Bulldozer or Architect?

I am working on a story.  I have been mad at it for a little while but I think I might be figuring it out.  When I hit a wall I sit there and try to figure out a way through or around the wall.  I have to switch from being a writer into an inventor.  I have to figure out how to keep going.

On Saturday when I hit this wall it was because I had an idea that I found interesting but I couldn’t figure out how to actually tell the story.  Every time that I sit down to do it I can’t get anywhere.  So then I came up with an idea.

You see, I have been making short youtube videos off and on over the last year or so.  And those are pretty easy over all.  They usually only take a night or so to put together.  So I was thinking about how each of those is about five minutes long and then I was like, “Well, an average movie is about 90 to 120 minutes.”  Then I took 90 and divided it by 5.  That came to 18.  Then I rounded it up to 20.  Then I concluded that to write a movie I basically need to write about 20 youtube videos that could fit together into a longer story…


Then I mixed in my some of my recently learned information about story structure.   I divided the 20 into 3 acts.  Actually, it’s 3 acts of 6 with 2 extra scenes (perhaps for the opening and closing credits?). 

I sat at my kitchen table and laid out 3 rows of six post-it notes.  One row for each act.  Then I went through and put what needed to happen at the beginning and at the end.  Then I just started filling in the middle with a bunch of random ideas that I have had about the story.  Soon I had it all connected and sat there in a bit of astonishment that it actually made some sense.

Last night I tried to sit down and write it out like a screenplay but it was not working very well because I don’t know how to write a screenplay.  That was my wall for last night.

Then tonight I was like, “How am I gonna’ figure this out?!  This story is gonna’ suck!”  Then I pulled out all of my little post-it notes and laid them on the table and thought about what my next step could be.  It seems that when I just sit down to write I get lost in all of the corners of the story and I don’t get anywhere.  Then I realized that what I really need to do is to just write the overall story as quick as possible.  And I did that in free hand kind of sloppily and it took me five pages.

I think that it’s way too early to turn it into a screenplay.  I am still learning the story.  I think I just need to keep trying to tell it in a short and simple way but then try to juice it up a little as I go.

That is the wall I’m at now…

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