Thursday, January 2, 2014

Rough Drafts, Writing Schedules and FUN STUFF!

My writing space, sans paper piles and good chair
Wow.  It's been almost a year since I updated this page?  WHAT???  Oy.  Let me see if I can remember what I've done since then!

I did finish the research to my satisfaction during the first several months of this year.  Truly, what God has shown me is fascinating stuff!  I cannot wait to share it with the world!  It all has a direct impact on the creative choices I've made in this screenplay.  There will be many questions as to timeline, how old Jesus actually was when the Magi found Him, why Mary and Joseph were alone in Bethlehem, why they traveled for the census so close to Jesus' birth... In fact, I now know I am going to have to write a book to answer all of those questions.

Want to know the Super Cool God Thing about writing a book about this?  I'm going to have to include the research I did for Who Does He Think He Is?  It ties directly into this entire project. Only God could have orchestrated that.  I honestly thought that when I started working on Wise Men that WDHTHI? would be a completely separate thing.  Shows what I know!

Once I finished the research it was time for planting season (my husband is a farmer) and then it was summer.  I took the summer off from everything except my weekly post at Daily Fast Fuel. Good choice, I believe.  I managed to stay sane and not stress about the work I wasn't doing.  I was pouring myself into my fellas.  But once school was back in session I got to work on the actual writing of the screenplay.

I had hoped to have a finished script by the end of the year.  Then I hoped to just be done with the first draft by the end of the year.  I am probably 2/3 - 3/4 of the way done, and I am pretty happy with that.  I took December off to focus on Christmas and the boys, but now that it's January, I'm back at it!

Thanks to my friend Lewis Chaney, I am using Celtx software to write.  Thanks to YouTube tutorials by expertvillage (Celtx seems to think it doesn't need any), I am actually making it work!

AND I FINALLY have discovered how to use my time most efficiently...for me and my personality and schedule and life.  Some people write first thing in the morning or last thing at night. Some write 8 hours a day.  Some write in nature, or a coffee shop, or at home. I've discovered that what works best for me is to write at home, first thing in the afternoon until the boys get home from school.  This way I have the mornings to accomplish life stuff so I don't feel like my entire To Do List is hanging over my head.  I find it very hard to concentrate when that feeling that I should be accomplishing other things won't leave me alone.  This way I can tell that feeling to bug off, I DID accomplish something, and now I am accomplishing other things.

Really, my brain (and neck) will only really focus on writing for about two hours anyway, so this works perfectly.  Then the boys get home and it's homework, their activities, supper and family time.  I've quit trying to find large blocks of time to write--it just ain't happenin'.  I'm better with that time crunch interspersed through the week. HOPEFULLY that means that the rest of the first draft, and all subsequent drafts, will be quicker.

It's been fun to see all the pieces coming together, and how God gives me exactly what I need when I need it--be it character insights, plot devices, music, or an interesting way to explain something.  I can't wait to finish it and show it to you!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Musical Inclinations and Research, Research, Research!

One of my favorite parts of writing this screenplay is the musical inspiration I am finding.  As with most inspiration, it can come at any time--from a song on the radio while I'm driving, while listening to Pandora, the random shuffle of a playlist, something sung at church, any number of places.

I have songs that encapsulate parts of characters' personalities, songs that WILL be in certain scenes, even songs for the credits.  Some inspire the mental picture of a scene.  Others I search for to complement a scene already written.  Some I want to use As Is and some I need re-recorded with a different feel.  Nearly all of them I have felt led to.

One night I thought, "I need some music for when they start out on the road trip."  For some reason I began scrolling through one of my playlists and found THE PERFECT song for it.  I can exactly see and hear it and that is SO EXCITING!  It's from the '80s and a bit heavier on the synthesizer than I need, so that one will need some work.  What fun!

Another song is one we sang at our Christmas worship service and I knew it would be perfect, but what version?  What type of sound?  And where will it go exactly?  After much batting around and letting my little grey cells work their magic, I finally determined where I wanted it and that I needed it to be instrumental.  If the words were included it would give away the plot line before I'm ready.  So then, will it be a grand orchestration?  A more modern take a la Mannheim Steamroller?  Simple and woodsy?  I scrolled through my choices and one version caught my attention.  I clicked to listen and suddenly I could see it playing on the screen.  Perfection again!  AND if the audience members know the words well enough they will see for certain how perfect it is.  I love writing things that, if you dig a little further in, you find even more meaning.

Speaking of digging further, I believe I am nearly finished with the research portion and can soon get down to the actual task of writing scenes and dialog.  I have one more book to read, a few questions to answer and then look out!

Well, that's the plan for now.  Knowing God, that can change at any time.  But, that's part of what makes it all so exciting.  :)