Often I start a new project filled with emotion and positivism. I have the idea, now it’s time to put it on paper (or monitor) and see it grow. Only once have I completed something that I feel comfortable with in just one day, and I still changed most of it afterwards.Several times, it takes me two or three days to really make something that makes me proud. Most ideas, I never finish.The bottom line is: It takes a tremendous amount of effort, to make something that looks effortless.
Most of the time, I’ll write something based on something I’m feeling or on an idea I just had or on something that happened to me. It will take me one paragraph to get the idea across, usually four lines. After that I usually sit down and write it. It takes me an hour to decide the first line. The first line is, I think, the most meaningful thing you can give to your audience. I very much believe in words, so I try to start my screenplays with words (written or spoken). If your first line is weak, you can pretty much say goodbye to your audience, but if your first line is strong like wasabi, you may expect a breezy stroll down literature-ville. The first line also helps to keep you motivated, and focused on what you want to communicate. Think of it as an hour well spent.
Sometimes I write the last line first. This gives me something to strive for. For example, I may not really be sure how I want to start but I know I want the last line to be “I’m moving on”. Automatically, I get a general feeling of what you want my story to be about. It must be something about growth or liberation in which my main character (human, animal, myself) has something that ties him and in the end he breaks free from it. Now I have something to build up to.
As unsure as I may be after writing either the first or last lines, I now have to figure out the rest. It’s easier, at least for me, to imagine the ending first and then everything else. In my opinion the ending is the strongest part of my story. There is two ways I can go with the ending: I can go with a closed ending, in which I wrap up the main story-line and lave very few things to the imagination, or I can go with a very open ending with very few answers to the questions I propose in the introduction and development. I have written both of them, and I like them equally.
This is where I let the story “Talk to me”. You know, something like “Believing in yourself” or “Feeling the vibes”. Between the first line and the last one there’s a lot of things that need to happen if you want your story to be even remotely interesting. This is where i usually get lost. Even If I have a vague idea of what I want to happen in my story, getting it across and in a natural sounding way is probably the most challenging thing I have ever done besides maneuvering my zeppelin through the fire-ridden skies of WWII. Difficult stuff indeed.
Anyway, once I’ve gotten everything out it helps to go and get other’s opinion. Not everyone will agree to read my stuff and, of the few who actually do, only a small fraction will give me usable feedback and only a smaller portion still will actually care about what I have just written, but it never hurts to ask. In fact, the opinions and words of encouragement from that small group of people really makes a difference when I’m lying in bed, filled with self-doubt and self-loathing believing I may never write something worth reading or worth watching. It helps me get better ideas, and it helps me be a better writer.
Finally,if you’re still reading this and would like to take some of it as advice for writing, I should point out the tremendous value of practice. Give yourself a challenge and write something a day for a month. Always carry a small notebook to write ideas. The best ideas usually come in the middle of the night or when you’re walking alone. If you can stand the sound of your own voice you can also use a voice recorder to keep your ideas in check. The important thing is to not let any ideas get away. Even if you have ideas that are no good for full stories, later on you can mix those little ideas together and create great works of literature that will attract the opposite gender and make you an unstoppable machine of writing great stuff.
I guess today’s entry is more of an insight to how I like to work. I don’t know if you care, or if you come here expecting something else, but that’s what I wanted to try today.