T-to-the-A

Posts Tagged ‘writing’

What are you doing?

In The Daily Drool on May 18, 2010 at 11:08 am

You should be HERE.

Cuz that’s where I am this week ¬†ūüôā

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Twice the Tiffany for Twice the Clicks

In Playwriting on May 16, 2010 at 12:08 pm

I’m guest blogging for the Los Angeles Female Playwrights Initiative this week! ¬†Bookmark it and get ready for some genius… or, something aspiring to genius… okay, it’s me sounding off on things playwriting and things female.

Or in other words,  CHECK IT OUT!

Story Scaffold

In Essays, Screenwriting, The Daily Drool on May 13, 2010 at 10:33 pm

I just decided that “Scaffold” is a cArAzy looking word.

But to the point… I’m finally FINALLY into pages on my latest project. ¬†It’s been a difficult progression, a lot of hair-pulling and jaw-dropping “WHAT?”s going on in the course of it’s development, BUT, at long last… to script.

And I’m thrilled.

Because now it gets fun.

Because all that agonizing pre-work… the story-tooling and treatment-writing (and RE-re-RE-writing)… is where you get to hash out your problems, swear off writing altogether, come to your senses and re-swear your undying loyalty to the written word, only to run head-on (again) into the problem that nearly sent you over the edge in the first place… all in the hopes of building for yourself a stable and exciting story scaffold into which you can breathe new life via dialogue. ¬† The only reason to torture yourself with front-loading the pain like that is so that you can enjoy (until you start re-writing again, of course) telling the story in pages.

I think about it like a coloring book: outlining the image can be tedious and frustrating, but once you start using all those magical crayons? ¬†It makes the blood, sweat, and panic worthwhile… or at least, most of it ūüėČ

So I’m in the fun part now. ¬†I can breathe a little. ¬† And I can be happy I was so hell bent to make sense of the thing before I dove into this stage, or else I’d be in for more hair-pulling, more cursing, more panic… with no sight of the joy!

And that’s why we write, after all – for the Joy of the thing.

Ahhhh, what a relief it is.

Work, Work, Work

In Playwriting, The Daily Drool on May 12, 2010 at 6:03 pm

Sometimes people look at me cross-eyed when I tell them that I work ALL the TIME. ¬†They wonder what the eff I’m talking about, especially since I’ve not had a lot of reliable actual employment lately. ¬†Well, I’m talking about my writing of course, and much of my writing happens when I am driving, eating, even sleeping… and that makes for a nearly 24 hour a day job.

The trick of course, is learning to do other things while my brain is whiling away at whatever writerly task it’s consumed with at the moment.

Lately I’ve had a lot more time on my hands, but I’ve been really, really busy with a backlog of writing projects, not to mention dealing with my car, my crazy ex-landlords, and this new temp. census job. ¬†And I’ve found myself swamped with a pressing need to slice and dice that list… I just want to get the writing done!

But this is the task of any writer, to balance the work and the passion- to find a means of managing the List with the Life… and I’m going to keep this post purposely short as a means of balancing those needs today. ¬†ūüėČ

Where the heck is hour 25?

In The Daily Drool on May 10, 2010 at 8:52 am

Time… can… be… MADDENING. ¬†Or rather, it’s the LACK of time that drives me crazy. ¬†I find that the older and more writerly I get, the weirder I become about time and the stingier I get about making commitments. ¬†I’m becoming a bit of a time nazi. ¬†I think it’s because there is this backlog of projects just screaming at me at all hours, so if I have to spend, oh, say 32 hours training to be a census taker one week, and those 32 hours begin at the unGodly hour of 7a.m. every morning, rendering me stupid and barely able to put one foot in front of the other at 4:00, much less form sentences… well, you’re looking at one grumpy-ass Tiff.

