re: Where Do We Go From Here

I too am happy with our final choice. It’s interesting how the option that I wasn’t the most passionate about is indeed the one I’m most excited about writing.

I like the idea of Points of Conflict, and I think we should incorporate that idea in our writing and outlining, but first I wonder if we shouldn’t do a brief one-page treatment each just to put some plot sketches on the table and see where we are.

At this point, I think it serves the story better to see it from the 10,000 foot elevation before we zoom down. Previously we’ve had character outlines that are not necessarily about the story itself. Let’s put some story on the table and see what happens.

Then, I would also like to have a discussion about mood and tone — what other movies feel the same? What’s the pace going to be like? I’m still all-for starting with a very violent opener where the husband gets snagged and killed. What say you?

Where Do We Go From Here that all of the nominees have shrunk to one / and how do we spend our time, knowing we have to make something work?

(apologies to the Alan Parsons Project, which I believe was some sort of hovercraft.)

Get Real

Both Shockah and I use 37 Signals products, and found their book Getting Real inspirational. They just released the complete book for free on the web, and in addition to the original PDF version, you can now buy a printed copy.

The focus is software design, but a lot of their advice translates to writing as well.

Here’s the HTML version for all to read.

Behind the, 'In A World': Time to Die

Wherein we investigate the history of our winning idea, a dark horse that kept the race slow and steady while others surged or faltered.

I’m honored to write this post, as I am currently the first official Spitball! Employee of the Month. I’d like to thank Shockah, my peers, and the readers who read what we write, which would be you right now, eh? I’m very much looking forward to my doughnut reward.

So, Time to Die:

Time To Eat Sugary Fried Dough

You are the Spitball! Employee of the Month. I owe you donuts.

(Bonus trivia: the winning story idea was ranked #6 by me and #10 by you.)

Burley Grymz votes with a rhyme

I read your post first, but I promised myself it wouldn’t make an impact on my voting. Am I right? You be the judge.

I asked myself which ones I really want to write. What I’m really excited about? Here’s my list:

Urban Shockah Votes With A Bullet

I have a feeling this list would look different if I wrote it a day later, a day earlier, or even just at a different hour. An idea that sounds good in the morning looks uninspired in the evening, then looks fresh again the following day. So who knows what this list would look like a week from now? But as we have to check and see if the cat is dead or alive, the stories have to get slotted into an hierarchy. Here's mine.

The semi-finalists

Herein lies the six stories that made it to the very end. My last post contained one mistake — I thought there were five stories. So, each story should be placed in order, and then assigned points based on their rank. #1 gets 6 points, #2 gets 5 points, and so on to #6 getting 1 point. Then we add them up and see where we are.

In any case, here are the six semi-finalists, listed in alphabetical order:

Re: Two guys walk into a blog -- you'd think the second one would've ducked

October 22, 2006 · by Burley Grymz · Permalink · Category: Original Version, communiqués, the screenplay

Huh? What? Is this thing on?

Sorry folks — I was gorging myself in San Francisco last week, and I’m only now staring to move again, like a wet bug that needed to dry out before coming out of stasis.

Anyway, where were we?

What say you, Burley?

Right! I say that I vote for both as well, although really in my mind the two could be easily combined. Is that always my answer? Combine the stories?

Also, I have a challenge: since I want to dig in and start working on the actual screenplay we will be writing, I say we set aside needless complexity™ and we do a speed round to find our final pick. What say you to this?

I say we list the remaining stories in order of preference, and award them points based on their position on the list. So, the number one pick would have five points, the number two pick four points, and so on until the fifth pick with one point. Then we’ll add them together and see what the order is. If we agree on the outcome, then we’ll take the top story. What do you think?

Two guys walk into a blog -- you'd think the second one would've ducked

October 16, 2006 · by The Urban Shockah · Permalink · Category: Original Version, communiqués, the screenplay

Hey everybody -- voting time!

