I bottomed out on Sunday. After having a long talk with Jiyoung, I decided to shelve the project. It was an emotional afternoon -- I was angry that I'd flushed such a big chunk of our personal savings down the toilet. I also felt embarrassed to have failed in the eyes of my friends and family.
The turbulence subsided a little the next day, and I wasn't as sure about tossing Stareater. I saw that I had three options:
- Try to salvage Stareater.
- Take what I've learned and start a new project.
- Get a real job.
Fixing the existing screenplay will require a complete rewrite. I've been reading The Art of Dramatic Writing, by Lajos Egri, and it has highlighted fundamental flaws in my story. To paraphrase Egri, I started building my house from the roof down. I fixated on incidents and setpieces, and my characters were never more than action figures whom I forced to participate in a series of pointless, disconnected events.
According to Egri, I should have started with a premise. This sounds kind of Hollywood-hacky, but having written an entire screenplay that lacked a premise, I feel well-suited to attest to its importance. Simply, my screenplay should have said something. Part of what made last week so lame was that the shallowness of my script pointed to a shallowness of mind. As cheesy as it sounds, this process of writing about space people has precipitated the most penetrating phase of introspection of my life.
In the end, you can't write well unless you really believe something, deep down. And after a week of stock-taking, I'm not sure if I'm a person with convictions, or (and this is creepy) if I even want convictions.
If I don't have those things, can the process of writing cause them to grow spontaneously? Preferably in the next few months, before I run out of money?
I'm not going to quit yet. At the very least, I can spend the next few days standing around, waiting to be stricken by a bolt of inspiration.