Last night I began research for my next screenplay. This is probably my most-researched project to date, or at least the project which has required the most research. I have a list of six books to read and annotate this summer, plus get my treatment and beat sheet all ready to go in time to begin writing it during the fall semester. I’m taking a screenwriting course, my first in the MFA program at the graduate level because of scheduling conflicts during past semesters, and am excited for the project. If all goes well, I should leave the program with three solid screenplays under my belt, plus the short story collection I’m smack-dab in the middle of writing.
The research is daunting and I anticipate it to be exhausting, but one thing it cannot be is slow. I have a finite amount of time to get it all ready in, and I’m sick of treating summer like a magical time during which all things are possible but barely a thing is finished. I believe a lot of writers, especially those who also go to school and/or teach, are susceptible to this unfortunate mindset: “O, how there is no time to write as school slogs on! I shall write in the summer and all the summer! For that is when the world shall see my proliferation of art!” Give me a break. If that works for you, if it works for you to stuff all of your creativity into a vacuum of three months, then my hat is off to you. But if it’s just a pipe dream, then wake up and start writing every day. I’m talking to myself as much as anyone, but considering how much I need to research and write this summer, it’s possible I’m talking to myself the most (thought I don’t mind if you listen in on the conversation).
So the research has begun. I believe before this, the most research I ever did was email my uncle Dan, an officer in the Iowa State Highway Patrol, about some law enforcement questions for a script I abandoned in my undergraduate days (the script hit a fork in the road – it reached a point where I could have gone in two completely different story directions, both of which I really like. When I wrote up to the apex, I couldn’t decide which idea I liked better, so it’s waiting for me on the hard drive, somewhere). My hope is to do at least an hour every day, minus vacations and out of town trips. I’ll keep you posted.
[tags]summer writing, MFA, time management[/tags]