Sunday, May 1, 2011


This time, I really didn't think I was going to make it. 30 days, 100 pages of a script--no big deal, right?


Write, write, write. And when there were only three days left to go, I still had almost 40 pages to do. And we were heading into a busy weekend, and for the first time since I started the highly addictive games of NaNoWriMo and ScriptFrenzy, I thought I wasn't going to make it to the finish line.

With exactly eighteen minutes to go until midnight tonight, I pulled past the 100 page mark and certified my word count; and a little more than an hour later, I've finished the whole darned thing, with a total page count of 111 pages of a silly but fun fairy-tale script that I know my kids will enjoy.

The thing is, I'm a terrible scriptwriter. I have no idea how movie writers do it, let alone playwrights. The only thing I write worse than scripts are my attempts at poetry (actual poetry, that is; doggerel and parody verse do not count). Thank goodness there's no "National Poetry Writing Month," because I'd never be able to do that one.

So why do it at all? Why take part in a totally for-fun month-long writing contest when I don't really do the whole "scriptwriter" thing?

There are two reasons, really. The first is that challenging myself to write something that isn't easy for me makes me a better writer in the long run. I may never write an even passable script, but if my regular fiction and non-fiction writing improves as a result, then it's worth the struggle.

The second is that writing a script badly is like writing a really good outline of the plot and dialog of a novel. I hope, as I continue to dabble (as yet unpublished) in the field of intermediate children's fiction that I may turn to these scripts some day and think, "Hmm--lousy script--but there's a not-half-bad children's book in that thing, and all I've got to do is dust it off, add some good descriptive passages, tighten the dialog and smooth it all over." Which would be a really awesome way to get a children's book ready for publication in a remarkably short space of time.

While I'm celebrating my present and unexpected success in completing a script I didn't think was going to make it as of three days ago, I'd like to ask you all this question: if somebody was magically going to hand you a book contract tomorrow, what would you write (genre, type, etc.) and why?


scotch meg said...

I would write another novel. The first one got good reviews from the people who read it (not all of them friends!), good marks for writing quality from publishers (but no takers), and no publication.

So I'd like to try again.

Red Cardigan said...

What's your novel about, Scotch Meg? (just generally--not asking for plot reveals). Would you ever consider self-publishing, via a service like Amazon's Create Space or something similar?

Deirdre Mundy said...

Upper MG/ YA sci fi... because that's what I'm in the middle of revising at the moment anyway! ;)

My other "dream book" is a series of books on various Catholic religious orders for tweens and teens--- because so many kids don't even know there ARE orders, much less anything about them. But there's NO market for Catholic kids NF.....

And I'd love to do a historical fiction on Colonial MD, but the research for Hist. Fic. is expensive and time consuming. So straight up scifi it is for now! :)

I keep at the novel thing, even though I've never sold one-- after all, I have a better chance of selling a book than of winning the lotto!

LarryD said...

Congratulations, Red!

Didn't I send you the first couple chapters of my entry in last year's NaNoWriMo? And did you ever read them?

And what about those word searches I sent you? Any thoughts about those?

Personally - I don't think I could do the script thing either, but that's not to say that I won't give it a go one of these times. I'm impressed by your determination and persistence.