I am in search of a working method – purely because I don’t have one. I’m the sort of misguided idiot who outlines as he’s limping along, which is guaranteed to send you doolally, especially by the point the eighth draft drops and you haven’t nailed that annoyingly illogical moment in the third act. I always used to think that outlining/writing a treatment helped, but the problem with that is that it kind of sucks the soul out of what I’m writing and turns it into the script equivalent of an Ikea catalogue. I can’t do mechanistic – it hurts.
So I’m taking advice from the great man John August, who I don’t think really trusts outlines much either:
Ask: What needs to happen in this scene? Just come up with one or two sentences that explain what absolutely must happen...
And that’s it – my new working method. I tore apart an eighty-five page first draft the other day and this is the only way I can see to get the damned thing moving again without descending into the brain numbing hellhole of an outline.
(Just as well I don’t have one of those groovy little bar things at the side of my blog to show the progression on my most current draft - on day seven it would be 10% completed, day seventeen would be 85%, and day seventy would be 3%. That’s assuming I would have the technical ability to put one up there in the first place).
There’s also quite a helpful post over at Pillock’s Pad, which neatly summarises what little method I actually possess (It seems that by jumping straight into the writing, the brain mobilises more creative faculties than it does by carefully planning first). By sitting in the scene itself and staring hard at a blank screen, ideas actually start to bubble up that have absolutely nothing to do with an outline. The problem with this of course is that I’m not exactly forging ahead at a rate of knots – every page I write has an effect on the pages preceding it, which means that yes, I’m outlining as I’m writing – which is multi-tasking hell.
On a lighter note, Robin Kelly and I are rejoicing this week as Broken Social Scene has just announced a short UK tour in May. Get your tickets now, kids.