For reasons I won’t bore you with, I’ve been withdrawing from the world a bit recently. Friends and associates are receding into the background and I’m focusing more and more on my writing. This is neither good nor bad, it’s just the way things are, and I’m trying to make the best of it. But in the process, I’m discovering something about writing that I don’t think I fully realized in the last 23 years that I’ve been writing seriously. Writing alone is hard.
To a certain extent, we all write alone, of course. It’s the nature of the job. But what I’m finding now, cut off from my former writing partner and having left the critique group I founded long ago, is that I miss the fellowship of other writers, and could really use someone to bounce ideas back and forth with. It’s just not the same asking myself questions and trying to answer them.
Case in point. I’m gearing up for Script Frenzy in April. I’ve got a good idea for a screenplay, something I’ve been kicking around for about a decade that I’ve always known would make either a kick-ass action movie or a good Crichton-esque (before his State of Fear sellout hackitude) technothriller. Perfect fodder for the “100 script pages in a month” white heat of Script Frenzy. But I’ve got second act problems. I know how the movie starts, I have a great, kick ass ending, but how to get from one to the other is a mite fuzzy. And it’s here that I really wish I had someone to banter with, someone who could help me answer some of the questions I have about getting to that crucial plot twist that takes you from the end of act 2 and caroming into act 3.
But I don’t have anyone left that I trust. This is foolish, I know, since there’s realistically no danger in talking openly about my story. Give two writers the same basic story and you end up with “Armageddon” on one side and “Deep Impact” on the other. But old habits die hard, and I’m keeping the details to myself. The story questions I’ve teased out of my outline I’ll have to answer myself. The answers will come, and at least I have second act problems and not the third act problems (good story but no satisfactory ending) more common, and deadly, to screenplays.
I didn’t appreciate the social aspect of writing until it was gone. Like so much in life, I suppose. So I ask my readers, those of you who know the solitude of the written word. How do you deal with the isolation of writing?