January 16, 2010


My NOT So COMEDIC Affliction: “Writer’s Block”

If you’re a writer then you know what “writer’s block” means. You’re hoping to write scene after scene, you flick your computer on, open up your writing software package and stare at the screen with your fingers hovering over the keyboard.
You may even have saved your script under a title name with the words
…firmly planted in place. You know what you want to write, you may have even visualized scenes in your head… But your fingers are paralyzed, struggling to type …
INT. or EXT.
In my case, I have nearly 50 pages written. Crappy 50 pages, but 50 nevertheless. I have a fun title, a logline I like, a flaw for my character, the lesson the character learns, and a complete outline using Snyder’s Beats.
So what’s the problem? Why has it taken me 2 months to get to this point?
I think each case, each script, each moment in your life is different. It could be personal stress or issues, working double-shift etc…
I have assessed that my current situation is due to FEAR. YEP… FEAR. Now I have completed a couple of other scripts and have put down an Action-Revenge script which was moving along at a descent pace (even through graduate midterms and papers) before putting it down and starting my new baby.
So what is the basis of my FEAR?
It’s about the GENRE. It’s about stepping out of a comfort zone.
My current script is a COMEDY.
Now I’m sure there are writers out there wondering “why is this a problem?” Some writers are gifted with great comedic timing. That’s nice… **as I toss a badly rolled-up snowball at them**
Well some of you may know people like me or may even be like me – the kind of person who gravitates toward Action, Horror, Dark, Thriller, or Sc-Fi movies. Fact is if you don’t watch a lot of comedies, it’s hard to write about them. Same could be said for any genre…
If you want to be good at something, you must first become a student.
Now don’t get me wrong, it’s not like I’m a morose person. I’m not sitting around waiting for 2012 to come and wipe out humanity. Okay, maybe I am, but that’s another story.
For the last month, I went on a Comedy Netflix binge, learning about what makes comedy work – the quick one-liners, the gags etc… It’s been an enlightening experience and has helped me tremendously. I even managed to think of a gag which morphs into two more gags for my transition from ACT TWO to ACT THREE because of this. I’ve also read the first 10 pages of various Comedy scripts.
As a result, the majority of the 50 pages I’ve written have come during my Netflix viewing. I’ve been able to incorporate my NY sarcasm (uh… wit) for some jokes and gags for the situational problems my protagonist will find himself in and try to get out of. And mostly, I’ve grown an appreciation for Comedy writers.
Truth be told, the writing isn’t smooth. It’s like swiss cheese, with gaps of action and dialogue in many scenes. But the important thing is to write. It’s easier to edit a crappy scene, then to put fresh words on the page.
Of course it would be easier to just dump the story and stay in my comfort zone, sticking to a safer genre, but Comedy is popular. I think it’s important for me to at least attempt one, and quite frankly, I want to hurdle this beast… plus, I like my logline. HA!
And in the midst of all this, I managed to inadvertently come up with another comedy idea and a Rom-Com to boot. I never saw that coming! So after I finish, I’ll be sure to go on a Rom-Com binge. To Julia Roberts, Meg Ryan and Kate Hudson… Soon I’ll be on my way to a DVD starring you!
So there you have it. I’m pushing through my “writer’s block” by studying the cause of my problem and working through it (via Netflix and reading screenplays), as I slowing type letters on the screen even if they lack fluidity, until I type those last two words…
I think it’s time for a Margarita now. Cheers!


About Lisa

Passionate about movies and writing. Hopes to someday be a published writer. So when she's not staring at the tube, she's spilling her imagination onto a blank page.

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January 26, 2010 at 8:50 PM delete

Unblock and write. :^)