Archive for the ‘Updates from the Outlaw’ Category

dear blog

Posted: January 31, 2011 in Updates from the Outlaw

Dear blog,

Are you worth it?

We have been together for seven months, and in those seven months, blog, you have taken big chunks of time, collected a lot of spam, and have, in general, been a pain in the butt.

Why do we stay together, blog? Can you tell me why?


Limp along, Little Doggy

Posted: January 24, 2011 in Updates from the Outlaw

I’ve been miserable, laid out sick this last week. It has hampered my writing progress, and in the meantime, I ended up taking on another small project.

January 31st, people. January 31st, I am finishing this book. Come hell or high water.

Happy Writing Trails

Posted: January 17, 2011 in Updates from the Outlaw

So one thing I find interesting about my current work, that of transforming a film script into a novel, is that I often find myself unwinding scenes. In the script, I made an effort to set up scenes quickly, to layer in meaning, to avoid repeating myself. That led to scenes that are like tight coils of words.

But in the novel form, my focus has changed. The script never had the opportunities for character development that the novel has, but in particular, I am digging deeper into the main character’s head. There are more bread crumbs in the novel. So it is much as though I were uncoiling these scenes from the script into ribbons that lead off into blind alleys and unknown territories.

I am starting to realize that after the novel, I am going to have to return to the script and rewrite it to include all the gems I am discovering along this way.

Also, go football!

Yesterday, I watched an old cut of The Making of Iridium Consequence. For various reasons—money, frustration, other projects—I haven’t thought about this movie in a month. It turned out to be a good thing, because I was able to see it with fresh eyes, and my fresh eyes saw that the movie definitely starts slow, but that when it gets going, it is a good movie. It needs sound desperately.

These fresh eyes are ready to tackle the project again. There are a few things I want to simplify—the CGI, for example, and the beginning if possible. And if I can find all the actors again, we are going to need to ADR a bunch.

I had gotten caught up in how hard it has been to push this movie forward, and forgot for a while that the project is worth the effort. But it is worth the effort. So I’m rolling up my sleeves, spitting on my hands, and then I’m going to go wash my hands, because that is gross. But eventually, I am getting back to work.


Happy New Year, Outlaws! I have a feeling that 2011 is going to be a great year.

My resolutions for the New Year? This is going to be the year that we finish The Making of Iridium Consequence! It is so close to done. So close. And I have had a break from it, and got myself all enthusiastic about it again.

This is also the year that I intend to get more outlaws in my posse. And by that, I mean guest bloggers. So keep an eye open for that. Yeeha!

And this is the year that we will finally get to see Thor as a movie directed by Kenneth Branaugh. The guy does Shakespeare!


Outlaw at the Lake House

Posted: December 20, 2010 in Updates from the Outlaw

Here I am, at a lake house with nothing to do but write, and what has happened? I have suddenly become an avid and intricate cook.

The other thing that has happened is I have been gripped by a story I did not intend to write while I was here. It’s an idea for a television series, a high quality, short season series that would belong on a channel like HBO. I didn’t intend to work on it because if I get to see this project to fruition, it won’t be soon.

Here’s the worst part. I have thought my way past the series time frame, when things are interesting, way down the road to the characters all settling down and having children. I am gripped by it. My thoughts keep straying away from the task at hand to this epilogue of something else I have no intention of writing right now.

Usually, when the imagination is forging new territory, that is the perfect time to bang out a first draft. But this isn’t the draft I want. This isn’t the draft anybody wants. I can’t imagine anything more dull than the junk I can’t stop thinking about.

It reminds me of playing Legos with my brother as a child. He would stage battles and build vehicles. I would build a house. Not a good house. Just a one brick high outline of a house. And I would enact Lego Man sagas of love, family, and death. I went through generations of Lego men. I wept over their little travails, that I was the author of. There were unending birth scenes, death bed scenes, and marriage proposals. I did this compulsively. There were variations of course. Sometimes the little Lego couples would get married on my brother’s bed. Sometimes they got married on the floor. The words changed. I thought they changed.

But as a writer, I now know that most of the times a child is born, it is a great moment to that child’s parents and family, but not the rest of the world. Just like I know that a story shouldn’t begin with the main character waking up. It seems like the beginning of something, but isn’t.

Because there is the one big question the writer has to answer with the story. So what? And this stuff I’m lingering on fails to answer that question.

I spent an hour planning how one family would make space for the Mother-in-Law to move in with them.

So why can’t I get past this?

Reason number 1: it is a sophisticated procrastination technique.

I can believe this because I sometimes feel like my own subconscious is the greatest enemy of my writing. And because I am being more compulsive than normal about it. And because I often feel the need to lay down on the couch with my eyes closed to more fully concentrate on it.

Reason number 2: it is more interesting that I think it is, and I should be writing it.

Maybe. But my judgement says no, and if I don’t trust my own judgement, where does that end?

If I got to a place where the original story got made into a television series, it would have to last fifteen seasons to get to this place. And the tone is different, and the characters are all more mellow and accepting, and the conflict is over, and really, it’s just the stuff that happens after the story ends, which is still a story, but a different story, for a different audience. But without the original story, none of this would make much sense, and people would care less.

I care. The audience is me. Because that’s part of the schizophrenia that is fiction writing. I invent people in my head that I then fall in love with and want to know their whole lives, even though the story is mostly them surviving the disasters I have inflicted on them. Yet there is also the feeling that I didn’t choose, that these things are inevitable. See reason number 4.

Reason number 3: it addresses some problem of my own personal psyche.

I am purposefully isolating myself. And this story is all about mundane interpersonal connections. Maybe my subconscious is screaming at me to have some company over.

Reason number 4: I have lost my mind.

We must acknowledge that this very well may be the motivation for everything I do.

Last night, I had a dream, in which Brad Pitt and Salma Hayek and Stephen Mangan, the curly-haired actor from the British television series The Green Wing, came over to my much-nicer-than-real-life house to celebrate Christmas.

It was all very friendly until Mr. Mangan got in a huff that no one knew who he was or anything about his show. I tried to console him by telling him that I had written about one of his co-stars on my blog, but knew, even dreaming, that I had done no such thing, and that I considered his series uneven at best, and thought the creator had mistaken desperate offensiveness for comedy.

Brad Pitt didn’t say much. He was pretty much a dud. Always standing in the corner and not contributing. But Salma tried to keep everything friendly and fun, then we all visited a sick kid.

Anyhow, how weird is it that I dreamt about this blog? Crazy.

The news is that I am now holed up in a borrowed lake house to write. It’s cold outside, but inside, I have chocolate donuts, no distractions, and all the time in the world, and it is my intention to kick out one new screenplay, two new novels, several revisions and world peace while I am at it.

The progress on The Making Of Iridium Consequence is stalled on all fronts, and I have no choice but to wait out other people’s real jobs or raise some money.

In the meantime, I thought I’d get back to doing what I do best: writing. And because I have been busy with other things, I have a backlog of writing I want to do. Which has led me to my current dilemma: what to do first?

Answer: whatever will sell the fastest.