I'm All Talk

Some writers are all talk. They say they’re writers. They say they’re working on something. But when it comes right down to it, you start to notice after a while that they haven’t actually produced any work in quite some time.

There are times when I’m one of these writers. But now is not one of those times.

Right now is draft time, baby!

Ah, draft time. Truly ‘tis a wonderful season in the writer’s life, when the desert of planning and research and note-taking is finally crossed and the thirsty writer arrives at the oasis of putting pen to paper, or as times have it, fingers to keyboard.

But, to get back to what I was saying, the way in which I am “all talk” is not the way I have just described.

No, what I’m referring to is the nature of my current writing.

I felt pretty proud of myself this time around because I spent many hours planning and doing character development, so that by the time I actually got to the plot, I felt pretty grounded in my characters.

So when I did my outline, I put in several scenes in which I knew that the characters would talk at length to each other. I even knew (sometimes) how their conversations would end. But I didn’t plan the actual content of those conversations.

Robert Rodriguez once asked Quentin Tarantino how he got such good dialogue, and Quentin said, “I just start two characters talking, and even I’m surprised by what they say.”

This is the method I am attempting for the current project.

I just finished writing the conversation right before the break into act two, and it was pretty fun. There will be many more like it, where I just sit some characters down and see what comes out of their mouths.

Then I’ll read it later and find out that all the dialogue needs to be rewritten.

Well, we’ll see.

As a final, semi-related note, I’ve been working on this script for 6.5 hours.

And I have 27 pages. What is that? A little over four pages an hour, average. Not too great, but not too shabby.

Ryan Elainska