Sunday, May 15, 2011

Script Writing Ain't Easy No Matter What Chris Baty Tells You

Chris Baty is the guy who started National Novel Writing Month and all its subsequent websites and Twitter accounts and blah, blah, blah.

I say "blah, blah, blah" because while Baty may envision a world where everyone can write a novel in 30 days if they really set their minds to it, he fails to truly credit the creative genius that goes into writing.
I could write a novel in 30 days if I wanted to, but what would I produce? A steaming turd, in all likelihood because the creative processes inside my brain have not finished congealing yet, therefore, I am not ready to finish it yet.
Does that make sense to you? If it does, you are a writer. If it doesn't, if you think all that is keeping me from completing my novel is a lack of effort, then you are a motivational speaker or a salesman who has no idea how the creative process works. You are not a writer.

Has NaNoWriMo produced any Pulitzer Prize winning books? No. Has it made a bunch of people feel that just anyone can write a book and therefore writing can hardly be considered a skill? Yes.


Fresh from his effort to reduce novel writing to little more than sustained sentence production, Baty introduced Script Frenzy.
NaNoWriMo happens in November. Script Frenzy happens in April.
Guess what Script Frenzy is all about? If you said, "making people think writing a script is simply a matter of churning out 100-pages in the proper format" give yourself a cookie.
Movie and television writers are among the least respected writers in the world. They churn out episodes and films every year but go mostly unnoticed. They toil in obscurity while the directors, stars and producers receive both the accolades and the big paychecks. When was the last time you saw a script writer on the Red Carpet? Did you recognize them for their work, or only because of the running caption beneath their photo?

I agree, if you sit down and force yourself to write you can churn out a novel or a script or a poem or a 1000 word treatise on the importance of eating leafy green vegetables, in a month or in whatever time frame you allow yourself. The question I have is, will it be from your heart? Will it be good? Will it be something that you bled; something that crawled weeping and sweating from your brain; burst forth from your loins?  Or will it simply be the product of mass production? And more importantly, which would you rather read?

Novels and scripts do not come from a pen, they come from people. People we call, writers.

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