There is a fine line when it comes to abandoning a writing project or choosing to finish it. Some writers will claim that there are stories they’ve tossed entirely and successfully moved on to something bigger and better. Although this notion of “abandonment” isn’t necessarily wrong, my problem is that the second I run into writing trouble, I want to forget about the project and start a new one.
This is a problem a lot of novice writers face. The moment they have a mental block about their story, they shut down and put their project away. Overwhelmed by the workload to fix the problem, they toss thier ideas in the trash heap and tell themselves they aren’t any good. Instead of picking it up again when inspiration hits, they feel the need to start something new… until they hit the wall again. This endless cycle of starting a project and never finishing one is really toxic to your craft.
Excuse me for the cheesy cooking analogy, but the right path is to keep your stubborn writing projects on simmer. You never know when a character will start speaking to you again, and it would be a shame for you to have thrown all your work away.
I learned this lesson the hard way by trying to “purge myself” of a writers block and dramatically incinerating all the work I had done. As I watched a few months work burn in our backyard firepit, I felt like a jedi… cleansing my mourning by burning a fallen colleague. It wasn’t until my story started speaking to me months later that I realized I had to start from scratch. DOH!
I should have listened to my Grandfather. He once said to me, “If you never climb the mountain, you’ll never see the view.”
Fortunately, writing can be resurrected at a moment’s notice.
If you truly cannot make creative progress with your craft, set the project aside and let it cook for a little while. If you’re anything like me, by the time you pick up a pen and write Once Upon a Time, your other project will start screaming at you.
I believe that abandoning a writing project is rarely necessary. Every writer should finish something before deciding what to do with their project. Regardless of how blocked or frustrated you might be, if you never finishing anything you’re denying yourself the satisfaction of a job well done.
A few months ago, I wrote this article about the importance of being an emotionally healthy writer. As a follow up to what I’ve said previously, today I’d like to address something that I struggle with every week, in hopes that it can shed some illumination on how to avoid letting your fiction become your reality.
I’ve always been too creative for my own good.
I don’t say this to toot my horn. Rather, I want to illustrate how my relationships with other people tend to go down hill fairly quickly. I’m a writer whose imagination won’t shut off at the blank page and tends to creep into my personal life like unwanted weeds.
It usually starts if I haven’t been writing for a while. Instead of concentrating on what my characters should do next, my brain dreams up hostile scenarios about my friends. An old acquaintance will inexplicably become the centre of my thoughts and I imagine what cruel things they must be saying about me. Never mind that I haven’t known them for years, suddenly what they think about me matters a great deal! Other days, I’ll think about what my closest friends might be saying behind my back. The problem with this, is that it’s usually grounded in some truth and I end up hurting myself in the process.
I have a difficult time dealing with this. My friends and family tell me I’m too hard on myself, so when I’m thinking up these ‘scenarios’ in my head, I feel the need to defend myself to anyone who will listen. Suddenly something I don’t approve of will become the focus of my negative emotion. Instead of being rational, I base everything I say off of what I’ve dreamed up in my head. In turn, what I’m saying comes out as complete absurdity and my friends get upset with me.
“There goes trying to defend myself! If only I wasn’t such an emotional train wreck!”, I’ll think. Whenever I do this to other people, I feel neurotic and foolish. This shame can be paralyzing and I am often so embarrassed I’ll avoid any social interaction with them until I can find a way to apologize for the way I’ve been acting. This also keeps me away from writing and I become blocked for days on end.
Additionally when I act like this, I’m creating the very drama I seek to avoid. Suddenly friends, or friends of friends start thinking less of me as I make another last ditched effort at being the attention seeker I’ve always been. It’s a learning process for everybody. It’s taken me years and many broken friendships to realize this. I hope that what I’ve told you today might aid in whatever similar struggles you might be having. Do not fret writer for there is hope.
The answer is to WRITE about it. I keep a weekly journal and it isn’t until I’ve read through them that I understand how silly I’m acting. Instead of creating drama with those around me, I should concentrate my energies in creating drama on the page. If you ever feel that you can’t get a hold of your emotions, I strongly advise seeking professional or medical help. There is nothing wrong with that. In fact, it’s something to be celebrated. Having an abundance of creativity isn’t something to be demonized either. We just need to learn how to control it and channel it into our work.