When I was in the throws of obtaining my BA, I took UCLA up on it’s lovely student counseling offer because I found that I couldn’t realy manage the stress of my impending graduation and the OBSCENE number of tasks on my list. ¬†The counselor did two really wonderful things for me, ONE, she asked me what the worst thing that could happen if I didn’t turn in the most awesome thesis paper ever for one of my gen. ed. classes. ¬†I thought about it, and I realized that even if I turned in a C-grade paper (unheard of in this perfectionist’s file) I would still end up with a high B for the class. ¬†She looked at me and strait faced asked if I could live with that and I was like (chorus of angels) YES! ¬†Pressure relieved… no one was going to care what grade I got in “The Movie Score” class. And you know what? ¬†I actually got an A on that paper and the class anway, minus the agonizing pressure. ¬†The SECOND thing she did for me was drill this phrase into my head “Can I get back to you?” – you see, turns out I was a terminal “Yes” girl to any and all potentially exciting opportunities, leading my calandar to look like the Secretary of State’s. ¬†I was so over-extended that I woke up everyday groaning at all the things I had to do, the places I had to be. ¬†This simple change of thought (yes, I know it’s kind of silly to some, but for me it was mind-blowing) afforded me the time to actually look at that calendar before I piled another task onto my plate.

And all of this brings me to today, where I write so much and spend so much time thinking about writing, that time can once again freak me out with it’s fullness. ¬†I have to be careful. ¬†I have to pay attention. ¬†And I have to keep things in balance.

I mean, this is the big gamble, isn’t it? ¬†This move home was not so I could go out and get some 40 hour a week job (although I wouldnt’ mind the cash!!) But an opportunity to relieve some of the pressures so that a minimal work-week wouldn’t bankrupt me, and so I could pour those hours into my work, my writing… writing that is hopefully going to pay off and pay me eventually… It’s kind of all based on hope and faith and some creative magic.

But in the meantime, it doesn’t mean I won’t stop looking for that elusive 25th hour.

Pressing on… Punching through

In Playwriting, The Daily Drool on April 26, 2010 at 10:07 am

I’m working, I’m working…. I’m working on the same damn story I’ve been working on for MONTHS… all in preparation to go to pages (script) and it’s been maddening. ¬†For many reasons. ¬†But the thing I learned this weekend (or was reminded of rather- I already knew it) was that sometimes you just have to push your way through something to get it done… and then you can go back and spiff it up.

My first inclination in just about anything is to try to do it as perfectly as possible from the get go… and that’s amounts to a lot of pressure (on my end) high expectations (again, on my end) and a lot of wasted energy stewing over pieces that aren’t yet in focus. ¬†The reality is that it’s NOT going to be perfect at the onset, there’s no ax looming over my head if the first draft feels like a first draft (I prefer it to feel like a 3rd!) and sometimes if you just let go of something for a while, it sharpens on its own before it comes back to you all BAM-like -in the form of¬†the solution.

SO…. in pushing past some VERY BIG and VERY UGLY bumps in this newest storyline, I was able to be productive, answer the questions I knew, and let some of those bumps work themselves out on their own, in the back corners of my brain, where the muse must have had her thinking cap on. ¬†(thank you Muse!)

I wonder, if I applied this philosophy to life, would it feel any easier?  More sensible?  Less out of control?

I don’t know. ¬†I can only try to be more aware of and understanding of my own process and hope the world and I start clicking again.

Meanwhile, lesson of the post – Punch through the pain, the blood sweat and tears… when you look back you’ll find you’ve usually done better than you thought, and you’ve almost always come farther than you were aware of.

Getting Excited and then Cooling Down

In The Daily Drool on April 23, 2010 at 10:16 pm

Well, sometimes you look at your work (I’m referencing as a writer, ¬†although I imagine this extends to anything self-made) and you look at it with joy “I MADE THIS! ¬†WOWEE ZOWEE!!” and other times you look down at all the blood, sweat, and tears and think to yourself “I could have been playing golf…”

I’m currently in the process of reconstructing a treatment that’s already lived two different lives (since I’ve been working on it at least) ¬†It’s frustrating and also one of the best writing exercises ever: ¬†Tell (basically the same) story three different ways – oh, and try not to pull your hair out in the process.

What I’m finding is that I keep bumping up against the same sharp edges and I have to kick and scream about how great my FIRST solution was, and WHY do I have to try and come up with something else when the FIRST solution worked JUST FINE?!?!?! ¬†Then I have a cookie and roll my eyes and…. wait… for… it… too… come. ¬†(woof!) ¬†It’s a lot of work.

