Let the Magic Happen by Unk Screenwriter
I don’t do guest posts that often but Marc Omeyer is a stand-up guy and I don’t run into a whole hell of a lot of stand-up guys these days. Follow Marc on Twitter @marc_omeyer — you’ll be glad you did.
So I’ve spent the last couple of weeks wondering what to write about… Didn’t want to do the same old, same old and recently, I’ve been doing so much THINKING about concepts that I wondered when was the last time anyone’s ever discussed the THINKING part about writing?
I don’t think we, as writers give ourselves enough time to let concepts, storylines, and characters simply simmer in our minds before we begin to write.
Why? Well, like everything, we’re always in a hurry to get things done. But to me, a story is a lot like a relationship. You start out great but somewhere down the line, you get to know each other’s idiosyncrasies and your affection for this person either moves ABOVE or BELOW the baseline for awhile until you decide that it’s a relationship worth progressing.
I think the same holds true for a story or concept…
I don’t think a lot of us TRUST our brains to DO THE RIGHT THING when it comes time to write. But you can.
In fact, there’s a certain amount of research out there that suspects when we come up with an idea for a story, we have pretty much have the entire story figured out by the time we actually THINK about it.
You just have to figure out how to pull it out and get it on paper.
Remember… The brain is like a muscle. You gotta keep working out with it to keep it finely tuned. THINKING is no different than any skill we have to learn. Unfortunately, most people and a lot of writers never even give THINKING the time of day.
They just DO IT.
In fact, a lot of people allow others to do the THINKING for them.
That’s one of the things that actually limit our thinking… Believe it or not, many of us writers allow others to do the thinking for us. Sounds crazy, right? But oh so true.
Other ways we limit our thinking is simple self confidence. Again sounds crazy since we don’t really have to share our thoughts OUT LOUD but many prospective writers are worried that writing down their story (their thoughts and thought processes) opens them up to judgment, scorn, ridicule, etc.
So they don’t think OR write.
This is especially not good when you consider that we, as human beings are naturally wired to tell stories. It’s like raising a thoroughbred racehorse and never letting him run.
That’s one of the reasons the Internet can be such a valuable tool for writers. Sure, it’s great for research… Sure, it’s great for social networking but what I like best about the net is that for once in my life, the flow of information is no longer being controlled by whatever entity I’m currently involved with. It doesn’t take one long to realize that the larger the entity, the more that entity tries to CONTROL THE FLOW OF INFORMATION they put out.
I am finally in control of what I want to read, absorb, and think about.
Read the New York Times long enough, and you’ll eventually see and feel an agenda coming through. Same with most websites and of course, there’s nothing wrong with this… It’s a free country and they’re just supporting their own beliefs.
But where the Net really comes in handy is opposing views… Even if I have a certain belief in something… Some concept, I am always open to other points of view and I personally believe it is these other points of view that can expand my THINKING and work the muscle inside my head more than anything else.
Often, it is these opposing views that keep making us ask, « What if? » WHAT IF is probably my most wonderful tool to provoke interesting thought. I don’t believe people and writers use it enough. I mean think of the possibilities if you’re a writer!
A simple « WHAT IF? » question can seriously start the snowball rolling down the hill and picking up new information all the way down. One WHAT IF question will almost always spawn yet another WHAT IF question and on and on it goes. Truly a valuable tool to use for thought and storytelling.
IF you use it.
Images. WOW! Another amazing tool at our fingertips that’s simply not used enough by writers. You’re on Google performing research, right? Why not perform that same research with an image search? A video search? A news search? You’ll be amazed at the stuff that comes up IF you’re willing to wade through it. You never know when a specific image, video, or news story about something you’re researching is going to trigger your brain to come up with something amazing.
As I stated earlier in the post… There are experts that, when it comes to storytelling, think the brain has already figured out the story but it’s down deep inside and we have to PULL it out of us and really, the only way to do that is to keep the stimuli flowing and as it flows, keep notes of some kind until you’ve pulled the story out ENOUGH to begin writing.
Take yourself OFF THE HOOK when it comes to thinking and writing. Sure, we all want to stick to that five pages a day and in a perfect world, that certainly is appealing. Take that remorseful weight off your shoulders about not writing yesterday and today because in all liklihood, you were still THINKING about your story.
I don’t live in a perfect world and for me personally, I find that it’s OKAY to not write 5 pages a day when I’m NOT EXCITED. I’d rather let my concept, storyline, and characters SIMMER and keep the flow of stimuli coming in, causing me to keep thinking and tweaking until I SNAP THE FUCK UP because something just HIT ME like a TON OF BRICKS and I’m ready to write.
When that happens, it’s MAGIC. Pure, unaldulterated magic. And those five pages a day become 25 pages a day… 50 pages a day. Sometimes an entire first draft within a week.
Let it happen.
by Unk Screenwriter
He’s fun and friendly. Smart and a bit of an ironical chinese monk. He loves a good whiskey and hot beauties sensually whispering wild and undecent promises of lust to his ears. Oh, and he’s been in the industry for decades. As a screenwriter, script doctor, producer. He has read, written, evaluated thousands of script pages.
While so many gurus flourish everywhere, some others keep their experience and precious knowledge as an elixir not to be vainly spread. We need more voices like him, seasoned writers, experienced adventurers who tested their souls in the writing journeys. Follow him on twitter @UnkScreenwriter or on his website www.screenwriterunknown.com.
If you are in search of valuable insights, of the most efficient way to express your own voice, or willing to contribute to the authentic revival of the movie industry, well, here is a decent man, a skillfull pro, an authentic master of the craft, here is Unk, a brother for all of us involved in the quest for a truely uplifting writing.