If all else fails, say what I repeat every week in my journal:
Save the Drama Fo’ Yo’
– Daniel J. Pike
These past couple weeks I’ve found myself catching onto a good rhythm with my writing, and in doing so I’ve also learned (or realized) a couple things I’d like to talk about:
1. Finding your Fortress of Solitude
It’s not just about finding somewhere you can feel isolated (the keyword here being feel), but also about finding somewhere that’s consistent. For me, I’ve taken to exiling myself to the basement not just to write, but also to marathon easy-viewing content that’s easy to slip in and out of (such as documentaries or TV shows – in this case Doctor Who). At the same time, I make sure to have a cup of coffee on hand to sip if I’m not busy with the keyboard. It’s all about keeping myself busy.
Essentially, consistency equals writing fuel, i.e. if I’m in the basement with my laptop at the ready, a coffee on standby, and a DVD on ‘play all’, I’m in full writing mode.
It might be different for you. Maybe you go to a local cafe or library, or maybe you have some other means of filling the void when you hit a speed bump while writing, but what’s important here is that you find somewhere that can act as your office space.
On that note —
2. Make writing a job
I’ve often said that inspiration is something that can’t be forced, and I still stand by that, but as long as you’ve got ideas or a story that needs fulfilling or fruition, you owe it to yourself to make good of your writing.
For myself, I’ve been writing Monday through Friday from 12 pm – 5 pm. In that five hour period my mind is on writing. I’ll take necessary breaks to get some fresh air, but for the most part I get a decent amount of work done (I’m averaging 1000 words a day).
Five hours is a very doable goal for me, but it doesn’t have to be that much for everyone. It can be four hours, two, one, even thirty minutes, but devoting a set amount of time to writing on a daily basis can be a big help. Even if all you accomplish is one sentence or nothing at all, you’ve at the very least committed yourself to your writing – you’ve made the sacrifice.
Everyone has their own way of doing things, some completely different to what I’ve said here today, but this is what works for me in the here and now. Perhaps it won’t tomorrow, but when it comes to writing I need to live for the moment.
A while back a friend of mine had asked me for some advice on beginning a story.
I’ll say this right now: I’m not one for treatments and outlines. I tend to utilize them in the middle of a project, but even then only briefly (just to remind myself what it is I’m writing about). Outside of writing the actual story, I only jot down important ideas for later that I don’t want to forget.
In terms of beginning a new story, this is what I told my friend:
“I figure out what story I want to tell and who I want it to be about. Then I go on the adventure with that person, discovering everything as they do.”
I tend to be spontaneous when I write. It’s always been certain of making it interesting for me; not knowing what to expect next. Granted, I do like to know the ending, and I especially know specific events that I want to detail, so my stories do bend to some sort of code, but in the end I prefer freedom with the page.
I’m still a young writer, and I may yet come to discover the perks of writing up treatments, but the way I see it, if you think too much about something, you end up getting bored of it, or maybe begin to doubt it. Like life, you won’t make a whole lot of progress sitting around thinking about what you’re going to do with yourself rather than actually doing it.
So if you’re someone who has trouble starting a story, understand these basics: What you want to tell, and who you want it to be about.
Going from there, I’m sure you might find yourself being just about as surprised as the reader.
In hopes to prevent others from making the same mistakes, I’ve decided to write a post today about some of my worst writing habits and how to avoid them.
Coffee, oh delicious elixir, how you complete me! You are my jump-starter and bittersweet lover! You mean the world to me. I don’t know what I’d do without you! Alright, enough of that.
Drinking too much coffee is always one of those things that tends to sneak up on me, especially if I’m out at a coffee shop writing. When I sit down to start a rewrite, it isn’t until my heart starts throbbing out of my chest that I notice the 5 empty coffee cups at my side. This is also a very bad habit for me considering I have poor heart health. Famed author Balzac literally died of caffeine poisoning. Although I don’t think I drink THAT much, it’s my hope to kick this habit eventually.
What really helps me is keeping a mental note of how many coffees I’ve had in a single day. When I get my first cup, I’ll say in my mind “number 1″. This way when my craving kicks in, I know how many I’ve had that day. Right now my limit is 3 *gulp* but it should be one, or none at all. Ah well, Rome wasn’t built in a day.
When I’m in the middle of an intense writing session and I stop to think of what to write next, without fail my digits find their way into my mouth. It’s not just nails either. It’s cuticles, knuckles, you name it. Considering that my nails are always in a state of serrated decrepitude, I’ve made a decision to try to nix this habit once and for all. Generally this is a bad habit that doesn’t have any correlation with writing, but for me this happens primarily when I write.
