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Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Write or Wrong

Do you ever feel like you have to write something meaningful every time you pick up a pen or stare at a blank Word document? I used to write for no one, and nothing in particular. Just words sometimes, or jumbled one-liner thoughts. Questions that I wanted answered. Questions I knew could never be answered but wrote down anyway. Poems that didn’t rhyme or follow any sort of pattern at all. Even words that weren’t really words.

But now, as my passion for writing grows and develops into a realistic career option, I have turned into my own worst critic. I think up ideas and toss them away just as fast without even taking three seconds to write them down. I scratch out sentences that don’t fit and fix spelling errors. It feels like I’m writing in a tiny cage on an old-school typewriter and McKee is sitting there whipping me every time I fail to follow “the rules.” He holds up the keys to the giant lock and laughs in my face. McKee is a man who wrote a book on the guidelines and structure of screenwriting.

So maybe that’s just a creepy personal nightmare, but it really makes me wonder what’s happened to me. Am I so caught up in all the wrong vs right side of screenwriting, that I’m missing the whole point to it all?

The first story I ever wrote was when I was 12 years old. I think it was 20 pages long, maybe less. It was about a popular teenage girl with a single mother who has lost all her friends and decides to run away from home forever. While the teenage girl is lost in self pity and wanders, her mother searches endlessly. The girl ends up sitting on a bridge to smoke a cigarette and a trucker stops and offers her a ride. She accepts and is never seen again.

And that was the end. I don’t even have a copy of that story anywhere, but I remember it so clearly. Don’t ask how I became such a dark depressing little girl by only 12, (okay maybe I was 13) but at least it was real.

Expressing yourself on paper through words is one of the greatest art forms in history.No one told Picasso his paintings didn’t fit the “structure or guidelines” because the truth is, art doesn’t have any.


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