Script Frenzy – Winner!

Monday 2 May 2011

If you’ve been reading during the last month you might have wondered what all this “Script Frenzy” stuff is about, but, then again, you probably weren’t as you were too busy making little bunnies

Script Frenzy is an international writing event in which participants take on the challenge of writing 100 pages of scripted material in the month of April. It’s like NaNoWriMo (where your write a 50,000 novel in the month of November, an event I failed dismally when I first attempted) but you write a script instead. The counting system differs as while a novel writer could use a gamut of fonts or spacing sizes, meaning their 50,000 word novel could fill an unknowable number of pages, script writing is very precise and governed by formatting rules. How I’ve dumped my writing scraps sort of mimics the layout, but only just. The notion is that in true script formatting one page of script is equal to one minute of screen time, so a 100 page script is 100 minutes, the average length of most films.

Every writer who completes the goal of 100 pages wins, and – yay me! – I wrote 115 pages during the month. (Click on the icon on the right for more info on Script Frenzy.)

So what did I win? I win the bragging rights to say I wrote a script in a month. I also won this:

Pretty nifty, hey?

My script (which was also chosen as a 30 Posters, 30 Days entry) is still going. I’m only up to the morning of the Final Battle and, I must admit, am having a bit of trouble trying to work out what happens next. To keep the momentum going I’m sticking with the daily page requirements, writing at least three pages a day, until it’s finished. It might be all rubbish at the end but at least I will have it out of the head and on to the page, and in a few months time I’ll be able to go back and edit the hell out if it.

Ernest Hemingway wrote “The first draft of anything is shit.” Mark Haddon said “Crossing out was the secret of all good writing.” Justice Louis Brandeis remarked “There is no great writing, only great rewriting.” And Richard Back noted “A professional writer is an amateur who didn’t quit.”

Me, I’m with Winnie-the-Pooh:

For I am a bear of very little brain
and long words bother me.

Hope you keep enjoying.


2009 NaNoWriMo – Day 18

Wednesday 18 November 2009

All right folks, I’m given up on this. I think after uni, and now that I’m playing A/EA at work and have been since the beginning of November, and will be till the end of December, I just can’t be bothered trying to be creative when i get home.

Did you just see that? I used a lower case “I” instead of an upper case “I”. That’s how little I can be bothered at the moment, and I don’t even have the interest to go back and correct it. A complete disrespect to the Rules of Grammar; my world is collapsing inwards. I’ll be spelling “colour” without the “U” next, and misplacing my apostrophes, and not caring.

Anyway, if I want to keep going I would need to churn out 3,000 words a night and I know that, at the moment, I haven’t got it in me. So DARN YOU NANOWRIMO, YOU WIN! This year anyway.

Perhaps there is something of the 14,142 words I can salvage and use here in the weeks to come. Perhaps a few of them, perhaps a few.

NaNoWriMo 2005 progress graph.

Thanks to Caffeinated Bliss for the word count utility.

2009 NaNoWriMo – Day 14

Saturday 14 November 2009

Sitting at the State Library (I am such a swot!) I have finally hit 10,000 words – yippee! It was a good, all round, useful word, a somewhat common word, but a solid word all the same. It was the word “with” and it was followed by a comma. Anyway, I just thought I had better come and tell you this exciting news. The trouble is, now I’ve completely forgotten what word 10,001 was going to be…

Oh, I remember now, it was “namely”.

Due to so many missed days I’ve gone from having to type 1,667 words a day to a base limit of 2,500. They kicked me out of the library when I hit the 2,868 word mark, making a nice round total of 11,500 in all. I was glad to go home.


I knocked out quite a bit more at the comfort of my desk, the hardest part being trying to keep myself focused, what with all the wonderful distractions that a home has to offer. Still, I’ve done a nice bit of damage and while I’m no where near the Day 14 goal – 23,338 – I’ve at least made a dent in the daily word aim. Only 2,250 a day for now on…

Yeah right!

nano_09_blk_participant_100x100_2.png NaNoWriMo 2005 progress graph. 2009 NaNoWriMo

Thanks to Caffeinated Bliss for the word count utility.

2009 NaNoWriMo – Day 10

Wednesday 11 November 2009

After getting to bed at 2am the night before, I was buggered at work today. Absolutely shattered. A number of times people would be talking to me about this important document or that, and I would simply look at them, not hearing a word. I thought, I thought, I was finished with the late nights! It never dawned on me how much this NaNo thing would be such a killer.

Saw Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo tonight. I have wanted to see them ever since I first heard about a bunch of men performing classical ballet lady’s routines. They were funny and theatrical and witty and oh so damn magnificent to watch. Someone once said that the art of ballet is to make it look like it takes no effort at all, and these men simply glided through the air. When they touched the floor you couldn’t hear a footstep. It made the Australian Ballet, when I saw them a number of years ago performing The Nutcracker, seem more like a herd of elephants, but I think some of the (mis)credit would fall to the squeaky floor of the Opera Theatre.