To stop myself from doing this, I’ve found that using surges of hand sanitizer or moisturizer on my fingers not only helps to sooth the dry flaking I’ve inflicted, but also acts as a taste-bud attacker. Believe me, this works. The second I get a taste of that sterile residue I stop biting and don’t think twice about it. I can type a lot faster, I spend less time thinking, and I spend more time writing. Trust me, your fingers will thank you.
It’s unfortunate that I get a great deal of my best ideas while I’m out driving. Sometimes I’ll even get the urge to drive for several hours. I live in a very rural/boring area of Canada which provides excellent zoning out periods. It wasn’t until I started writing in public places where I noticed my ideas would flow best on the drive into town.
I don’t condone this kind of behaviour at all. Not only is it occasionally dangerous, it’s extraordinarily expensive as well. Gas prices have never been higher and a driving habit is probably one of the worst things to have right now. (Well, at least I’m not just burning or sniffing the gas, but I digress.)
To combat this habit, I’ve taken to walking instead. I’ll drive to a wooded conservation area or a nice neighbourhood, park the car and walk until the juices start flowing.
It’s also a lot better for my FAT ASS.
Where do I even begin? Cellphones, the internet, video games, netflix, social media – they’re all so toxic for me right now. I can’t write unless I rid myself of all these things. My nostalgia for the past keeps me locked in cheasy MS:DOS games (now available on iPhone!), as well as old TV shows on Netflix that I can’t stop watching. They are all so distracting and it’s gotten to the point when I’m going nuts. Even twitter, which was once a great networking platform for me, has recently become a venomous time eater. Fear not fellow distracted writers, for there is a cure!
SHUT EVERYTHING OFF!!! (except your computer, if you need it.) As a result of my addictive tech personality, I’ve resorted to leaving my phone in the car, turning off my wifi connection and deleting addictive apps from my devices. It has helped my productivity soar in the last month. Some of you might remember my post about the gadget free day. I now stand resolute behind that statement. They are evil enemies of your craft and should be avoided at all costs.
I’m afraid this last habit has been the most difficult to kick. I struggle with it every day. (Hear that? That’s me feeling sorry for myself.) GUH, If I had a quarter for every time I stopped what I was doing and started feeling sorry for myself, I’d be a BAZILLIONTRILLIONQUADRILLIONAIRE. Even now, it’s not easy for me to write this because I feel like I’d be lying to myself.
When these pity parties usually start, it’s always when I’m facing a challenging rewrite. When I see the edit ahead of me, I take one look at the path ahead and turn around. Trek up a mountain just for a successful plot point? Kiss my ass! I’d rather sit on the beaches of my own lake of tears. Seriously, when will I get it into my thick skull that creative power is a result of positive personal affirmation? (Ah, there I go again. Being hard on myself.)
-No one is perfect.
-Everyone started somewhere.
-Don’t let others define your work.
-Small doable actions will take you further than big exhausting leaps.
These are all topics I’ve written about time and time again on this blog, yet I can’t seem to follow my own advice at times. I suppose that’s the nature of the beast being an artistic person. I have found however, that breaking this habit on occasion isn’t as hard as one may think. The key is to – WRITE ABOUT IT – I know that sounds silly, but writing about my problems in life both personally and creatively has always proven fruitful.
When I read through my journals, I can see my progress as a human being. I also find that I never run out of source material. There will always be challenges you’ll face as a writer. It’s best that you find a way to channel these problems creatively.
Hell, I even started a blog about it!
The point is that you DO something. Don’t just sit there and let it eat you up inside. Find like minded writers and TALK about it. The bottom line is that you must do something that is productive. Writing THROUGH these creative breakdowns is really the best thing you can do. Even if you only write a paragraph a day, what matters is that you WRITE.
I hope these crappy habits of mine have proven insightful. I realize things could be a lot worse. (I could be a coke sniffer or something!)
Sometimes, the best medicine is practicing that cliché of “getting back on the horse.”
– Daniel J. Pike
A lot of artists I’ve known throughout the years suffer from the same form of creative guilt as I do. This guilt is that little voice inside of you that says:
“Daniel, you haven’t done any writing today or yesterday! You’ve been working on the same story for a month now! You gotta do something big and monumentous! You have to prove to everyone that you can do it! You gotta drop everything and write for 4 weeks straight, never stopping and not talking to anybody! Everyone is going to think you’re some sort of hack if you don’t deliver some sort of product, and FAST!”
As great as these intentions are, this usually leads to something I like to call “breaking the dam.” It’s a creative act that seeks to do something REALLY BIG, and ALL AT ONCE, like some sort of creative hiroshima massacre.
