Thursday, March 12, 2009

How I Write: In The Flow

On Sunday, I found my writing flow. I thought I'd write down how I found it and what it is, partly as a reminder for myself for when I don't have it!

First thing Sunday, I was working on The Gap but finding the process hard going. I wanted to be doing anything else, and found myself continually procrastinating.

More than that - I realised I was stressed.

I was stressed in exactly the same way I would be if I was at a dinner party where I wasn't enjoying myself, but was making an effort to look like I was having a great time.

That realisation woke me up. Instead of being in touch with the writing, I was at a distance. And I was finding working like that was a draining experience. It was tiring me out!

So I did something totally different. I wrote a dialogue between my two main characters.

I let them talk about their issues, but in a very unreal way - something I'd never use in the finished script. I let them be my mouthpieces and just let them talk about what they were concerned about. Or rather, what I was interested in.

What I was looking for was not to get to the heart of them, but to get to the heart of my interest in the script. The nugget, to throw back to an old idea.

And I got into the flow. The writing wasn't hard anymore. It was rejuvenating actually. I wrote the first scenes for The Gap that I thought were actually good.

I haven't been able to totally hold on to Sunday's flow experience. It hasn't taken permanently. However I have been able to get back to feelings similar to it. And I'm continuing to write stuff which I think is better. So I think Sunday has made a lasting impact on me.


Lyse Beck said...

I love to do this. I often write piles of crap deliberately not for the script, but for me. So I can get to know my characters better. I can know what their conflicts are, what motivates them. I mostly love to hear from the darker characters as I have trouble with understanding them (and therefore writing them). I once wrote a dialogue between myself as the writer, and the dark and cold antagonist in my story. It shocked me to my core. But really helped clarify things for me, and my story. It's interesting that you have found this sideline to be helpful as well. And I agree, it certainly helps to "put me in the mood" to write.

the daily screenwriter said...

That sounds great! I haven't tried that myself but it sounds really interesting and I'm impressed how well it worked.

Sean_Molloy said...

Hi Lyse and Daily Screenwriter. Thanks for your comments.

It's great to hear you do this often Lyse. It's something I think I will start doing more and more, given that it was successful and I enjoyed it!