A writing experiment

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I love to try new ways of writing, just in case there’s a better way out there that I haven’t yet discovered.

Only, well, lately I have had very little time for writing experiments.

As a matter of fact, during all the moving mess of the past six months I’ve had very few opportunities to do any writing. The disruptions to the daily routine that happen when your house is on the market is not in the least conducive to a good writing environment.

So many brokers called to schedule a viewing that I quickly learned to hate my phone. It went from being a toy of communication to a tool of bondage. It distracted me away from writing like nothing else ever has.

For me, it just doesn’t work to be deep in a storyline and have to dig myself out to answer the phone.

So when I read a book that laid out, step-by-step, the similarities of every successful movie, I decided to do an experiment. I’d create a beat sheet based on the points listed in the book, and use it as an outline for a movie.

My experiment had to wait until the calls for showings halted, which wasn’t until we found a buyer for our house.

Unfortunately, the buyer wanted some changes done to the house before the sale was finalized.

I was so frustrated by the time I had already lost that I sat down in the living room and hammered out the beat sheet while a maelstrom of workers rewired my house.

That night after the workers left I reread the beat sheet and was pleased with the story I had created. It had everything the book listed as necessary for a successful movie, as well as everything I had learned about storytelling.

But–and this is rather important–no matter how many times I tried to sit down and write the screenplay, I just couldn’t do it. Something didn’t feel right. The beat sheet worked as a beat sheet, but not as an outline. I couldn’t convert it to the next stage.

Since then weeks have gone by and I’m now in my new apartment. This morning I got out the beat sheet and decided to give it another go.

It was still no good. Something didn’t flow. It felt wrong.

So I pushed the beat sheet away and started from scratch. And by scratch I mean the beat sheet stopped being an outline and became a series of suggestions.

Words flowed from my fingers like magic.

Which is why I call this experiment in writing a success. Everyone has their own writing method. For me, too much structure is just as bad as not enough.

I need wiggle room to write.


What do you think?