First off, I’m going to participate in the “post a week” hoo-hah that is going on. You have all been warned.
Second, I have made a decision of my life path. I don’t know, maybe it’s the fact that my dear friend over at The Uncomfort Zone has some terribly ambitious plans in the making, and is making them happen by studying for the LSAT and being all adult. Those of you that follow my twitter and have read my delusions of grandeur know what I’m talking about.
I’m gonna be a screenwriter. Preferably for TV.
You know how shows seem to fizzle at the end of approximately two seasons, and that’s if you’re lucky? How House has gone all to hell because (House Cuddy ) Huddy is fanservice. Bad. Fanservice. That would be fine except for the fact it is OUT OF CHARACTER for both of them? How Chuck is dead to me because of the shit they pulled in season three? (Aside rant: Chuck is not James Bond, people. I don’t give a flying fuck what magical computer he has stuck in his head, he’s still been a dork for how many years of his life? And NOW he’s Mr. Superspy? Oh no. Also, the only reason Superspy Barbie (Sarah) hasn’t been hauled out and shot in the head for some of the stupid shit she pulls is an act of Deus Ex Machina, nothing more. I hold to my idea that she is what murdered the show because the writers keep trying to set up chemistry that ain’t there. If Chuck has any sense at all, as he seemed to demonstrate early on, he would have taken this yo-yo thing and gone “You know what? Go cry in your ‘daddy’s in jail, I trust no one, I’m a hardass spy and cannot love you–OMGPLZDON’TGO I NEED ATTENTION IN THE FORM OF BLIND ADORATION BECAUSE NO ONE LOVED ME’ corner. Fuck this. I’m going to go find someone sane.” )
See that, right there? That’s why I’m going into screen writing. Because apparently, character continuity does not exist. It’s all about “omg, MAKE SEXUAL TENSION. MAKE IT NOW. Now beat it to death! Do it, do it!” Further more, there seems to be a trend of perpetuating the idea that you should keep pining over people that treat you like shit that needs to stop. The idea that you should let them treat you like shit, and that this is good writing and television, disturbs me. Huddy is an example (really, Cuddy? You’re the “tough” chick on the show and suddenly you NEED a baby and are letting House treat you like garbage?) and so is Chuck/Sarah. There are other examples in popular literature at the moment (Twilight, anyone? “OMG, I love you so much I’m going to take away all your friends and your decision making ability! I KNOW WHAT’S BEST”) but I’m taking on fixing TV. Why? A little history.
I have always been into two things: characters and the way they talk. I love mind hacking characters, I love figuring out why they do what they do, and I love the way they say what they do and don’t say what they do. I have been writing fanfiction most of my life. Yes, I know, I just lost all respectability as a writer. Stay with me.
Why did I turn to this hobby? Well, combine a shitty home life, school life, and a fascination for people in a little sixth grade body. Add in a dash (okay, more than a dash) of wanting to talk to someone. There you are. My writing process for getting to know characters in a nutshell. I drag a character in, sit them down, and talk to them. I’ve been poking around other people’s brains and lives ever since, learning from their mistakes, their biases, pondering the questions of what it is to be human and to be alive. Why one should bother to be alive is a popular topic, especially with the pessimists that claim to hate humanity.
Perhaps it is because of the way that I deal with characters, as beings I have little control over, real living breathing beings that have their own agendas and thoughts despite whatever I come up with and are not simply playthings for me to fuck around with and puppet as I please, that dialogue is a strong suit. How I first get to know characters, how they first charm me or repel me, is how they speak. What the say. I listen, however offensive I may find it. I spend a very long time having conversations with them before I dare to try to write for them. As a result, I always tend to get high marks for dialogue in assigned work even if the rest is crap. It’s from all those years of imaginary conversations that I kept writing until they rang true, not just settling for making the character say what I think they should to make me happy.
The other stuff, meanwhile? The long-winded ramblings of setting, back story as provided by an omniscient narrator, writing that “This happened, then this happened?” Ehh. I can, but put in that form, my words come out as clotted cream, not something you would want to put in your coffee. Dialogue, or text that sounds like dialogue, is how I tell a story, other wise it comes out dead and flat. That’s a problem in books. You gotta summarize something sometime, and describe things sometimes, and I just… suck. Believe me, I’ve been trying really hard to fix it, but I still suck. Screenwriting, on the other hand, is all dialogue and actions. You CAN just imply other action, or skip it entirely. You can cut between scenes much more easily, showing what is important rather than the important bits AND a whole bunch of summary AND description. You set the dialogue and the scene, but the rest is implied via stage direction and other suggested action.
Maybe there’s a way to write books like that. Maybe. But at the present, I’m leaning toward screenwriting as being the place I wanna be. It plays to my natural strengths. All that stuff, the arguing around the table with a bunch of coffee driven writing fiends, the deadlines, the being a part of something that’s a hit but still being able to walk down the street unmauled– I like that idea. I really do. Plus, I’m overqualified for the job, which helps. I’m gonna have a degree in English and Psych both here soonish. Now, all I gotta do is convince the folks out at Warner Bros. to let me in their elite screenwriting program once I get the hell out of this damn college.
Wish me luck.