Thursday, September 10, 2009

Tweaking: Tuesday and Wednesday

It's funny —and you know, neat!— how writing informs work, and work informs writing. Learning to sit down and work like I'm able to sit down and write. And if I were writing this two years ago, I would also have something to say about how skating informs writing; actually I did write about this two years ago, in my basically defunct livejournal. And actually, I do have this to say: it's like skate and counterskate. These are the directions that you skate around a track or rink, if you don't know; skate is counterclockwise, counterskate is clockwise. Most people are more comfortable skatewise than counterskatewise; but not me, I am backwards! I've finally learned to skate comfortably skatewise like I was comfortable skating counterskatewise. Paying attention to how I was doing it in the one direction, and applying that to the other direction.

How I work is, it says on my to do list: Pay Fed Withholding. It's in Title Case; so I know it's something that I do either weekly or monthly, and I know that I don't pay federal withholding tax weekly. If you were wondering, Sentence case means it's something that I do either daily or quarterly, UPPERCASE means biweekly, and lowercase means random. You are probably sorry that you wondered.

Anyway I look at Pay Fed Withholding like Leonard Shelby seeing John G. raped and murdered my wife for the first time for the fifieth time, and I reach for the purple binder. Under the Monthly Tasks tab, some nice person (me) has written:

In QuickBooks
1. Select Home > Payroll Center.
...so I look in QuickBooks, select Home and then Payroll Center. And I pretty much follow the instructions until I'm done with this task.

I sort of want instructions like that for writing a screenplay. So when I wake up with no memory of who I am and a dead hooker in my bed, I can reach for the purple binder on the nightstand & some nice person (me, again) will have written:

In Excel
1. Select ETERNAL RETURN story.xls.

This is me writing this screenplay and figuring out a few more instructions for writing a screenplay in the process, picking up from the instructions I left off with. Was I ever lost in the wilderness when I started INTROVERT, I particularly painfully remember careening between index cards and white boards and supermagnets to stick the index cards to the white boards & also managing to wipe my credit card in the checkout line with aforementioned supermagnets. What I finished INTROVERT with were these two Excel worksheets: INTROVERT story.xls and INTROVERT scenes.xls.

INTROVERT story.xls is the story broken down into scenes, per three-act screenplay structure. INTROVERT scenes.xls are the scenes broken down into lines, nevermind that for the moment—

You hear a lot about story cards for writing screenplays; but you know, databases used to be done in index cards & they aren't anymore. If I really need to get physical, I break out the sharpies and the index cards, and actually, I keep my to do list on index cards; when the software comes out that can manage my to do list, I will know that we are living in the future. A screenplay: a lot simpler than my to do list. In an Excel worksheet, the cells are the cards and the worksheet is the whiteboard. You can drag and drop the cards all around the whiteboard, and also you can edit the cards.

So the past two nights, I laid out the story for THE ETERNAL RETURN up to the second three-quarters turning point. I think it took me a year to get to that point with INTROVERT.

More about story structure coming up, and the things that feed into that...

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