Fun Fact – I wrote most of my screenplay in a mini van

Sounds pretty amazing, doesn’t it?

Bet you thought I was tucked away in some idyllic cabin on the lake surrounded by pine trees and snow-topped mountains while the fireplace quietly crackled in the background as I listened to Beethoven’s 9th symphony and sipped perfectly roasted coffee, huh?

While I desperately wish that were the case, the truth is – I don’t have a lot of free time to light candles, contemplate my navel, and get my mind into “the zone” before I can put words on a page.

Ain’t…gonna…happen.

So, I steal time wherever I can and try my best to not be a slave to ceremony when it comes to writing.

And in my case, rather than banging out that first draft in a picturesque setting under ideal conditions, I had to lug my laptop with me while I took my kids to gym class. I would simply drop them off then race back out to the car, scoot the seat all the way back so that I had enough room between me and the steering wheel for my laptop, and wrote a large majority of the first draft in the driver’s seat of my mini van, under the glow of the street light while I waited for their classes to be over. One hour at a time I ate the elephant.

Until one day, I reached that final scene and wrote those coveted words – THE END

I guess the lesson here is – where there’s a will, there’s a way.

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Screenplay First Draft – DONE

So, it’s 12:28am and the only reason I’m posting something this late (early?) is because I just wrote “THE END” on the first draft of the screenplay I’ve been working on over the past few months.

I have to be honest, this is a big milestone for me. I’ve tried writing numerous screenplays over the years, but none of them got over the finish line. I’ve written a few novels to completion, nothing worth publishing yet, but for some reason I’ve never been able to complete a full draft of a screenplay.

Until now.

Feels good to finally reach this creative goal that has eluded me for years.

The working title is called “The Scout.” Here’s the brief elevator pitch I wrote up at the start of the project:

The Southern Province has been reduced to rubble and is now ruled by a merciless tyrant who is hell-bent on extinguishing anyone who gets in his way. Struggling to survive on the outskirts of the city, a refugee boy becomes a pawn in a rogue bounty hunter’s plot to subvert the new empire. In an adventure laced with fear and broken loyalties, Paulo is forced to trust the very one who gave him over to the brutal regime, as he races to save not only his own life, but the lives of his fellow refugees.

I’d probably revise it a bit now that I’ve through the first pass, but it’s a good summary of the main storyline.

Now, it’s time to let the manuscript sit for a week or so. Then, I’ll print it out and do my first read-through to begin doing structural edits. The good news is that I think the story is pretty sound, structurally. I don’t see a lot of major overhauling that I’ll have to do when I go back in for rewrites. I may have to add a scene here and there to explain some things a bit better or to set up a few scenes properly, but I have a feeling that the bulk of my editing will be layering in more world building and character development.

Anyways, time for some sleep!  I expect good dreams tonight after celebrating getting this one over the finish line. 🙂

Setting Some New Goals

So, this past holiday weekend, in between multiple Thanksgiving gatherings, I took advantage of the beautiful weather and spent some time making progress on planking the bridge across the narrow end of our pond.

Wider view of the bridge

Everything about the bridge has been reclaimed from the scrap heap. The telephone poles that span the banks were delivered free from a friend of mine who works for an electric company. The boards used to plank the bridge were a mixture of reclaimed pallet boards and various odds and ends that I scrounged from a big junk pile that came with the property that I’ve slowly been tearing apart. Overall, I’ve been able to get about 80% across and it’s cost me nothing but sweat and muscle. Still need to pull about 7 more pallets apart, use the wood to plank the remainder of the bridge, sand everything down and put some sealer on it.

Now that the Route 66 5K is over and most of my winter preparation chores are complete, I figured it was a good project and metaphor to subconsciously begin thinking about transitioning into some new goals.

The winter months have always been a time of rest and relaxation for me. I usually spend my time watching movies with the family, reading books by the fire, and doing everything I can to go to bed early and catch up on some sleep. I also try to pick some sort of writing project and exercise regimen to work on just to keep my creative and physical muscles moving.

Here are some of the new things I’m shooting for:

  • Running – I plan on continuing my progress and slowly furthering my distance up to 10K. I’ve put together a running schedule for the next 8 weeks that I think will get me there. In addition to increasing my mileage, I’m also adding in a few days of light cross training to try to strengthen my ankles and legs a bit more for the longer distances.
  • Writing – I’m still working on getting this screenplay over the finish line. I’ve not been as disciplined in my writing as I have been in my running, but I have put together a schedule that I think will get me to THE END by the first of the year, possibly sooner if I buckle down or get a long weekend to focus on it.
  • Reading – I’m currently reading Digital Fortress by Dan Brown. I’ve got about 50 pages left to go and then I’ll pick up the next book on my reading list. My goal is to read 4 to 5 novels over the next few months as well as a stack of non-fiction books on gardening and a few memoirs from fellow farmers.
  • 2018 Goals – every year I take the month of December and try to set some yearly goals for myself, so over the next few weeks I’ll be thinking through and writing down some bigger goals for the coming year (more to come in a future post).

Route 66 5K – Week 3

We spent most of this week hidden away in the Ouachita National Forest camping with my family.  It’s always amazing to turn your phone off for almost 5 days, not look at a screen, and get covered in campfire smoke.  I sincerely look forward to our trip every year. A perfect time of relaxation and reflection.

Before leaving, the local weatherman predicted that we’d have a frost while we would be out-of-town. So we hurried to get some row covers setup and put over the beans and tomato plants to try to squeeze a bit more production out of them before we closed down the garden for the year.

I arranged for a friend, who was already helping check on the chickens, manage the on/off process of the covers while we were gone. A few leaves on the beans got nipped, but the tomatoes took a pretty big hit. However over the past week, we were still able to harvest almost 8 gallons of beans (with new beans still growing). I’ll call that a win and hopefully we’ll reach over 10 gallons before the harvest is done.

Just some of the initial fall bean harvest.

As for running, I had a good week. Still no injuries, but did not get in my long run this weekend. However, we did a 3+ mile hike around the lake on Friday, plus some additional hiking throughout the trip, that I count as a good replacement.

Run Log:

  • Monday: 19 mins
  • Tuesday: Rest
  • Wednesday: 22 mins
  • Thursday: Mild Hiking
  • Friday: 3+ mile hike
  • Saturday: Mild Hiking
  • Sunday: Rest

I weighed in on Sunday when we got back and I was down to 206 lbs, which is a 7 pound weight loss the first week of eating cleaner in addition to my training runs.  Pretty dang good. Hopefully, I won’t plateau just yet as I’m trying to hit an even 200 lbs by race day on November 18th.

Now that I’m back at home and on the grid again, I can start focusing on getting back into a routine with writing on my screenplay. Didn’t put any words on the page last week. So, I’ve got some making up to do.