Sure you got everyone’s attention with your huge explosion of creativity, but this doesn’t give you a good foundation to build on. Instead it gives all artists a false sense of accomplishment.
Please learn from my mistakes, and know that leaps of absurd ambition do not equal productivity… or product. Haven’t you ever heard anybody say, “quality, not quantity?”
I know there is a lot to be said about setting high goals for yourself, and I’m all-for people trying to pursue their dreams. I also understand that there are some artists who can’t help but get a flush of inspiration. This is an enviable aspect of the craft. Yet it is an aspect that is strengthened by a routine, rather than a stand alone occurrence. But if you ‘break the dam’ on your craft… yes you will be doing something big with your life, but at the end of the day you’re left with a broken dam. You’ll be drowning in your own flood waters, and you won’t have any energy left to pick up the pieces.
Try to build a foundation for yourself – brick by brick; a great cement dam that holds back the demons of guilt and doubt. You need to be prepared for failures. I’m sure everyone has heard the bedtime story of the Tortoise and the Hare. Slow and steady wins this race. Don’t tucker yourself out and feel depleted every year. If you do that you won’t get anything done.
Famed director Stephen Spielberg made several made-for-TV movies, and TV-Specials before he even attempted an ambitious project like JAWS. Learn from my mistakes. Please. Small ‘doable’ actions have gotten me further than I ever thought possible.
Practice some self discipline, and map out a plan of action for yourself before making any drastic decisions. Then put your plan into action, and by all means PACE yourself.
Just try to be a doer, and NOT a doer-all-at-once.
- Daniel J. Pike
If you’re interested in pursuing a career in screenwriting, I’ve compiled a short list of the most common mistakes I’ve observed in my years of editing people’s screenplays:
5) BAD SLUG LINES
You’d be surprised to know how many people make this mistake.
Slug-Lines are supposed to be read as a short transition into your action. You don’t have to describe the location in the slug-line. You should be as concise as possible, eliminating anything that isn’t necessary. Some screenwriters might tell you it’s alright to get creative with times of of the day, but I say: NOOOO!
Unless you’re writing a scene where Luke Skywalker looks off to a binary sunset, or Jordi LaForge is gazing upon a sunrise with his real eyes for the first time, very seldom are DUSK and DAWN acceptable. Use INT and EXT, instead of INTERIOR, EXTERIOR, INSIDE, or OUTSIDE. Stick to DAY or NIGHT shots. AFTERNOONS, MORNINGS, EVENINGS, and LATE EVENINGS are all unnecessary. Your transition of time should be evident in the way you tell your story. There is no physical way of showing how ‘night time’ can be ‘midnight’ on screen. The sky is dark. The shot requires that you shoot at night time. Therefore, you should just use “NIGHT”.
INTERIOR - DOWN THE UPSTAIRS HALLWAY NEAR THE BATHROOM - MIDNIGHT
INT. UPSTAIRS HALLWAY - NIGHT
4) LENGTHY SETTING/SCENE/CHARACTER DESCRIPTION
This one isn’t as easy. A lot of the time, I find myself cutting out entire pages of action. If your description does nothing to reveal something about the character, or advance the plot, it isn’t necessary.
Think about it.
You only have 120 pages (on average) to work with. Why would you put in anything that isn’t important? Ever notice when books are made into movies, sometimes fans get upset that things are cut from the book? Well obviously! Otherwise a movie would be way too long, and as much as I loved Harry Potter, I don’t feel like sitting through a 22 hour movie.
(However I have a “19 hour+ Harry Potter Movie Marathon” coming up that I am GREATLY looking forward too…).
Here is an example of how you can clean up a scene of description:
DALE, a man aged 33, sits on a plush leather couch in the middle of a fancily decorated living room, wearing dark khaki pants, a dress shirt, and a tie. He fidgets on the leather couch. Across the room, an ornately carved red door, made of mahogany opens. GEEVES the butler, dressed in a full tuxedo with a tailed suit jacket, walks toward Dale across the red and black pattered carpet. Dale looks up at Geeves and bits his lip. Geeves motions with his gloved hand toward the door. Dale gulps, stands up, and walks toward the open mahogany door.
DALE, a man in his early 30s, sits on a leather couch in a fancy living room. He adjusts his necktie. Across the room, a large mahogany door opens. GEEVES the old butler, enters the room and approaches Dale.
Dale bites his lip.
Geeves stands up straight and motions his hand toward the open door.
Dale gulps and stands.
