190. Noir Blues

So I’ve been working on a screenplay of sorts. As of the 2nd day of writing, it is about 25% complete with 24 pages of text.

The script started off as an idea to parody film noir, among other things. The idea was that out of the cast of central characters, each of them perceives the events taking place through their own lenses of which film genre they think they’re in. There’s a young fellow who firmly believes he’s in a gritty, black-and-white film noir, a girl who thinks she’s in a romantic comedy, an antagonist who think he’s caught in a horror flick, and the protagonist’s partner, who is of the opinion that they are in a buddy cop film.

None of them actually realize that they’re all in a black comedy, or a farce, at best.

But stories, like children, have their own way of coming alive and rebelling against you, despite your best wishes and intentions. The idea was comedy gold – I even had a tagline for it: “Everyone’s the hero of their own story”. I wanted to submit it as a short story/novella, the joke being that even the story itself is delusional about what it is: that it presents itself as a script, rather than prose.

The moment I introduced a strong central event to tie all the characters together, however, the story became firmly lodged in film noir, and there was no turning back from that point on. No matter how hard I tried to distract the story, it went where it wanted to go.

As a writer and the parent of the story, I followed it to make sure it didn’t fly off the handle.

Now, at the end of Act I, it’s beginning to unfold as a story of mass manipulation: it’s a world where everyone has their own schemes, and everyone is trying to play everyone into their grand plan. As the protagonist eloquently puts it in the final scene of the act, “There’s no help to be found in the world, only people playing each other to their own beat.”

(or at least I think it’s eloquent; else I wouldn’t have written it down)

It’s a fascinating thing, though, to see the story deviate from what I wanted it to be and becoming its own story. I now begin to appreciate Mr. King’s words when he talks about the futility of plotting everything to the dot. Not to say it’s a universal rule – Ms. Rowling had her outlines from the very beginning, and that worked for her – but I’m starting to appreciate it for how it applies to the writer that I am.

It’s been a fun 2 days discovering the story as much as I am writing it, and I cannot wait to see where it would go over the next few days.

(I just hope that this doesn’t become one of those projects that I get excited about, finish a whole bulk of it in 2 days, and then get distracted by another shiny new idea)

We’ll see where this road leads.


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