Have now drunk a pot of coffee and eaten two squares of Lindt chilli chocolate. Let’s try to write something. I don’t think I’ll get close to the 1,930 words I gotta now do a night, but let’s see how I go.

nano_09_blk_participant_100x100_2.png NaNoWriMo 2005 progress graph. 2009 NaNoWriMo

Thanks to Caffeinated Bliss for the word count utility.

2009 NaNoWriMo – Day 9

Tuesday 10 November 2009

I handed in my script today. Do you want to see it? Here it is:

Bug Business.

It’s good, isn’t it?

So that’s what I’ve been studying for for the last three years, to pin little yellow index cards to a corkboard, and now I’m done. Unless my supe fails me I am now the proud owner of a Masters of Arts in Creative Writing, or something like that. I’ll have to hang it along side my Bachelor of Design Hon 1, and my Clerical Traineeship.  And my Higher School Certificate. And my School Certificate. And that Best-and-Fairest ribbon I got in soccer when I was 7. Another piece of paper to help cover that stain on the wall…

For my final subject, Professional Writing, I had to complete a full length screenplay. Mine is about a conspiracy theory chasing investigative journalist trying to find her parents, who just so happened to have mutated into giant bugs. It’s your basic “boy meets girl / boy finds out girl’s parents have exoskeletons / boy grows pincers” story. Yes, yes, I know what you’re thinking: Not another one! Hasn’t that ol’ chestnut been done to death? Well I say: Tough, I write what I see!

So tonight, as an act of celebration, I popped the cork on that $15 bottle of bubbles that’s been rolling around in the back of the fridge ever since BC and I went to the Opera House to see The Mikado. I’m enjoying a glass as I write this. I’m feeling a real sense of contentment, now that it’s all handed in and done. I’ve written a screenplay. I can honestly call myself a screenwriter. And that feels good.

Listening to Carol King’s Tapestry isn’t doing me any harm either.

On the other end of the scale, NaNoWriMo isn’t going well. As you’ll see I haven’t written for days – the red bars are the “under the daily word count” info. I’ve been using the Script (capital “S”!) as an excuse to not do anything, but that’s all done now. I do want to give NaNo the good college try, so I’ve got to get those fingers tapping away. NO MORE EXCUSES – GO FINGERS!

Actually, there is that wedding invite I need to finish for Brenda…

UPDATE: Knocked out 2,850 words and still didn’t get to where I was aiming for, which means I’ve got a direction for tomorrow. I am far behind in the tally though; nine days in and I should have churned out at least 15,003 by now. I do have a show tomorrow night but if I can add 1,500 more to the word count I’ll be stoked. Didn’t do the wedding invite, though…

nano_09_blk_participant_100x100_2.png NaNoWriMo 2005 progress graph. 2009 NaNoWriMo

Thanks to Caffeinated Bliss for the word count utility.

2009 NaNoWriMo – Day 4

Wednesday 4 November 2009

My rabbit ears broke on Monday night, just before Media Watch. I was so peeved. I like Media Watch, it speaks to my Gen Y, inner city, capital “A” Arts supporting, anti-tabloid, self-indulgent pretensions. I’ve read the transcript but it’s not the same.

(Must get myself a copy of the 2010 Men of the ABC News Desk calendar. I understand that Tony Jones is Mr August.)

So I finished the first run through of my script instead. I’ve cut 145 pages down to 107 – that’s over 25% gone! My supe had told me it had to be under 110 and I reckoned I would slice 25 pages easily, but I was still a little shocked how easy it was to do so. I then wrote a bit more for NaNoWriMo. Finished the chapter, so that’s at least a good thing. Down on the word count but it was late and a good spot to bedwards head.

Tuesday ran the Melbourne Cup sweeps (I have it down to a fine art after all these years) and was lucky to win a second place (can’t even remember the name of the horse – it was brown). Been moved up to the Executive Assistant’s desk for the next month while (a) my boss plays Acting Director; and (b) the EA is away. Was buggered by the end of the day, and the searing temp and the FUCKED UP TRAIN SYSTEM didn’t help matters. I had to walk home.

Boss had given me a jar of her superb chutney, plus a purple cabbage the weight of a lawn bowl from the veggie patch. The chutney I gulped down on Monday night (Please don’t tell anyone but I knocked back the entire thing right there and then with a parfait spoon, I couldn’t help myself), and dined on half the cabbage Tuesday. I should do some NaNo writing, I thought to myself afterwards. So I went to bed.

Wednesday, today, I had arranged a flex so I could have the entire day to enjoy a clean read of my script and to catch up on my NaNo writing. And then I got a phone call; it was Boss. “What are we going to do about those papers for Friday’s meeting?” she said. “Shit,” I said in return. So I went in.