The two of them exit the room.
Notice how I edited the piece so that Dale’s nervous actions are on their own lines? I did this to give the scene a bit more tension. I also broke up the paragraph to make it easier to read. I also eliminated almost every piece of description. Your job isn’t to furnish rooms, dress actors, or decide what brand of eyeliner Norma Desmond wears.
In novel writing, it might be argued that can you use description until the cows come home, (Just ask J.R.R. Tolkien) but in the cutthroat business of screenwriting, you are to give just enough description to give the reader a visual. Use your best judgement. I usually like to give a bit of detail to help set the scene, but anything else is just fluff around the edges.
It should be noted that integral props, or complicated settings can use a bit more description. If it is going to play a crucial role in your story, you want your reader to be able to visualize it immediately.
3) DON’T DO THE WORK OF THE FILM CREW
If your screenplay is littered with PAN UPS, TILT DOWNS, dramatic musical cues, or excessive descriptions, you should pursue a considerable rewrite. If you believe what you’ve written will be dictating the work of the cameraman, the actor, or the film crew in anyway, you need to eliminate it. As I said before, your job isn’t to dress your actors, act for them, or decide what kind of lighting is appropriate for a scene. Film is a COLLABORATIVE MEDIUM.
Here are some common mistakes:
No! YOU stop it!
Using (whispering) is acceptable if required, as is (out of breath) or (laughing), but they really aren’t necessary. The actors job is to interpret the dialogue as it is needed for the scene. Don’t do their job for them.
No! You stop it!
See how much simpler and to the point this is? If the actors don’t know there is anger, or maybe some shouting in this scene, then they are stupid and shouldn’t be acting anyway.
Here is another mistake:
INTERIOR - INSIDE UPSTAIRS HALLWAY NEAR THE BATHROOM - MIDNIGHT
TILT UP to Sarah standing at the end of the hallway. PAN OVER to Brent holding a knife. Dramatic music is playing, as Brent rushes over to Sarah.
INT. UPSTAIRS HALLWAY -- NIGHT
Sarah stands at the end of the hallway. Brent is across from her, clutching a KNIFE. Brent lunges toward her.
See how much cleaner this action is without the camera angels and shot descriptions? The way a film is shot is for the director and the cinematographer to decide in their production script. If you’re an independent filmmaker who will be writing AND directing, for the benefit of your actors and crew, just write a regular screenplay. When you litter your story with PAN-UPs, CLOSE-UPs, and what-have-yous, it takes the reader out of the story. You want your reader to get sucked into the world of your script, and never put it down until it’s finished.
2) WRITING IN THE PRESENT TENSE
Very few realize the importance of screenwriting in the present tense. It should be how every screenplay it written. Writing in past tense is wonderful for fiction, or other literary forms, but if you want your reader to follow through your script as if it is happening precisely in that moment, you gotta write in present tense. Here are some examples:
EXTERIOR - PUBLIC HIGH SCHOOL - AFTERNOON
Billy was standing on a large rock in the middle of the courtyard at the back of the school. Students walked towards him. Billy looked at them, and grinned. He grabbed the toilet paper from his side, and began wrapping himself with it.
The students laughed at this.
EXT. - PUBLIC HIGHSCHOOL - DAY
Billy stands on a large rock in the middle of the courtyard at the back of the school. Students strut toward him. Billy looks at them and grins. He grabs the toilet paper from his side, and wraps himself with it.
The students giggle.
I contest that there are no right or wrong answers at times, and one can argue that it’s not a big deal if you submit a screenplay written in the past tense. However, it is the general consensus of Hollywood producers and working screenwriters, that the present tense is not only important, but a requirement.
1) DISREGARDING YOUR AUDIENCE’S NEEDS
I can’t express the utmost importance in writing for your audience. If you aren’t writing to tell a good story, then why the hell are you writing? Let me remind you, that I’ve read many screenplays where the author feels the need to use the craft as a means of personal flattery or self therapy. This is not to be confused with self-expression.
Self-expression is important in ANY art form. You need to draw on things in your life so that you can create an original story. As far as I know, no one else is me. Therefore, I have something original to tell. However, if you feel the need to symbolize your life and use sub-par metaphors for your first world problems, you should reconsider your intentions. Why are you telling this story?
The difference, is that you should not be writing so your friends and family can see how you struggled with a relationship, but to write a story that anyone can relate to.
Do you think audiences pack into theatres so they can see how you broke up with your partner in a coffee shop?
