THE OTHER NETWORK WRITER'S ROOM

INSIDE THE ART, CRAFT AND BUSINESS OF WRITING for Film, TV, Books, Stage, Print or Digital Media (with Particular Attention to Comedy)

The 5 Hurdles To Any Writing Project (Hurdle #2: Defining Your Parameters)

OK, maybe you had some trouble getting started, but now you’re beginning to generate material.

Or maybe you’re a natural generator, or even an over-producer, and you have too much material.

Is it all even part of the same project? Maybe it’s several different projects. Congratulations, you’ve just hit Hurdle #2: defining the parameters of your writing project.

If your problem is: “I can’t choose between several possible projects”

Solution #1: Take the easy way out. Do whichever project flows the easiest, is the farthest along and/or is the shortest and quickest to complete.

Solution # 2: Follow the green lights. If you’ve done a piece of your material at a story slam or published it on a blog and you’re getting really positive response from audience/readers, that’s a pretty good sign that you should pursue that project. Especially if one of the fans/readers is an agent/publisher/producer. Do that one.

Solution #3: Work in your wheelhouse. If one of the projects connects thematically to your other work or resonates with a major life interest, do that. It helps you build a body of work, not just a bunch of un-connected projects.

If your problem is: “I’m not sure what I’m writing”

Solution #1: Try the project in different mediums. Is it a script? A theater work? A novel? A memoir? A standup comedy act? Often people come into our workshop thinking they want to do a one-person show theater show. Some of them do, but others have ended up making a series of webisodes or a documentary. Don’t get trapped by your assumptions or preconceptions about the format of the material.

Solution #2: Experiment with different genres and sub-genres. Think about the project as a romantic comedy, a detective story, an action-thriller, a children’s story. Each one will help you define a story structure, narrative devices and tone. And sometimes the exercise will help you find a whole new angle on the work.

Solution #3: Pitch the idea out loud. I know, the idea of pitching the idea is annoying and kind of scary. But if you have a trusted confidente or creative fellow-traveller who makes a good sounding board, it can be really useful to tell someone about your idea. They might have some great input or a good idea. They’ll probably have a good question that will help you define the project even more clearly. And the mere act of speaking your idea out loud gives you some distance and let’s you hear the idea through someone else’s ears. But make sure you’re talking to receptive ears. Not every friend will be helpful in this context. If you don’t know someone you can hire someone.

If you’re still having trouble defining the project you might really still be stuck on hurdle #1. If this helps then hurtle on over to Hurdle #3: Making pages.

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This entry was posted on December 5, 2012 by in Creative Process, Writing Strategy and tagged .
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