Monday, July 11, 2011

All Lit Up (then no where to go)

Lately, I’ve been writing my first thriller. I have a concept that’s fairly promising. Though I have to admit one writer I started pitching it to, interrupted me thirty seconds in to say, “That’s hysterical!” I paused, told him it was actually a thriller, to which he looked at me puzzled and said, “Oh... But I thought you write comedy.” I said I write a lot of things. He wasn’t convinced it was really a thriller and spent the rest of dinner popping up with excitement about my great new comedy. And I can actually see how it might make a fun little absurdist comedy. So now part of me is wondering if I’m writing the completely wrong genre for this idea. Wrote a detailed 10-page outline and most everything finally fits together (with one or two kinks I’m still trying to smoothe out). I had the misguided idea to give that to a few friends to get their feedback. Everyone had something different to say and it's left me confused as to what this whole film really is - even though I'd known perfectly what it was before. But I pushed myself through writing almost half the script… and instead of getting more energized about it as I go, I no longer care about it. So I went back and plotted out the whole thing in a beat sheet. One sentence per scene. That was going to clarify its essence and make it smooth sailing to the end of the first draft. Instead it's got me stuck in my tracks. I can barely move forward. It's funny because the concept came to me a while ago quite organically when an ex-girlfriend suggested I stop emailing her because continuing to do so was like trying to raise the dead. In fact, she gave me a parting gift by declaring in a form of religious hyperbole that continuing communication with her was a form of necromancy. Of course, while driving through the barren plains of Botswana a few weeks later, that inspired a movie in which a scientist obsessed with his dead wife clones her with disastrous results. At the time I was pretty excited by my literary jujitsu. I’d taken a vicious end to a relationship and turned it into fictional kindling. And it crackled. But now that I’ve done the “heavy-lifting” to craft a real story from this concept, I feel I sucked the life from it. Or maybe I just didn’t notice that it was a comedy all along. 
Have you ever worked something out so much that you’re no longer lit up by it?

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