Friday, April 30, 2010

Beyond ScriptFrenzy

So I won ScriptFrenzy.
The competition is the screenplay sister to the amazing National Novel Writing Month, better known as NaNoWriMo, which invites you to write 50,000 words in just one month, November.
With the scripts, it's 100 pages in April. I took part in NaNoWriMo in 2007 and 2008, wrote one story - 72,000 words - the first time around, and two stories - for a total of 101,000 words the second time around. However, I also found that the tough tempo during November led to a backlash in December. I hardly wrote anything worthwhile for more than a month after NaNo, as it's commonly called.
Luckily, ScriptFrenzy is more relaxed. I found that out last year, when I first 'won' the competition with a screenplay that was, to say the least, a bit average. I did like the tempo of having to write just an average of 3.3 pages a day, especially if you know the way properly formatted scripts look - there's hardly anything on a page. It all comes down to knowing and feeling your story, and being able to take it to its logical conclusion after about 100 pages, in my case this year, 109 pages.
I was thinking of doing a more modernized version of an old tale - I considered historical figures from Cleopatra to Napoleon's wife, and finally settled on that semi-mythical English person who had Belgian chocolates named after her, Lady Godiva. I let her lead her life in the Middle Ages but I added other elements to spice up the story.
So I won ScriptFrenzy. All you need to do to win is write the 100 pages and have the website's counter count or 'validate' your number of pages. The end result is that you get to show off logos like the one at the top of this blog post.
Now that ScriptFrenzy is over, I don't feel a backlash at all. Quite the contrary. I'm playing with ideas for three stories, and none of them look like scripts.
The first one is a classic action thriller, which if it were made into a TV series, would look somewhat like 24 but with more exotic and international connections, if that's possible. But as said, it's not a TV or not even a movie script, but a novel. Which means it needs up to 100,000 words.
You know what those script sites say about TV scripts: no violence, no gore, no nudity, because it's TV. Well, my second idea for a novel would not make it as a TV script. The problem is not the violence, there will only be a little bit, not the gore, I don't plan any horror, but if it were TV, it would have to have a lot of nudity. Which does not mean it's all about sex or eroticism. It might have some Sex and the City elements but they will not dominate. I'll explain it later, but I can tell you now the novel will be an intrigue about strangers with mysterious pasts coming together.
Both previous projects are more than just ideas, since over the past month I worked out their outlines, wrote about the main characters and the direction the intrigues are supposed to take.
The third and final idea is really that: just an idea, no outline, and no plan to start writing straight away. It might be something for later this year, or next, once the two other projects are finished.
The story idea combines elements from LOST - but without the strong supernatural and time-jumping tones - with The Da Vinci Code - but no churches and biblical plots nor medieval conspiracies. Strange things will happen, and the hero will race against the time to save the world from a dangerous threat. Yes, it's a thriller again.
All three stories could be categorized as thrillers, because that is what I love to read and watch. But the three stories will definitely have individual tones: the first one is an international action thriller, the second one almost a single-location mystery with holiday elements, and the third one a thriller with supernatural and futuristic elements.
Tomorrow is Day One of 2010 Post ScriptFrenzy.

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