story, right! Right?

That’s about where I’m at now. I love my characters, I think for the most part other folks will love them too if I can just communicate why they are so awesome. If I stop, if I move on to other characters in another story, it really feels like I’m giving up on this when I feel pretty close. I feel like if I can just get around the next corner the story will congeal into sheer awesomeness.

At least, I hope. I could be failing to understand some vital storytelling concept and everything is just sending me in circles. Seems like that a lot of the time. How do you tell the difference?

2 Comments

  • nicolle on Jan 18, 2007

    I could call it a first draft- I’ve been working, but it’s changed, and it would be the equivalent of say replacing the “Temple of Doom” in Temple with a South American pyramid or something- the plot has been rehauled substantially because I got some feedback that the story wasn’t good enough for the characters, so I ported them to this new series of events.

    So is that considered a first draft or not? Because at one point I did have 125 pages with Fade Out on the end- but yeah, not so much anymore.

    The new draft is not overly long, I know the beats I want to hit and the key scenes I need, it’s more just hammering out the best version of a scene that moves the story along, and because I’m not being as loose as I would in first draft it’s painstakingly slow. I should probably tackle it like a first draft and then go back and cut. That might be where I’m getting stuck.

    And yeah, Love for character- Don’t really think I’ll have a problem dragging them up the mountain, cause I’ve got a bit of a sadistic streak in me and throwing them into torturous situations, hell that’s half the fun of writing.

  • Unk on Jan 18, 2007

    I’m assuming this is a first draft?

    If so, go ahead and be as free as you want with your characters… If they are taking up too much of the story — so be it. GET IT OUT OF YOUR SYSTEM.

    It’s okay to end up with a first draft of 165 pages… LOL. That’s what my first drafts almost always end up at…

    Get it out of your system NOW and not during the rewrite phase… Let your characters dazzle you with their brilliance now because on the next draft, you’ll have to be ruthless.

    How long is too long?

    There is no such thing on a first draft… Admittedly, when a first draft soars near 200 plus pages, you do have a little harder time cutting back on subsequent drafts… Well at least some do — I don’t.

    I never fall in love with my characters… I love them — don’t get me wrong but I don’t fall IN LOVE with them. They can’t love me back so why bother?

    Makes it easier to drag them up SHIT MOUNTAIN.

    Unk