Sunday, September 27, 2009

Outbreak Theory

Just finished reading a very comprehensive New Yorker article [log-in required] on the events leading up to the collapse of Lehman and, by extension, the world economic crisis. 

The article's conclusion is that despite the extensive (and arguably justified) critism of the bailout, the feeling that at least some comprehensive plan was in place prevented the worldwide financial panic we feared in the nervous months after Lehman. 

This reminded me of two things. First, an article in Wired about virus theory wherein researchers ran thousands of computer simulations to predict the spread of world-threatening viruses if they found their way in to the population. The other, a practical guide to removing stains. 

In both cases, the conclusions were the same.  I doesn't so much matter what you do as long as you DO SOMETHING. Close the schools, quarantine, stop interstate travel, rub with soap and warm water - any preventative measure is better than nothing and, generally speaking, enough to stop a crisis.

Monday, September 21, 2009

First Draft Complete, Cue Soul Searching

This weekend, I biked out to the end of an isolated pier in Red Hook and read the first draft of my script, out loud, to myself.

This was a big moment for me. Just like it says in the book, there are things I thought were there that weren't there, and things that are there that I had never expected. The most unexpected of the latter: what I have seems to be a completed story. It's a script. It's a first draft, with big chunks missing and other chunks that will need to be completely reimagined and rewritten, but it is a whole script, heavy, made of paper, physically indistinguishable from, say, Good Will Hunting or Poltergeist 2, except for the words on the page.

This is a HUGE relief.

I had gotten so focused on each individual part of the script that I didn't quite understand that by the end I would have a whole thing, a coherent work that I had written, an object made of words.

Right now, I am sitting in the lower 60s section of Riverside Park, reading my reference book, and thinking about what comes next. I am trying to figure out what the biggest changes will need to be so as to make them first. Giving my main character more of a role in the main action of the story seems to be my greatest initial challenge. There will be many others.

In the book it says that once you finish your first draft, you're a writer. I don't know if that's true exactly. But when I was working on the first draft I found that the best time to stop writing was when I started wondering if maybe I was doing absolutely everthing wrong - something I wondered literally every day that I wrote. I assumed that once I'd finished a first draft, I'd spend the next week as drunk as physically possible. Instead, I find myself thinking, anticipating, and hoping just to make it through the second draft.

Wish me luck.