I’ll tell you a secret. As a writer staring at that blank page sometimes fills you with so much anxiety that you feel like you are about to embark on climbing Mt. Everest.
What they don’t tell you, the big fat dirty secret, is that once you get to the top of that glorious mountain, and you have finished your first draft, you look out and all you see are more mountains. More drafts. Each one seems as big as the last. The further you get, you find your self looking for the needle in the haystack. The word that you could eliminate. The sentence that could turn the course of the whole story.
Writing is re-writing.
The paradox is, that the only way you are ever going to crank out 27,561 words (the exact word count of my screenplay), and reach the finish line where you say, “I’m done”, is if you have passion for what you are writing.
Yes, you read those scriptwriting magazines which say, “science fiction is big now”, or “science fiction is dead”. And you try and write about whatever is hot. Vampires. Facebook. But it’s an endless cycle. Because if it’s hot now, by the time you spend four years of your life trying to get the script written, and the next four years of your life getting the film made… your disco movie will find itself being very, very cold (“Staying Alive” anyone?).
Best write about what you are passionate about. Trouble with passion, like love, is that it’s blind. Not only does it make editing a borderline-impossible task, it means that every time you make a cut, you feel like you are cutting off one of your major arteries. They don’t call it “killing your babies” for nothing.
So, the only way you’ll ever climb that mountain, is if you have passion. That passion will make it borderline impossible to properly edit your magnum opus, because you will be too protective of it.
Hear comes The Polish/Draft Five.