Think wrongly, if you please, but in all cases think for yourself. – Doris Lessing

Go forth into the unknown, explore the caves of your unconscious, fear not your “dark side,” find the gold.

— Robin Hoffman (@AuthorAlchemy)

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

A Crazy Writing Dream That Came True

LIKE MANY FOLKS, I spent years watching movies as an armchair screenwriter.

As the credits rolled, my husband was used to hearing me shout either “Darn that was good! I wish I’d written that!” or (in familiar tones of disgust), “Even I could write a better movie than that.”

In 2001, I made a teensy start on this reckless dream by writing a treatment—an outline using the venerable three-act structure.

I could have gone on from there. I certainly had the tools at hand. Final Draft scriptwriting software, Sid Field’s Screenwriting Workshop (video set), Hollywood Creative Directory (52nd Edition), Formatting Your Screenplay by Robert Reichmann and Story by Robert McKee.

Plus, I was already a writer.

But I didn’t believe in myself. I didn’t see myself as a “screenwriter” and I didn’t have enough faith that I could do it.

Later I even gave away the software, the video course and the various books in a contest I ran to help promote my book. You can see the winner, Dawn Hunt, on the Fear of Writing blog (Three Very Happy Prize Winners).

It wasn’t until years later—2007, to be exact—that I rummaged around in my computer files, opened that cobwebby ol’ treatment and commenced to get my hands dirty as a screenwriter.

(Yep, I had to buy new software.)

What caused me to try again?

That little tidbit (and many others) will be revealed when I launch my work-in-progress, an e-book entitled How I Wrote My First Screenplay in 29 Days.

For now, I want to cut to the chase and announce that on Tuesday, March 31, 2009 around 10:15 p.m. EST my dream finally came true.

After tons of good, old-fashioned hard work, a huge learning curve, lots of fun (as well as the occasional “dark night of the soul”). . .


. . . I submitted my finished screenplay to the contest I’d chosen to act as my self-imposed deadline, The 2009 PAGE International Screenwriting Awards, a mere one day ahead of their April 1 deadline.


Was I happy? You bet your sweet bippy!

It’s just that the happiness was buried under mountains of exhaustion.

But isn’t that the way it oughta be? Any dream worth having is worth getting a little exhausted for.

The issue of whether screenwriters are crazy to want to live this particular dream will be discussed in future posts.

And, now, please join me in a glass of champagne, merlot, beer, sparkling grape juice, cactus juice or your beverage of choice.

Here in my house, it’s TIME TO CELEBRATE!

P.S. In case you’re wondering—No! I did not pull off the entire process in 29 days. If I had, you'd need to suspect a script that stinks of sloppiness and lack of development. But I did write my first draft in 29 days. Achieving that showed me what I was capable of and motivated me for the work ahead.

If you’d like to know more about the e-book, please sign up for the RSS or email updates for this blog. Scroll to the top and look in the left column.


Sandra Williams said...

Great going, Milli! You have every right to be happy and proud, as well as exhausted. Staying in there for the marathon until you drag yourself over the finish line before they shut it down, is a feat worthy of praise. It's so easy to quit, especially if you haven't broadcast to the world what you're about. The inner resolve, the mettle you’ve shown, is the greatest accomplishment. Consider yourself virtually patted on the back and hugged! Good luck.

And a great post, sharing the victory!

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