Infanticide

There are two preferred methods of killing unwanted children. The first, of course, is to just kill them when they pop out. But this really doesn’t involve enough tempting of fate for my taste. I prefer the old tried-and-true Roman adventure of taking them outside the city and leaving them to die, risking the off chance that someone else will come and pick them up, thus giving them the opportunity to grow up and later kill me at unawares.

That last bit may not quite fit the metaphor I’m creating here, but certainly I am killing one of my babies at the moment, scriptographically.

My regular readers (hey Greg!) will remember that I finished one draft and finished a plot outline for the next. I think I even made some remark about how guilty I felt that it was another romantic comedy.

Well, I sat down the next night at work to start writing a synopsis so I could get on to developing characters and banging out another draft, thus giving myself reason to gloat over my other screenwriting friends (hey Greg!). This is obviously the only reason to engage in such an unrewarding process as screenwriting, apart from the great salary.

But I got about three paragraphs into the synopsis and started to hate myself, and even more, to hate my newborn child. All of a sudden it was just too cliché, too by-the-numbers, too … Save the Cat! to keep in my family of works-in-progress. I got disgusted with myself and spent the next four nights falling asleep while pretending to write and finally abandoning pretense in favor of watching movies.

Then I read this year-old script by Greg and instantly loathed myself even more. I’m beginning to think that bastard churns out better work the less he plans for it. Meanwhile I plan and plan and plan and plan and then don’t even like my plans enough to carry them out.

Wow, I look at that last paragraph, and any doubt I had that I am a writer just disappears. The sheer, undisguised artistic jealousy and self-loathing is the tell.

Anyhow, while I was complaining to Greg about this over the phone, he recommended leaving the story out to dry (or as I prefer to think of it, dying alone on a hillside) for a while and working on something else.

So I have this road-trip girly-movie idea (that’s right, girly movies are all I have) that Greg and I both agreed was marketable, and I’ll be working on that for a while now. It should be out-of-the-box enough to not make me angry. I watched Thelma and Louise last night as preparation for this endeavor.

I’m realizing I don’t owe it to an idea to develop it first just because I had it first. I have a strange, relational tendency to be loyal to my ideas. If I was a paterfamilias in ancient Rome, I’d have no respect from the other landed citizens (hey Greg!). So I’m practicing leaving the unwanted ones on the hill to die, at least until I run out of better children to whom I can give my attention.

Or until they grow up in someone else’s care to be sold for $2 million and ruin my life.

***UNRELATED NOTE I WANTED TO INCLUDE IN THE POST BUT COULDN’T FIT IN THEMATICALLY***

Also, I posted a logline for one of my shorts on Inktip.com, because it’s free to do that. One day later, I have an email from a cinematographer asking to read it because he’s looking for a short to produce. So tonight is also about getting the script into shape for him to read. I like attention, however trivial.

Ryan Elainska