Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Make It Up

So I've been flailing around, trying to get started on a new TV script, feeling terribly uninspired. My few forays into hashing out an outline have come to dead ends with me feeling like a lunkhead who can't write for beans.

Yesterday things got slightly better though, because I decided to just make it up.

Yes, I know writers make up stories - that's what I'd been trying to do all along, right? But I was taking it very seriously, thinking things like, "this has to be great" and "I have to make this perfect," and so on.

But yesterday I thought, "Okay, just write the crappy version. No one's going to see it, not yet. Just make it up."

For one thing, the script was sparsely populated. I had the main character and a few others, but the story involves a mystery, and I needed suspects, a killer, red herrings. For some reason, they just weren't appearing in my mind.

So I just made it up. Okay, here's the killer. Is he married? Instead of pausing to ponder all the reasons why he should or should NOT be married, I decided, sure, he's married. Why not?

And the victim - who's in her life? Is she married? Yeah, what the hell. And then I saw a connection between the victim's husband and the villain. I never would've made that connection if I hadn't just made the husband up for no good reason. And the killer's wife? She'll make a good red herring, since it turns out the victim was sleeping with the villain. Another connection made.

So when you're stuck, forget about reason. Let go of structure and connection and trying make it all make sense. Just make it up. Make no sense for awhile. Odds are you'll then start to see connections between all the nonsense you created, and suddenly it's not so nonsensical. The stuff that isn't connected can later be cut. But don't worry about that for now. Make it up.

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