I’ve been outlining a screenplay for about six months. Sure, it’s yet another coming-of-age movie about an outcast girl and her BFF, and finding love in high school. But it’s my coming-of-age movie about an outcast girl and her BFF, and finding love in high school, dammit.
It’s very loosely based on me and two of my best friends in high school. Last month, I sat across a table from my dude BFF, and laughed uncomfortably until I could actually say the words: “I’m writing a screenplay about…us.” Then I continued to ask him horrific questions about going to the prom and losing his virginity. Believe me, I want to barf just thinking about it. But it’s my duty as a writer to do these things.
What I think has been most gratifying about the outlining experience has been that my story has evolved to be so much richer than my original concept. The characters are bigger than just Michelle and her girl BFF ogle the varsity soccer team to pass the time, and she wanted to go the prom with her dude BFF. That’s where my concept started, but it’s so much bigger now, thankfully.
But now I’m FINALLY in the writing phase, and I’m obsessed with my screenplay. It’s all I can think about. If I’m not actually paying attention at my 9-5 job, I’m thinking about punching up lines, and figuring out sharper plot points. I practically run home so I can start breaking a new scene before dinner. I lose sleep at night because I keep dreaming about scenes, which causes me to wake up with a million thoughts racing through my mind, until I somehow eventually back asleep…and my husband accidentally smacks me in the face with a pillow.
Writing is not easy. I know this because I write all day at work. But there’s something about this that makes me want to sit in a cave for three days, not eat, not sleep, not even pee, until I finish writing this. But alas, there’s work. There’s dinner. There’s my stupidly human need to urinate. Oh well.