Writer's Commentary: Week 3

I started a new job during Work 3. Let's see if it is noticeable. (It is. Things suffered.)

On Post: Once In a Lifetime

Date: January 15, 2018

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Remember how last week I mentioned that sometimes I force myself to tackle a genre in the course of the Project? Well, this is such a case. I had not done by much of horror or horror adjacent content so I was actively looking for the opportunity and with "Once In a Lifetime" I found that opportunity.

Usually "Once" is used in movies and TV often to signify people who are in sort of a midlife slump. They wake up to see they've settled into a life and start to think about how it compares to the life they imagined for themselves or started out pursuing. So I wanted to turn that trope on its head a bit and make it about someone who wakes up to a life that doesn't include a wife, a family, a house, a car etc, but is instead in an apartment with buddies, single and "free."

To then add in the element of it not just not being what the person imagined for himself but literally a life different than the one he remembers himself living and it slipped easily into horror.


On Post: Analyse

Date: January 16, 2018

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This wasn't randomly selected. Or it was, but only after I decided I was going to do a Cranberries song because I loved the band and wanted to acknowledge there recently deceased lead singer.

Unfortunately, I didn't realize until afterwards that I essentially wrote a poem about the manic pixie dream girl phenomenon as our uptight protagonist is praising his free and easy-going girlfriend for opening him up even as he confesses it is hard for him to adjust.

I like the poem ok but to realize in retrospect that I was playing into that idea is something of a bummer.


On Post: I Will Possess Your Heart

Date: January 17, 2018

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The genesis of this one is SO incredibly nerdy. 

I was listening to Warrocket Ajax, the comic book podcast hosted by Matt Wilson and Chris Sims, and they were discussing black alien costume Spider-Man. I already knew this was the selection of the day but I had back burnered writing it because nothing that was obvious relationship stuff was coming to mind. However, hearing them talk about the alien suit, I started to imagine what it would be like to have that kind of power--through the suit--and give it up.

The story is not literally Peter Parker or even someone like Eddie Brock standing outside the containment unit and being tempted but it is similar. It is sort of a mashup, I guess. The protagonist is someone like Eddie in that he let the creature take over and run wild and therefore has really experienced how far it can go and how it can enhance the life of someone without powers. He's like Peter in that he is obviously moral and at least a portion of him regrets what he did.

It's essentially a struggle between being able to do anything you want--take whatever you want, seduce whomever you want, defeat anyone--but feel the weight of the guilt or live a pure life of repeated self-denial, rejection, and failure.

Happy stuff, right?


On Post: I Won't Back Down

Date: January 18, 2018

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This was just fun to do.

I had the idea of a parent protecting their child almost straight off but I struggled with age and which parent for a bit. Then I hit on someone who was kind of a combo of the attitude of Frances McDormand's mom from THREE BILLBOARDS OUTSIDE OF EBBING, MISSOURI and the fighting skills of Uma Thurman's The Bride from KILL BILL and the rest fell into place.

I tend to overwrite my scripts for The Project because I want readers to be able to picture things. In real life, the amount of fight choreography (if you will) would be little to none on the page. Similarly, in my smaller ones, I'll include a lot more direction about facial expressions, body language, sighs, business, etc than I would in a script that I was submitting for something.  However, for reading purposes, you want to make things come to life a bit more so I let myself violate that rule.


On Post: Stupid

Date: January 19, 2018

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I definitely started this one with just one idea: guy in office getting feedback and just kind of wrote until it started to form into something. I had no idea at the beginning about the "twist," I didn't think about him being a little bit objectifying of the woman, and I didn't foresee her "game" and revealed annoyance. But as I wrote it those proverbial shapes just found their holes and this is what resulted.

It's not like high fiction or anything but I liked this one a bit. Probably because of the fact that I just went on autopilot writing and let the story find me.



On Post: H.W.C.

Date: January 20, 2018

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Writing about sex on these is always a little thorny for me.

For one, I'm never entirely sure who is reading it and who isn't. Like, my parents may read one or two now and then. Or my wife might. Or who knows who. So I always feel a little self conscious. Even if it is someone who it wouldn't be strictly weird to have read, I worry about, "if I write this will they realize it is the character or think it is just a thinly veiled me."

Also, I don't actually know what is sexy from a writing perspective. I know what I find sexy but haven't not really written much sex, I have a hard time figuring where the line is between "ok, this is sexy" to "oh now this is just like straight up written pornography" and I'd rather not find out I erred on the wrong side of that line.

The problem with H.W.C. is that it is pretty blatant. She is quite literally begging for his, well, H.W.C. while promoting its--what I understand to be dubious--skin care values.

Putting the song lyrics in one of the characters' mouths--or texts as it was--without them ever actually saying it, felt like a smart solution. If you know the song or listen to the song, you'll know exactly what she suggested. If you don't, your mind can fill in what might be kind of sexy and naughty fun for one friend to say and what might just be straight gross for the other.

Once I figured that out, the text exchange came pretty easy. That is, until the end.

Sometimes writing these can be like writing sketches in that everything is easy and then you realize you have no end. That was this. So I went the "your dad is hot" route. Do I regret it? Maybe a little.


On Post: Lie In Our Graves

Date: January 21, 2018

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Boy oh boy did I beef this one hard.

I love the idea. I love the letter format. The content is so absent emotion it is embarrassing to me. Total disappointment for me.