“There was a demon that lived in the air. They said whoever challenged him would die. Their controls would freeze up, their planes would buffet wildly, and they would disintegrate. The demon lived at Mach 1 on the meter, seven hundred and fifty miles an hour, where the air could no longer move out of the way. He lived behind a barrier through which they said no man could ever pass….” ~ The Right Stuff
I have met this demon.
In November, I stumbled upon a story. It sprang forth from a conversation that haunted me; it invaded my dreams. I had a visceral, emotional reaction to what had been discussed. It possessed me. I knew the only way to exorcise it was to write it.
And so I began. I welcomed my muse with open arms. I methodically and precisely built my outline; I created characters, and gave them detailed backstory. I knew them inside and out, heart and soul. I created a world. Perfection. Finally, the time came to type FADE IN:
At my first pass, I knocked out half of the script (this was for a 12 – 15 page short). I contacted a few people for a bit of feedback – is this a story of interest? Worth exploring? I received a unanimous “Yes” and took the plunge. I dove into story, headfirst. I made some adjustments, and began again.
Once again, I knocked out half of the script. Then, the problem surfaced. I could go no further.
Every day, I’d open up my trusty Final Draft; every day I would stare at the screen. I’d read my pages, and try to push further, only to have my brain completely shut down.
It was terrifying. I had never experienced anything like this in my entire life. I was beginning to believe that I’d never write again.
I tried everything that I knew to do. I threw away the outline and free-formed it. Stalled at the same place. I dropped characters, and brought in others. Stalled in the same place. I gave my protagonist a new name. Stalled. A new job. Stalled. I was in a complete state of panic; I felt that I was free-falling without a parachute. Stalled. Stalled. Stalled. I had met the demon in the sky of my mind, and my heart and soul were disintegrating, like a jet hitting the sound barrier. All was lost.
This particular script had a hard deadline, as I had the opportunity to place it in consideration for production this year. The deadline was in a day. I had about 36 hours in which I would need to write, proof, rewrite, edit, and hand off my little drama.
I went jogging. That always works. I ran and ran along the streets of Toluca Lake, until I could run no more. I turned and walked home, waiting for the muse to descend.
As I neared my house, my pace slowed, for nothing had happened.
I took a deep breath, and walked inside. Surely, something will click, I told myself. I sat down, opened up FD… and once again, stared at the pages.
I took a shower. I scrubbed my hair, breathed in the steam, and poached myself like a lobster.
And so, I broke. I buried my head in my hands and sobbed. I keened for the death of my creative spirit. I surrendered my need for perfection. I allowed the project into my heart, I let go of all expectations, I permitted myself to be totally naked and raw. I felt… and then, it happened.
My hands reached, shaking, towards the keyboard… and once again, I typed FADE IN:
Only this time, I kept typing. I had met the demon… and the demon was me.
The script is complete, and has been submitted. I’m still making minor tweaks here and there. Pre-production is beginning under my newly formed Apogee Entertainment, and by the end of the year, by hook or by crook, I’ll be able to take you by the hand and lead you through the world of CREED. It’s the unflinching story of a returned warrior, a veteran of the Afghanistan war, who is so haunted by the past, that he is precipitously close to destroying his future. For it’s not only the fallen soldiers who are left behind. Our returning vets are being left behind – by the very country they risked their lives for.
Now, go write.
HRH, Princess Scribe