First draft

For me, writing the first draft is the hardest thing.

I think of an idea and just twirl it in my head for a few days. I think about it any time I am free… images running through my head. I’ll hit an issue. Some issues are deal breakers – if it destroys the premise or makes the whole story seem silly, poof, the idea is banished. I’ll start the same process with another idea. I usually try to work around deal breakers if I can. It might need a dramatic shift in some of the original hypotheses/characters, but I’m not attached to them yet.

Then, I write it all down in a treatment. Usually somewhere between 3 and 7 pages of prose. At this stage, I find it useful to share. I remember for one of my treatments that I shared with my workshop, the group felt that the ending seemed odd – the character was too strong to pick the option I had picked for her. I felt part of it was not understanding the cultural mileu of India, but I could also see their point. That ending… well, I am still torn on which direction to go on that.

Once I feel I have an idea that can work and outline that seems interesting, I write. Since I’ve spent so much time thinking, the writing usually goes pretty quickly. For the first section of the screenplay anyway…

The middle section is icky. Conflict arises, conflict gets worse, all the character motivations need to be ironed out. This is where I stall. Procrastination, pontification, loathing of the script, scoffing at the idea. Every tool is used to delay addressing the prickly issues.

The resolution has probably been in my head for a while. I may have a couple of alternate endings. I try to pick the less obvious/convenient one. Once I get done, I can’t look at it any more. I need time away before I can come back to it.

How does this compare to how you write? Any suggestions?