Friday, May 31, 2013

Billner 6

I'm not sure what to write for this blog, so I'll go into depth on something..

How about...

My writing process!

I don't think I'd ever be comfortable enough to call myself a writer. Although I have written quite a few things, both for school purposes and for other personal projects. So I have developed a process I usually follow when I write something, which I applied to The Unfortunate Case of Mr. Billner.

Step 1: Holy shit I have to/want to write something
The first step, the one I usually dread the most. This is the point where all the insecurities I developed as a kid comes out. I'll never forget pouring my little soul into the state writing projects and turning them in, only to get them back with low grades (mostly due to my awful handwriting). For whatever reason I always think far in advance to someone smugly looking at my writing and throwing it into the trash. I may stay in this phase for quite awhile, until the drive to create/drive to not fail sends my fingers to the keyboard.

Step 2: Alright idea time.
Sometimes I have an idea just come to me, other times it will be a funny image or even a title that flowers into something else. Most of the time I just have to open up a blank document and write. Usually it will take two or three different starts before I get into the groove of something I enjoy. Billner started with a simple idea of seeing Morgan Freeman on a chair reading a children's book that plays out in the background. Eventually it ended in tasteless jokes and my favorite line's "Narrator: Mr. Billner! Think of the children! Billner: Fuck the Children!"

Step 3: Finish the First draft
I remember reading this off a list of Joss Whedon quotes. It seems pretty obvious, but the reality of how many people, including myself, waste so much time abandoning a difficult project, or trying to rewrite a section in the infant stage. If there was one thing that really influenced me and how I approach writing it is this simple message. Depending on what i'm writing and when it's due, I'll usually do 5 pages a day until finished.

Step 4: Sit on it for a couple days
I don't like being late, I hate it more than anything. Even being right on time drives me nuts. So for writing I usually get an assignment done way in advance, so I can take a few days to leave it out of my mind so when I go back to it I can read it objectively. If i'm running out of time, I'll usually give myself a couple hours away from it and get back to it.

Step 5: First read through
This is where I just read through it trying my best not to cringe at the mistakes. Even after 26 years I still have trouble motivating my self to do this stage. Even though this is usually where my best ideas come out, I'll read a segment and think, hey! Wouldn't this be funnier/better?

Step 6: Editing phase
This is the kill my darlings part. Sometimes jokes, sequences, characters, or events just kill the flow. If something is pretty good, but just out of place for that particular story, I usually copy/paste it to a different document I keep all my ideas in. It's like putting your grandparents in a retirement home, you can revisit them any time you want, even though you probably wont. Speaking of I should go visit my grandparents, and open that document and see what's in it. I usually settle on the third revision, sometimes more. (I think Billner took about 5)

Step 7: Submission
This is where I submit the paper to where it needs to go, whether to my friends whom I film with, or a class. I'll also print off a hard copy of anything creative I've done for my own personal records.

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