But it’s starting to move along. Finally. ¬†I’ve reached the end of Act 1, arguably the most challenging bit at this point since it strays the most from my previous attempts. ¬†And although it’s painful, I’d rather squint and sweat over it now in the hopes of frontloading the pain so that when I sit down to actual pages (God, I hope soon!) I’ll have a reliable road map to follow.

Anyway, all this to say that I spent the better half of the day rewriting what I had labored over yesterday because it was CRAP. ¬†But if I hadn’t pushed through it yesterday, I wouldn’t have had that crap to polish up today.

So, moral of the story? ¬†Don’t discount the effort, even when the egg ain’t golden. ¬†You can always sit on that baby till it gets shiny!

(PS- Haven’t forgotten about the promised snow pics… just haven’t had time to load ’em up yet. ¬†Maybe tomorrow )

Because I want it to be AWESOME!

In Playwriting, The Daily Drool on April 20, 2010 at 9:38 pm

Alright, how about I get back to a topic I know a little something about?  Like, re-writing.

I’ve written about it before… hmm, I was going to go grab a link to my last “On Writing” post for you in case you wanted to refresh your memory, but apparently it’s been a while since I’ve addressed the process of writing (I’ve been busy writing posts about trash-picking aliens, The Pope, and the cat’s perspective on my move – sigh)

Well… I’ve got a reading of Twigs and Bone coming up in about a week and a half, so this weekend was all about those little rewrites I knew it had coming but hadn’t been able to find. ¬†(Sometimes a deadline is exactly what you need to inspire you!)

So I spent a lot sorry, make that¬†A-FUCKING- LOT of time poring over sentences and periods and BEATs, in the hopes that I was clarifying, tightening, and strengthening the damn thing. I was working on the play’s texture… and I’m pooped out!

But, thanks to some kick-ass notes I got from FallOut Girl,¬†I was able to attack the script from a different perspective. ¬†I think the changes I made did a lot to help elevate the material and add depth… all good things when you have what is essentially a family drama, wrapped up in a haunting, further complicated by a house-destroying hurricane.

Yeah, I know.  Woof.

But the thing is, the thing that keeps bringing me back to this script, is that I know it rocks. ¬†I know it kicks some ass. ¬†And it’s not even been through the rehearsal process yet! ¬†(Oy, the fine-tuning feels interminable! ¬†Rehearsals!) ¬†But it’s this knowing of how close the play is to being AWESOME that keeps me coming back to it.

I mean, eventually, (and let’s be honest Tiff, I think eventually has arrived) I’ve got to stop tinkering and start sending the thing around. ¬†But it’s a tough call, because why send out less-than-your-best when you know it requires a little more glue and grist?

Anyway, all I can say at this late hour when my eyes are falling down stupid and my fingers feel fat and clumsy, is that I feel really good about this draft. ¬†I feel like I’ve turned a corner in my own ability to see the hiccups, interpret them, and help them become beautifully complex moments… and if I can say that now, then I have great hope for my own continued education and evolution as a playwright/screenwriter. ¬†Because I consider it proof of being on the correct path that I still love it, still pine for it, and am still growing as I walk the writerly road.

Goooooodnight ūüôā

Penis Straw

In The Daily Drool on March 26, 2010 at 10:46 am

Yes, you read that correctly.¬† Here’s the deal: last night was my dear friend Nicky’s Bachelorette party.¬† Now, Nicky is doing it up big this year, not only is she marrying her best friend and long time love, but they’re also having a baby!¬† So, with baby bump leading the way, we couldn’t do anything that got us into too much trouble… or so I thought.

The night began with riotous giggles over the hilarious Mac-A-Weenie pasta (Last time this little culinary magic made its appearance was at JJ’s bachelorette party.¬† She got a box of the stuff as a gag, and apparently put it in her pantry.¬† ¬†About three months after that, while making pasta salad for our Thanksgiving pot luck, she ran out of noodles and decided,¬†out of sheer necessity, ¬†to use the box of penis pasta.¬† A good male friend of mine at the party was really digging the flavor until he looked closer and sputtered a little something like this “Mmm, yeah, everything is really goo- what is that?¬† Is that…That looks like a c*ck.¬† ¬†What kind of macaroni salad is this?”¬† Well played, JJ, well played!)¬†

We also had a blast with the penis tattoos, everyone had to stick one on- cleavage, shoulder, FACE.¬† Yes, my bestest friend forever and ever, put hers on her cheek.¬† This is just one of the many reasons I love that girl!¬† She’s got balls.¬† Literally.¬† Right there on her face.

