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Climbing Mountains...naked.


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There's 16 days left until the deadline for the Writers Digest 75th Annual Writing Competition. I missed this deadline last year, and was sending out my entry on the very day of the late deadline; I believe it was June 1st. Just like this time last year, I haven't even started yet, but unlike last year, I'm going for broke.

If I can find the money, I'm entering the contest twice (it's allowed), with two feature film screenplays. One I talked about already -- the other which I'm going to go a head and do first to make sure at least one gets done -- I haven't talked about at all. As far as controversial stories go, this idea is right up there. Nobody knows about it (specifically), and writing it may be the biggest mistake I'll ever make. I'll probably have to defend myself over it for the rest of my life. It's the kind of thing you get death threats over.

Sounds like fun! Soon as I can stay awake for more than a couple of hours at a time (all cold medicine knocks me out, doesn't matter what it is) I'll get started on the sucker. On the one hand, I'd really like to take some time to write about why I picked this one idea of all things, part of that is my intuition telling me I had better get used to defending myself over it, because I am going to take shit over this, I have no doubt. On the other hand, I just want to put it out there and let it stand on its own. Maybe I'm trying to tell the side of the story that nobody wants to hear, but they really need to hear it. Or maybe it's just a piece of fiction, meant to entertain you, and make me a buck or two in the process.

It's good sometimes to look deep into these things so you can understand why you did something. Sometimes it's better to just do it and move on. If you dig too deep, searching for that existential reason why, you could end up spending your entire life looking for something that doesn't exist. As long as you're putting out some fairly good stuff, and not a load of bull, you should leave reflections for later and just push a head while you still have "it".

I could go into great detail right now why I think I'm doing this story. I would be lying if I didn't say I've already dug far deeper than I should have, but I did it for a different reason: I did it to prepare myself. It doesn't matter if only three people ever see the screenplay, I'm going to have three people giving me strange looks and breathing down my neck, so I'd sure as hell be ready for it, because it's coming.

I could easily write more words about the how and why, with the sole purpose of trying to alleviate -- it would be impossible to erase -- peoples preconceptions about the topic. Just getting someone to open their mind to seeing it from a different point of view is a monumental task. If you looked to the ten most skilled and popular screenwriters in the world, and asked them to do what I am going to do, nine of them would refuse outright, as if you had just asked them to make Hitler look good. The tenth writer would also refuse -- for a different reason -- protesting that it's impossible.

And tell me that alone isn't reason enough to do it.

I think it is, but right now that doesn't even matter. Having again left myself practically no time at all with which to work, I have no choice but to shoot from the hip. Not enough time to think or plan; just enough time to try climbing a mountain naked. Like I said, sounds like fun.

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Apr 29, 2006, 11:27:00 PM
And here is my (unasked for) sage advice - Keep these two things in mind when the shit hits the fan:

"It could be worse - you could have a stick in your eye."
And
"Fuck em if they can't take a joke."


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The text of this article is Copyright © 2006,2007 Paul William Tenny. All rights reserved. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 United States License. Attribution by: full name and original URL. Comments are copyrighted by their authors and are not subject to the Creative Commons license of the article itself.