Thursday, December 17, 2009

Dating Tips

Seven shopping days left to get something for that special someone.

Oddly enought, this week I wanted to prattle on for a moment about one of those off-writing things I tend not to talk about much. It's more of a mindset, and it applies to writers of prose and scripts alike. Simply put, I want to talk about dating.

I want to toss out a hypothetical situation for you. More exact, a hypothetical person. I'll call her Phoebe. If you want to substitute a different name, go ahead.

Phoebe's my dream woman. She's what every man aspires to. I can't think of anything I've wanted more than to be with Phoebe--and you can feel free to take "be with" any way you like and you'd be right. She is, in all ways, perfect.

Well, perfect might be overstating it. Just a bit.

To be honest, she'd be much hotter if her hair was a bit lighter. And not so long. If she was more of a platinum blonde, Phoebe would be unbelievably hot. So really she's just a haircut and a box of dye away from being my perfect woman.

Okay, maybe if her chin wasn't quite so sharp. Makes her face a bit too pointy for my liking. Rounded would bring out her cheeks and her smile more.

Speaking of which... slight overbite. You can't really notice it until you're close to her. That's when you can also see one of her incisors has this little twist to it. Nothing braces couldn't fix, though. Maybe those transparent ones.

Also--please don't think I'm shallow for this--maybe a little more in the, well, the chestal region. Phoebe is a touch on the small side. Not flat, by any means, and they're nicely formed. I'm not talking about anything grotesque, mind you, but something in a B-cup would give her an absolutely killer figure. Again that's minor. Heck, I think these days it's just outpatient surgery.

Y'know, if she wore some nicer clothes, it'd help show off that figure, too. Everything Phoebe owns is that kind of frumpy-baggy look. It was kind of cute in college, but come on. Dress up a bit now and then. Would it be so wrong to wear something eye-catching? Once we're together, I 'll take her on a nice shopping spree before we go out anywhere.

Although I don't know where we'll go out. We don't have many of the same interests. Her taste in movies sucks, to be honest, and she's not really much of an athletic person. I'll work on that, get her to watch something better and stop subjecting me to that crap stuff she likes to watch.

At least the sex will probably be worth it. As long as she doesn't make that same weird noise she makes when she's excited. That sound creeps me out.

Still my dream girl, though, and I'd love to be with her--in any sense of the phrase.

So, at this point I can guess what a lot of you are thinking. Why the hell is Phoebe my dream girl if I want to change everything about her? She sounds like an okay person as is, but it's pretty apparent she's not what I'm looking for, despite my insistence that I want to be with her. I mean, why would anyone want to be involved with someone just to change everything about them?

Which, as it turns out, is the point I wanted to make.

There are lots of folks who talk about how much they want to be writers. They'll tell you it's been a lifelong dream to see their name on a shelf in a bookstore, or to hear actors reciting their dialogue. There's nothing they want more, and they'll do whatever it takes, make any sacrifice necessary, to make that dream become a reality.

Then, just after this, they'll tell you all the things that are wrong with Hollywood. That there aren't enough musicals/ torture porn/ funny animal movies being made. Why scripts need to be put on the screen in their pristine, untouched form. How they need to let people walk in and pitch ideas without all these hoops to jump through like a resume or a list of credits.

Or maybe they'll tell you how biased the publishing industry is. How publishers need to give as much time and interest to new writers as they do to Stephen King or Dan Brown. That they should be accepting all submissions, agented or not. And how books that aren't interesting and would be hard to market need to get a fair shake from these publishers.

Don't even get these folks started on agents. Agents of all types need to be a lot more open. They need to read everything that gets sent to them, and offer feedback if they don't like it. All seven of the agents in the world need to start accepting more clients and getting more stuff sold to the top studios and publishers.

And as a finale, they'll tell you all the things they'd change about the industry. The policies that make it so reprehensible. All the things they're going to change once they're in that position of power. In fact, the industry's changing now and they'd better watch out and grab these would be-writers and their golden manuscripts before they all change their minds and become house painters or accountants, thus depriving the world of their genius.

By what I'm sure is a complete coincidence, none of these people have ever sold a book, or a screenplay, or even a short story. Which, they'll hurry to tell you, only shows how corrupt and broken the system is and why it needs to be fixed.

Then they'll continue to work on their epic nine-movie saga about cyborg ninjas from the future who've come back to our time to deal with their father issues.

Y'see, Timmy, you can’t go into any sort of relationship thinking I’ll be the one to change her! Or him. Or them, if you live on the wild side. Relationships like that are doomed to failure of one sort or another. Either they collapse altogehter or they "succeed" with one person or the other becomes a twisted, compromised version of themself (and probably hating the other person for it).

Likewise, you can't expect to have any sort of success in the publishing world or in Hollywood if you're starting from the mindset of "they're all wrong." It's no different than my mad pursuit of Phoebe just so I can change everything about her. You either have to love it for what it is or... well, find something else to love.
I can sense a rising argument already, though. "Ahhhhh," says Yakko, "but what if I don't want to go with a traditional publisher? What if I just want to self-publish, or shoot my script myself with my friends?" And honestly, I see no problem with this. None at all.

IF...

...you've gone over your manuscript five or six times; listened to impartial feedback; gone through line by line looking for spelling, grammar, and consistency errors; sent it out to dozens of publishers or producers; sent it out to dozens of agents; and made necessary changes and edits and sent it out to all those people again.

Wash, rinse, repeat. You notice that Johnson & Johnson doesn't tell you when to stop that process. They figure you're right there in the shower, you'll know when your hair's clean without further instruction from them. What's implied, though, is that you have to go through the process at least once before you can claim your hair is clean.

Maybe perfect Phoebe really is the girl for you. You got yourself cleaned up, best clothes, fresh flowers, and she still turned you down. Then maybe you should take a second look at Denise. Because there's a good chance she'll recognize all those good qualities Phoebe somehow missed, and the two of you will be happy together.

Some of those folks I mentioned above, though, like to skip the shampoo process and just announce their hair is clean. They declare themselves worthy of Phoebe and then say a lot of nasty things about her because she turns them down. In fact, what they tend to say is "I wanted to be with Denise, anyway. She's way better than that #%@$ Phoebe!"

In the romance world they call this settling. It's what you do when you don't want to make an effort, or when you've already given up.

Hopefully, that's not where you're headed with your writing.

Next Thursday's kind of a big day for everyone, so I probably won't post anything. Perhaps a little something quick on Wednesday for the holidays.

Until then you've got a week. Go write!

4 comments:

  1. Ah, yes. Wanting to break into Hollywood in order to change Hollywood is one of the primary causes of scripts having that "Heartland Smell," methinks....

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  2. My script shall be called "Death Spares Not the Tiger." My main character: John Everyman. ; )

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  3. So, Natalie, how you coming on that novel you're working on? Hmmm?

    Got a big stack of papers there? Got a nice little story you're working on there? Your big novel you've been working on for three years? Hmmm? Got a compelling protagonist? Yeah? Got an obstacle for him to overcome? Hmmm? Got a story brewing there? Working on that for quite some time? Hmmmm?

    Yeah, talking about that three years ago. Been working on that the whole time? Nice little narrative? Beginning, middle, and end? Some friends become enemies, some enemies become friends? At the end your main character is richer from the experience?

    Yeah? Yeah?

    ;)

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  4. One of the most interesting and worth reading blog I read.

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