Anyway, the night was a big success, and we all laughed our pretty little a$$es off. 

But then there were the straws…¬† the glow-in-the-dark penis-shaped straws (with, I’m afraid to say,¬†some¬†fairly unshapen balls) that we drank our sangria from.¬† Yes, it was ridiculous, yes it was fun, yes it took me a drink or two before I could actually bring myself to use it… but use it I did – and then grab them we did, as we took ourselves, and our straws, to the piano bar and fresh drinks down the way.¬†

And this bar… ¬†it was rife, no, make that RIFE, with pups… “I just turned 21”¬† kind of pups.¬† We were like cougars-in-training, and we got hit on ALL NIGHT LONG.¬† Now, how about that for ego boost?¬† 10 years older than everyone in the bar, and still drawing ’em in like flies.¬† It was fantastic.¬†

We drank our new drinks with our special straws, and laughed when the guy talking to Nicky thought her wedding ring and baby bump were sexy enough to lean in even closer.  It was grand.

Only, I didn’t drink my new drink with my special straw because I couldn’t find it – thinking it had sunk to the nether reaches of that bottomless-pit I call a purse, or else fallen out¬†on the walk over¬†– I sipped from the glass like a, well, like a lady.

Then this morning (and here’s where all of this pays off)¬† I had a meeting with two older gentleman on a project I am writing.¬† I had a meeting in which I needed to take notes.¬† I had a meeting in which I had to rummage through the bottomless-pit-I-call-a-purse for a pen, and damn if that little punk-ass bit of leather and mystery didn’t spit the Penis Straw right out on the table where it bounced not just once, but¬†twice, and then¬†did a little spin before clattering to¬†the hard-wood floor.

Glow-in-the-dark penis-straw at our feet.

Try explaining that. 

Just T-R-Y!

A Writer’s (somewhat soothed) Panic

In The Daily Drool on March 24, 2010 at 9:29 am

Well, it seems that things will be okay with Mac Рapparently my batch had a problem with their logic boards- a totally covered repair. 

(sigh)

So I can breathe again. 

But I’ve got to say, I had grown quite accostomed to my morning routine of getting up, having my OJ and checking all my inter-goodies at hte kitchen table from my dear little laptop.¬† Right now I am hunched in the corner over my very reliable and friendly PC- I do appreciate it, I really do- it’s just not quite the same.¬† Probably because the desk my PC is housed on is covered in things that need to be sorted, filed, and put awaay.¬† It’s like working in a disaster zone, office style.¬†

Also, my fingers had grown quite accostomed to the laptop keyboard.  The regular size of my desktop keyboard is very, very confusing indeed. 

BUT, that’s the update there.¬† I think what yesterday’s panic showed me is that I’ve grown quite attached to that little package of metal and magic.¬† It’s an extension of my thoughts, my brain sort of just plugs into it and when you’re a writer, well, that kind of creative bond is pretty damn important.¬†

The only major drawback to the repair is that it’s going to take SEVEN days!¬† I mean, I’m moving on Weds.¬†and I prob won’t get it back until Tues.¬† That makes me very nervous.¬† But at least it’s getting fixed.¬†

Oh, I also had just finished my essay for the Princess Grace playwriting Fellowship before it blanked out.¬† Yeah, now I have to completely rewrite it!¬† Or mayb I can go in with a hard drive and ask them to put it all on there for me… I’ve got to call and see if that’s an option.

(sigh) If it’s not one thing, it’s another.¬† I really, REALLY hope this is it for catastrophe’s for a while.¬† I thought it was just 2009, but The Year of Adversity and Change seems to have leaked onto 2010… I really hope that this move brings postitive changes and good ol’ Happy Tiffany back to the forefront.