#Aurora diary

I just seconds ago finished my first pass on my latest, a scifi epic-y script. For some reason I feel like commemorating. Maybe because it’s my first draft of a brand-new project this year… and for a very long time. I’d lost the spark for a while. Didn’t care like I had. But even if this one goes nowhere and does nothing, I’ve already greatly enjoyed the process.

One major thing I’ve learned so far is outlining is that and that alone: outlining. Way back in August of 2013, I swore to myself that I wouldn’t begin drafting until I was 100% satisfied with a highly detailed, no-questions-remaining outline. See, this was truly only the second time I’d attempted outlining before starting a new script. Well, I outlined like balls. Four straight months of nitpicking every day on this new story.

I tried to deal with every last possible detail I could think of. Everything. Every character arc, every technology question, every character motivation, every internal inconsistency.

The document ended up being something like 10 or 30 pages single spaced. I don’t recall how many, but it felt like a hell of a lot.

And more than half of it turned out to be completely useless.

Yep. Once I started drafting, I realized that lines, situations, scenes, sequences, and even whole characters that I’d painstakingly planned simply weren’t necessary.

I don’t regret it, though. While I do feel I was obviously way overdoing it, I learned how to outline and the differences between outlining and drafting.

And in only this first draft, I quickly learned more what my story’s about and what’s needed to tell it. Fact is it’s pretty simple and in fact any time so far that I’ve had a problem, the solution has been to simplify.

And simplify I’ll have to continue as though the first half, even in the shitty first-draft stage is pretty solid, the second half pretty much turns into a fallen-apart, crapfest mess. Not looking forward to that.

Actually, I am. I love solving puzzles, though usually the blindingly easy video-game Zelda puzzles. But even complicated story-structure puzzles always come down to one thing: why. It’s my opinion that as long as an audience knows why a thing should be, they’ll go anywhere. That is unless it’s comedy in which case as long as they’re laughing, they’ll go anywhere.

So on to my quest to slay the whys. With only a month to do it.

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~ by Anton A. Hill on April 30, 2014.

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