I, Urban Shockah, vote for both The Scabs and La Commune Planet. I'll admit, I was a little sketchy about LCP coming into this -- it was interesting, certainly, but it seemed like there were better ideas out there. But Grymz's character sketch gave me a more concrete idea of what the story and the world was like, and I feel like my contribution helped me latch onto the concept more strongly. Don't know about Grymz, but I like the idea of a cross-class unrequited romance on board a space station that's quickly going to hell. I don't necessarily think that this is what the screenplay's about -- it's probably just one part of it -- but it is, for me, the one tiny thing I can emotionally hold onto and will get me through the rest of the development process.

It's interesting -- for me, The Scabs was clearly a comedy, and LCP clearly wasn't, but they seemed to have switched places. I'm still not entirely sold on The Scabs as a drama, although it's coming more into focus. Again, the key for me was to find a human character with a conflict that wasn't directly about the robot uprising (which, right now, for me, can only be Futurama-hilarious or Terminator-horrific) but about issues that orbited that: job dissatisfaction, dreams deferred, the character's slow realization that he has more in common with the "cold" robots than the humans around him, despite his protests to the contrary. That's all interesting to me, and that's what I'll be holding onto if and when this story is expanded upon.

What say you, Burley?

Round 12, Part Four [La Commune Planet v. The Scabs]

The Scabs

In a world designed by engineers to be a self-sufficient, endlessly exploitable resource for the rest of the known galaxy, robots toil tirelessly in the fields, the forests and the mountains, providing food and raw materials for a rapidly expanding market. But when a series of accidents destroys some of the mining robots, the rest of the metal workforce decide to strike and power off, leaving the humans that depend on the planet in the lurch. A taskforce is assembled to get the planet up and running again while a negotiator tries to get the robots back online. While the taskforce tries to relearn the long-forgotten principles of farming and manufacturing, the negotiator accidentally reveals the existence of the taskforce… and the robots, realizing that their existence could be usurped by the humans, decide to go on the offensive.

Character Sketch: Camelot "Cam" Nkrumah

Relationship to story: The human negotiator (definitely a major character, probably the protagonist, but then again, maybe not)

links for 2006-10-13

October 12, 2006 · by Burley Grymz · Permalink · Category: Original Version

Re: [9] Round 12, Part Two [La Commune Planet v. The Scabs]

I think you're right. It is closer to suspense, and possibly does border on horror. But, then the questions are raised, what is the suspenseful situation, and what is horrible about it? I see it more as dramatic, but then the thing is less formed and more amorphous in my head. We'll work on that. I'm sure we can come to terms over this. So long as coming to terms means doing exactly what I want.

It's funny -- as I've been working on my latest character bios, I've made the switch: I can see La Commune Planet as a comedy and The Scabs as a drama. The key for me on the latter was to forget about the robots and look more deeply into the human character -- not to put too fine a point on it, but what's his angst? Maybe it has to do with the robots, but maybe it doesn't. The more I can think of this guy as the subject of a drama, the more I can take the situation/story seriously as a drama. (It's tough, admittedly -- the situation just sounds more comedic than dramatic to me, but I think I can do it.) I don't know if that quite dovetails with your approach, but I don't think it's contradictory, either. If that makes any sense.

To me, that's the _heart_ of collaboration, and my segue into mentioning that I'm working on a few posts about collaboration and how we work, which I think is kind of interesting.

How's that coming, btw? I'd like to read that. I might learn something :-P

Round 12, Part Three [La Commune Planet v. The Scabs]

La Commune Planet

In a world constructed for the pleasure of the ultra-rich, every vice can be had — for a price. But beneath the smiling exterior of the friendly staff, there lurks a growing resentment. When a group of ascetics destroy access to the planet’s hidden interdimensional gateway, the employees seize the chance to declare independence from the government and its backers. But as they take the profits and the pleasures for themselves, pressures and conflicting desires threaten to blow the planet to smithereens.

Character Sketch: Davis McExxon

Relationship to story: Also a primary character.

links for 2006-10-03

October 02, 2006 · by Burley Grymz · Permalink · Category: Original Version