Home and now finished the other half of the cabbage. I must give you the recipe:


Cathryn’s Purple Cabbage Dinner Salad

  • half a head of Spanish garlic, minced (that’s right – half a WHOLE head. Always go for Spanish as it’s not bleached and a lot tastier)
  • olive oil
  • bacon (I had 150g of rindless from the deli)
  • pepper
  • a good dollop of butter (I reckon I used somewhere between 50-100g. Now THAT’s a good dollop)
  • half a purple cabbage, preferably from your Manager, sliced thinly
  • 100g walnuts
  • croutons

Fry up the minced garlic in the oil, then add the bacon. Fry that up too for a bit. Add some pepper, then the butter. Stick the lid on, let that sauté till you’ve done whatever it was that you were doing in the other room.

Add the cabbage and stir through. Cook for a bit, letting it wilt, with the lid on, giving the occasional stir. Then add the walnuts, stir through and give it another minute or two.

When ready, add the croutons and stir through again. Dump on a plate if using as a side dish, or in a bowl if that’s the whole meal. Enjoy, preferably with a glass of something.


Incidentally, yes, I am procrastinating. I could read through the script but I’ve made up my mind not to do that till Saturday – the break will help me re-evaluate. There is one scene which I’ve had a thought about and want to re-write fully (got to get a way for the window to develop a fracture) but I might do that tomorrow night. I could finish listening to the second act of The Pirates of Penzance (Tarantara! Tarantara!), or… well, there’s a hundred other things. Already worked out my Ikea shopping list. Socks are all rolled. Email mailing lists cleared. I could do the dishes but I’m not that desperate.

Oh well, it looks like it’s come down to just doing some writing.

nano_09_blk_participant_100x100_2.png NaNoWriMo 2005 progress graph. 2009 NaNoWriMo

Thanks to Caffeinated Bliss for the word count utility.

2009 NaNoWriMo – Day 1

Monday 2 November 2009

November, not only hathing 30 days and being the month of Movember, which I’m not doing this year considering I’m already sprouting a moustache that makes me look like the humanoid version of PT Flea, is also NaNoWriMo – National Novel Writing Month. The concept is, in only the space of 30 days, to produce a 50,000-word first draft novel. This works out to 1,667 words a day. Not an unreachable amount admittedly, but over 30 days indeed a daunting task. And to make it all make sense… well! What were they thinking!?

(You’ll see the little doodad at the bottom of the screen, something I’ll be running for the rest of the month, containing my word count. The dark grey lines are my daily word aim, so approximately 1,667 a day, but this readjusts itself if I am ever under or over the limit from days before. Anyway, I suppose the important thing is that the green represents what I have typed or gone over the daily target, and the red what I am under. Kind of exciting in a paint drying kinda way, isn’t it?)

So far today I have managed to churn out a poorly 418 words. I have to admit that I’m writing this blog entry, poaching some eggs and sorting my washing as a procrastinational tool to avoid writing Word #419. ( Up to that bit I’ve just written 225 words – can I claim these as part of my 1,667? No? Damn.)

Anyway, from what I’ve read the trick to NaNoWriMo is not to have any idea where you’re going and just let yourself go along for the journey. No idea – no plot  – no plan. With that in mind, I’m doing tops!

One of my avoidance tools was to buy some mince to make a spag bog, which I did buy but haven’t made – I just had the above mentioned eggs and asparagus for dinner instead (Note to self: ate asparagus at 20.03. See how long it takes before your wee smells). I also picked up, for inspiration, a bottle of $10 white wine. And it’s worked –  it has inspired to in future spend more money of white wine.

My novel is called “Need Wine” (hence the need for inspiration) and it’s about a late 30 something gay graphic designer who drinks to much and can’t hold down a relationship. It’s a complete tale of imagination and is not based in any way on anyone I know.

At least I have an opening line:

On a bright Saturday morning, Jacob Sponge woke up.

Ain’t that something?

Right, enough of this. I’m going off to churn out some more.

Wish me luck on the journey.


PS: For those who were wondering: 23.39.

PPS: It’s 1.410am. I’ve added considerably to the previous 418, with a nice 500 word bumper over the daily limit, and think it’s time to go to bed. I’ll leave you with my last line:

Secretly, and not kindly, he did hope that the alcoholic fumes would kill off any desire before anything came to pass.

PPPS: For those who were wondering just how long 1,667 words is, every word in this blog, including these ones, is 592. Which means I need to do around three times this every day, coherently, with structure and some form of character development. And a couple of subplots and twists and turns. And not too much padding, which is what I’m doing now. So there you go.

nano_09_blk_participant_100x100_2.png NaNoWriMo 2005 progress graph. 2009 NaNoWriMo

Thanks to Caffeinated Bliss for the word count utility.