Chaos and Structure - Cecilia Stenbom (July 2015)
I am writing this blog post to escape from the bigger job at hand: writing a first draft. Writing this blog post is not the first distraction method I've used today; first I had to thoroughly check today's new stories, update myself on friends and family on social media, then some very urgent emails appeared in my inbox that I needed to respond to, and at 11.38 am, when I was finally ready to sit down the sun was shining outside and I couldn’t miss out on the rare occasion.
I'm about five months into RISE and so far it's been a crash course covering the major aspects of feature film development: script development, directing, producing, distribution. I've spend significant time on an outline and overall concept of the project, its it's gone through a number of changes; a slight re-focus of the story, a tightened perspective, a more informed view of where the project sits and last but not least a new working title. But despite all of the work already done I'm nowhere near a first draft.
For me, the experience of writing is like being on a big chaotic construction site, trying to find a path through a series of story beats and a set of characters that gets you from beginning through to the end, without getting lost in the middle. There are moments when it all feels like it is going to work out, then I (inevitable) knock over a bit of scaffolding causing the whole structure to collapse and I'm left with no other option than to start all over.
Writing itself doesn't come natural to me; I feel exposed and uncomfortable when battling with words and sentences. I used to tell myself it had to do with writing in a second language, but a bit of clumsy grammar is nothing against the real challenge: to create a solid structure that can take a beating and then cover it up nicely, making it invisible to the rest of the world.
So to use the construction site analogy these are some of the pitfalls I am facing: too many bricks and the construction will become clunky and unpleasing, too many rooms and its difficult to find your way through, using unconventional and untested materials puts you at risk of an unstable building and an architect drawn state-of-the art stainless steel construction might become an inhumane place to be.
No wonder distractions come easy?