Friday, September 20, 2013

Acting Out

Back when I was more of a painter than I writer, I never had less than two paintings going at any given time, and one of them was always mostly just for throwing down leftover paint -- building up texture. That way, I not only had a place to avoid waste, but if I got tired of one thing, I could always pop off to another with no structure and no real agenda for a while. It was still painting, but it was like... ice cream painting.

Maybe that's why I decided a couple weeks ago that I was going to write a novel. The short stories I'd cobbled into a book were fun, but I still wondered if I'd be able to sustain narrative tension, voice, and theme over a longer piece. I mentioned this before in my post about The First Rule of Write Club, but I thought today I'd explain a bit of my reason for doing so.

I've been dealing with bouts of self-pity and depression for a few months, and I thought I'd give the old "Don't think your way out -- ACT your way out" axiom a try. As an artist, "acting my way out" always involves exercising, interacting with other humans, and making stuff. Like, say, a novel. The problem I've kept running up against, though, is that every time I had an idea that I felt warranted a longer story, I've gone and turned it into a screenplay. I'm trying to break into Hollywood, after all, and the only way to do that is to work really hard to produce better and better scripts. Vicious cycle, that.

So I decided to break it by taking my latest script and reverse-engineering it into a novel. That way I wouldn't be robbing Peter to pay Paul, and I'd still have my side project.

Lo-and-behold, it's working!

Not only is my mood lightening, but I'm also about ten thousand words in, and I'm still having fun with it.

Huzzah!

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