Sunday, September 17, 2006

Why do I write?Or maybe I should be asking why do I set up a tiny toy Ninja in a forest of cut carrot root tips?

So I'm at work on yet another story. It's one that has been with me since I interviewed a plethora of scientists for the planetarium show on global warming I was hired to write a couple years ago. One scientist handed me a report on global warming in the Northeast that he and others were tapped to write by the former Clinton administration. They were instructed to publish books on the subject that most educated people, yet folks with little or no scientific background, could understand. It was to be a global warming research study for lay people.

Enter the Bush administration.

From the get go Global Warming was taboo and these wretched little comprehensible research studies were among the first things to be tossed out. One scientist called it a regular book burning. In fact, in giving me a copy of his book, he would only be left with a handful. He hoped that I could put it to good use.

Not a Bush supporter, I wasn't completely surprised by the account. But a book burning? That sounded about as legitimate as turning the White House into Hugh Hefner's estate. Wait, maybe I shouldn't go there.

Somewhat skeptical I contacted the other scientists who headed up similar studies in their regions throughout the United States and heard the same story again and again. I was able to get my hands on two other editions, but the other ten or so regions claimed they had so few copies left that they weren't willing to part with them. "You can visit anytime and read our copy here in our offices," one scientist offered.

Weren't these the books that were supposed to be made available to the public at large? No one went on record, but that's exactly the irony that met them.

This story is so incredible that it haunts me still.

I took all the facts and multiplied the stakes by about a hundred percent, wrote up a screenplay, and sent it to a studio reader friend of mine who loved it. In fact his story notes when we talked on the phone consisted of praise and glory, reveling in my characters. Then he ended by saying, "Now toss it out and rewrite it from scratch; send it to me when it's ready."

I have no doubt he can help me get these words to screen, if only I can clear my schedule of a few weeks and get the story re-told. But that's not been my problem. My real challenge has been in re-conceiving my story.

Remember that Three Day Novel competition I entered a couple weeks ago? That deadline helped me work through another story I had only begun to conceptualize since my dance with the bat. But the deadline was so successful in getting me to draft the copy, capture my story on paper (even if the judges don't care for my content), that two days ago when I learned of a short story competition with a due date this Friday, I couldn't help but to write.

So that's what I'm up to now. I'm nearly 3,000 words into the piece, and expect I'll wrap at 6,000 to 6,500 words. The competition is limited to stories of 7,000 words or fewer, recommending a cap of 3,000. Perhaps I'll be able to cut considerably once it's out of my system. We'll see what this week brings.

Then I'll have my treatment. My new direction for the screenplay that I've been encouraged to rewrite. Who knows, maybe I'll actually get to that, too. Just as soon as my Goddard semester is through in mid-November.

And that's what I've been up to lately. How 'bout you? Any new writings to report?

Thanks for dropping by.


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