Audiences pack into theatres, because they want to be entertained! They want to laugh and cry! They want to be scared! They want to live vicariously through characters that perservereer, or witness the horrible downfalls of a tragic lifestyle!
Your first thought should be: “How is my story going to affect my audience?” If your first thought is how you can ‘cleverly symbolize’ how you deal with things, you’re not thinking about your audience. Unless you want to pay for your own movie tickets, and see your problems on the big screen, get over yourself. Stop being so egotistical, and start TRYING TO TELL A GOOD STORY.
Finally, it should be noted that you cannot as a screenwriter show anything that you cannot see on screen. Internal thoughts or feelings should be left for the novel. You cannot say “Jake is happy when he see’s Betty.” You can however, say “Jake smiles at Betty” or “Jake spots Betty and smiles.” Just be mindful of what you’re writing. As always, writing is rewriting, so if you make mistakes, don’t worry. Keep plugging away at your craft and soon these rules will seem like nothing.
Take 15-30 minutes today to write yourself a letter. Ask yourself these 5 questions:
1) Do I need to work on my screenplay format?
2) Can I eliminate unnecessary elements that aren't important to my characters or story?
3) Am I writing for myself, or for my audience?
4) What do I want to say with this story?
5) How do I want my audience to feel at the end of my story?
If you answer ‘yes’ to anything on this list, you might want to reconsider your priorities:
10) If someone asks you ‘when is the last time you wrote anything’ and your answer is ‘a few months ago’.
9) One moleskin notebook has lasted you a year or more.
8) If you’re stopping to answer text messages.
7) If you’re watching television while writing.
6) If you think complaining into your diary is considered writing.
5) If you enjoy telling everybody you know about your unfinished work.
4) If you carry writing materials around with you wherever you go, but never take them out of the bag.
3) If you’re reading a ‘how to’ book on writing, and not doing the exercises.
2) If you write less then one hour a week.
1) If you write one draft and think you’re done.
Don’t be a talker – be a doer. Stop what you’re doing, and go write something already. Writing is rewriting. If you’ve never completed anything before, that might also be a sign you’re not actually writing. Don’t be one of those people that goes their whole lives talking about how they have a great idea for a book or a movie. Just write it.
A lot of real fucking pricks will tell you what THEY think you should be writing, but I’m here to tell you not to listen to them. Only trusted friends or colleagues, and I mean VERY TRUSTED friends should give you feedback when you’ve finished a peice of work. They’ll be the only people who understand what you’re trying to say in your story. HOWEVER … there are those who think they know absolutely everything about writing, without ever having picked up a pen.
How many times have you heard this little gem?
“There’s already way too many movies about dolphins like yours. I think you should write about zombies instead!”
I don’t WANT to write about zombies! I want to write about freaking DOLPHINS you idiot!
WRITE WHAT YOU LOVE. Don’t let other people tell you what to do with your life. As long as you’re telling a story from your own heart, and you’re being true to yourself, that’s all that matters. In a way, everything has been done. But I don’t like to believe there is no originality left in the world. There’d be no point in writing anything new if that was the case.
I once gave someone a short script I worked on, and instead of getting feedback, I got a lesson on what to do with my life. Know what I have to say to that? EFF YOU!
Speak from your own experiences. If you find that all you can think about is how much you love baige paper – write about baige paper. If you find that all you can think about are magic spells, and humans with special powers – write about that.
Don’t let someone else’s dreams dictate how you should be living your own life. There are friends who just want to take a piece out of you to feel better about themselves.
Don’t let them.
Honest critisism and feedback is hard to come by these days. Very rarely are people honest with how they feel. If you find someone who can honestly tell you what IS working in your script or what ISN’T – you’ve found a treasure.
If you find that arrogant prick who enjoys filling your head with his own ideas, RUN. RUN AS FAST AS YOU CAN! These people really suck, and will destroy your confidence. They’re too lazy to amount to anything themselves, and feel by suggesting the things THEY think are awesome, they’ll somehow help you.
On the flipside, beware of those people who think the sun shines out of your ass. They’re probably either sucking up to you, or have such low self-esteem that they are too afraid to be honest with how they feel for fear of rejection.
You want a fine balance. Find someone who knows when you’ve gotten something RIGHT. Seek confidants that AFFIRM your talents and work to lift you up. Seek friends that give you tools to improve your craft. Not to augment your writing, or undermine it. Don’t let people with low self esteem place your work on a pedestal if it’s a peice of crap.
So what’s the bottom line?
People who are honest with themeselves, will be honest with your craft.