The Actual Writing – Part Two

The moment of glibness having passed, I remembered James Cameron‘s superb description of the process in the introduction to his 1993 scriptment of Strange Days:

I find the writing follows a logarithmic curve. Plotted against time, the curve is almost flat at first, then curves upward until it is nearly vertical.

I offer this not as an excuse but as a possible explanation of how I write.

I’d like to think I’m a regular kind of writer – y’know, bang out five/ten/whatever pages of script per day, no matter how long it takes, come family crisis or no. But try as I might, I’m not that kind of writer. (Nor would my family allow it.) I have to set aside a fixed number of hours per day to write. Sometimes they’re productive, sometimes they’re not. What’s important, for better or worse, is that I have the time to be creative. I need the discipline.

My first feature script followed that curve for the most part. Well, it would if you saw it from the far end of the room; up close, the peaks and valleys leading up to The Big Upward Curve represented the failed attempts to turn it first into a novel, then a comic. It was a combination of extreme boredom and some depression that put me onto screenplays. Everything clicked. It was game on.

After missing a couple of self-imposed deadlines, and in the lead-up to a Meaningful Birthday, there was a blurry month – this was pre-Goddess – where full-time work took up a third of the day, and the remaining waking hours were spent hunched over a keyboard. And then, for the first time, I got to type in the magic words:

Screenplay

by

D F Mamea

It felt good.

Still does, each time I get there.

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