Wednesday, July 1, 2009

The agony and the...well, slightly less agony.

While various people have different opinions as to what's caused my current bout of CRIPPLING FACEPAIN!, the end result is that I've spent much of the last seventy-two hours feeling like someone sanded my teeth down to exposed nerve endings and then stuffed a dead raccoon into my nasal cavity.

While there's really never a good time to feel like your life would be immeasurably improved if you used a sharpened spoon to dig out the contents of your skull (at least not that I've found, and I've got some experience in this area), feeling that way when you've got an artist waiting for the fun and wacky and generally awesome script you promised him by today is particularly problematic.

I don't know who said no writer likes writing, but every writer likes having written. I mean, I know Neil Gaiman said it and it was in an interview with him that I read it, but I believe he was quoting someone else. Either way, that's a fairly accurate assessment of my view of the whole "sitting down and transforming an abstract idea into a concrete story" thing. It's not hard work--I'd rather be writing than housepainting, though that's not saying much, as I'd rather floss my teeth with a buzzsaw than paint houses for a living--but it's not as easy as lying in bed doing nothing. Frequently it's not even as satisfying as lying in bed doing nothing.

All of which is a long way to say I don't usually get a lot of joy out of writing. I can't recall a single instance when writing has actually improved my mood. That may be because I can't recall a single instance of anything that happened more than fifteen minutes ago, but I tend to believe it's largely because I don't write much when I'm not in a good mood to begin with. If I'm not happy I'll write what I've absolutely got to because someone's waiting for or expecting it, and if I'm feeling particularly sorry for myself, I might dash off a whiny Facebook update or blog post (even though doing so inevitably makes me feel worse about myself for venting in public when I've got what is, by any reasonable standard, a pretty good life.) And that's about it.


But even in my state of extreme discomfort and/or prescription medication-induced zombification, finally hammering the script for NO MORE PARENTS #1 into shape on Monday and Tuesday was a less arduous task than I'd expected. Maybe I'm still basking in the warm glow of finishing something on the promised deadline that I didn't think I'd be able to when that deadline loomed, but there's something about this project...I'm having trouble putting my finger on what it is, but I think it may be that I actually connect with and like the characters introduced in the first issue in a way that I often don't at this stage in the writing process. I feel like I've leapfrogged over the "getting to know you" stage of scripting and settled into a comfort zone where I just let the kids (and robots) tell me what they want to do, rather than me telling the characters what they're going to do and then adjusting them as characters so what they do makes sense inside the context of the story. (Note to those who may be interested: If you're working on a WFH project, life's a lot easier if you approach things the latter way, if only because there's someone higher than you on the totem pole who has the power to make you and the characters do what they tell you and understanding and accepting that will save you and your editor a lot of headaches.)

Mind you, letting the gang do what they want required me to seriously revise the action I'd originally laid out for the second half of the issue; I had to reconsider and rewrite the basic shots from the ground up perilously close to the appointed deadline. And while Nick seemed happy with the first batch of script pages I sent him, I think he'd be a bit more comfortable if the characters didn't like talking quite so much.

But setting all that aside for the moment, I'm left in the bizarre circumstance where writing something was about as enjoyable as it possibly could be, even though it was written while I was absolutely, positively, "on the edge of doing something selfish, stupid, and irrevocable" miserable.

Which I think is pretty cool. Hopefully the good feelings I have for the script will show on the finished pages. Even if they don't...well, I like it. And feeling the way I do at the moment, liking anything at all, much less something I'm personally responsible for, is a blessing.


No comments: