Vomit Drafts/Muscle Drafts/Draft Zero

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  • #16
    Re: Vomit Drafts/Muscle Drafts/Draft Zero

    Whether you think your first draft is a "vomit draft" or not, it still ends up one ... The purpose of a vomit draft is to make sure you get to Fade Out. To not choke up along the way, or get trapped rewriting page 43 for the rest of your life. You can rewrite what is written, not what is unwritten.
    Wonderful, helpful, level-headed advice ... as always from Bill.

    "The fact that you have seen professionals write poorly is no reason for you to imitate them." - ComicBent.

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    • #17
      Re: Vomit Drafts/Muscle Drafts/Draft Zero

      I do consider the first set of ~100 pages that lead to FADE OUT my draft zero, because the story has shifted by that point and there are sure to be plot holes, etc. There are also certainly parts where I eventually got sick of waiting to figure out how to write them, so I put a placeholder in and kept going. It's going to need to be re-written before I even show it to friends for notes.

      That said, I can't write a "vomit draft." I need to feel good about the writing to keep going. This is partially related to insecurity -- I need to know that the script is going to work -- but it's also because I don't want to leave myself a shit-ton of work for the rewrite, or I might end up half-assing it.
      QUESTICLES -- It's about balls on a mission.

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      • #18
        Re: Vomit Drafts/Muscle Drafts/Draft Zero

        Awesome thread.

        I create an outline but veer from it when I'm writing as long as it isn't a major change in direction. I have a writing partner though, and that helps keep me on track.

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        • #19
          Re: Vomit Drafts/Muscle Drafts/Draft Zero

          Originally posted by Knaight View Post
          I do consider the first set of ~100 pages that lead to FADE OUT my draft zero, because the story has shifted by that point and there are sure to be plot holes, etc.
          Outlining should eliminate plot holes and big asks when regarding logic.

          Writing isn't just about getting words on a page, it's about telling a cohesive story which follows the rules of the world inwhich it's set.
          The rest can be fine-tuned later - that's called rewriting.
          Cufk, Tish, Sips.

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          • #20
            Re: Vomit Drafts/Muscle Drafts/Draft Zero

            Originally posted by Grandmaster View Post
            Outlining should eliminate plot holes and big asks when regarding logic.

            Writing isn't just about getting words on a page, it's about telling a cohesive story which follows the rules of the world inwhich it's set.
            The rest can be fine-tuned later - that's called rewriting.
            I generally spend over a month outlining, but thank you for taking your limited worldview and applying it to someone you've never met before!

            For me, the outline is also a type of first draft. The rough draft of pages is sort of a rewrite of that, where I begin to really discover the story and get to know the characters. Sometimes the story and characters want to go somewhere I didn't predict at the outline stage. I let them do that.

            Sometimes, this means I'll have to go back and rewrite entire scenes or sequences to make everything cohesive. I worry about that when I do the next rewrite.
            QUESTICLES -- It's about balls on a mission.

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            • #21
              Re: Vomit Drafts/Muscle Drafts/Draft Zero

              Jon Jay,

              This is a fascinating subject. Most everything I've read from pro writers, especially younger pro writers is that the "vomit draft" is the way to go.

              But as I've gotten to talk to a couple of these guys 1-on-1 I realize that the vomit draft isn't *really* a vomit draft, per se. They've spent weeks on the outline and character bios and making sure that the story is fleshed out...then when they actually open up Final Draft (or Fade In or Movie Magic) they are able to poop out a fast draft.

              But their vomit draft isn't like the amateur who just sits down a craps out a draft off the top of their head.

              I personally have always been a fast writer. In the last 18 months, I've written 12 features, 2 pilots and 3-4 shorts. But after talking and learning from these guys I realized that I needed to spend WAY more time in Pre-Production before I actually sit down to write. My last three scripts have been so much fun to actually write because I've already done the hard work. Writing screenplays is pretty damn fun!

              Then you go to rewriting...and that isn't as fun. But I think if you do the work right from the beginning, you should have a solid infrastructure to be able to keep 50-60% of your "vomit draft".

              It is fascinating reading everyone else's thoughts here, though...that's just me.

              Chris

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              • #22
                Re: Vomit Drafts/Muscle Drafts/Draft Zero

                Thanks to all who've replied so far - very interesting.

                Without getting too anal about this, I think that lumping together muscle/zero/vomit isn't quite right, as each seems a little different. With hindsight I don't know whether my latest effort was a vomit draft as I did have a fairly detailed bullet-list to work from with the whole story mapped out. I guess the vomit-y bit was that once I had that list and it made sense, I determined to just write the f**ker, not spending hours wondering whether a scene should take place in a car park, the car or the driveway. The clear and absolute priority was getting it finished.

                Now I'm redrafting it's easy to see yes, it should be in the driveway and change accordingly. Or that I need to scrap the scene altogether.

                Actually the latter has been the most interesting thing for me; just as you can write a beautifully crafted scene only for an actor to nail the emotion with a look in their eyes, I found that once the characters started speaking on the page I realised subsequent scenes just weren't necessary. Once they existed, a shoe-leather scene discussing which car they drive actually becomes a metaphor for that couple's relationship, and you realise that the heart-to-heart three scenes later is redundant.

                However if I'd planned that scene to be full of subtext about their relationship, I'm not sure it would've had the honesty I got from doing it this way round.

                However if I hadn't planned the whole story, I wouldn't have known who these characters were, so wouldn't have known how to write that scene...

                Anyway - whatever. It worked for me!
                My stuff

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                • #23
                  Re: Vomit Drafts/Muscle Drafts/Draft Zero

                  Originally posted by Knaight View Post
                  I generally spend over a month outlining, but thank you for taking your limited worldview and applying it to someone you've never met before!
                  My, my, such a sensitive soul.

                  Good luck with your rewrites.
                  Cufk, Tish, Sips.

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                  • #24
                    Re: Vomit Drafts/Muscle Drafts/Draft Zero

                    Originally posted by Grandmaster View Post
                    My, my, such a sensitive soul.

                    Good luck with your rewrites.
                    The sensitivity helps when it comes to writing characters.

                    And it's not about luck.
                    QUESTICLES -- It's about balls on a mission.

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                    • #25
                      Re: Vomit Drafts/Muscle Drafts/Draft Zero

                      I do an outline to make sure I have a storyline.
                      I do the vomit draft to get it to a screenplay.

                      Then I rewrite everything.

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                      • #26
                        Re: Vomit Drafts/Muscle Drafts/Draft Zero

                        Originally posted by Grandmaster View Post
                        Outlining should eliminate plot holes and big asks when regarding logic.

                        Writing isn't just about getting words on a page, it's about telling a cohesive story which follows the rules of the world inwhich it's set.
                        The rest can be fine-tuned later - that's called rewriting.
                        If your scripts follow your outlines to a T, I would hate to read one of your scripts. You simply DON'T KNOW 100% what will and won't work until you actually get into the writing (not to mention the characters). Scripts and stories need to be allowed to breathe and evolve. They're living, organic things. If you restrict them from growing, you'll never achieve greatness in your writing.

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                        • #27
                          Re: Vomit Drafts/Muscle Drafts/Draft Zero

                          I've learned to love the vomit draft. It's become my favorite part of the process. I finally get to actually write the screenplay! I can see the action in my mind and all I have to do is write it down as fast as I can. It's where the inspiration and improvisation of writing comes to life.

                          After an idea's been gestating for a while, I have to digest an outline before I can vomit the script. The rough draft is just the halfway point in the process - I then have to clean up what I just regurgitated. Sometimes it's messy, but if I've done it in chunks of sequences or acts, after a little mopping up I can get it to pass a sniff test from a reader who then helps me with some spots I missed. By then I'm already thinking about the next project I'm going to make a meal out of and spew through the keyboard into the computer.

                          Without the extended puke metaphor, my process is akin to the film production cycle: a lot of preparation in preproduction; a quick, chaotic, exciting, short period of production with room for movie magic; then a long period of post, where I cut together what I have into something better than it should be.

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                          • #28
                            Re: Vomit Drafts/Muscle Drafts/Draft Zero

                            For a slightly different perspective...

                            My writing partner and I used to not outline. We found it difficult to outline. So we'd do first drafts that were pretty bad, and then we'd revise.

                            As we got better and time went on, we got better at outlining. So now we outline pretty extensively.

                            Just recently we went back to one of our older scripts (written the 'old' way) and we decided to do a full rewrite, because while the premise was still good, that script doesn't make any ****ing sense.

                            What were we thinking? I don't know. We've now rewritten about 90 percent of it, and now it's a real script, but Jesus, I'd rather not do that again.

                            I suppose this is good practice for future script doctoring?

                            At some point though, you're going to have to learn to outline before you do a script. Someone will probably ask you for a treatment someday, right?
                            writertypepeople.tumblr.com
                            twitter.com/susanlbridges
                            pendantaudio.com

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                            • #29
                              Re: Vomit Drafts/Muscle Drafts/Draft Zero

                              My earliest works were all of the "vomit draft" variety. It's definitely freeing and helps you figure out what you're writing, but it can be both easy to write yourself into corners or (in my case), completely forget subplots existed or should exist in the first place!

                              These days I tend towards a short vomit draft (say, 20-30 pages) so I can work out the kinds of the main character and the general shape of what I want the story to feel like. I'm not great at doing that in my head, I have to get it on the page. Then I go back and make an outline on index cards and get started on a proper first draft.

                              I mean, on the one hand, no first draft is good. It's why we put the word "first" there. But on the other hand, you probably want your first draft to be as good as you can be so you have less dreck to cut away.

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                              • #30
                                Re: Vomit Drafts/Muscle Drafts/Draft Zero

                                Having written a screenplay with just about every gimmick and method and super-easy-fast abs-make your penis bigger way, I find doing a beat sheet is a real time saver. I flesh out each scene with a paragraph adding any detail I can think of.
                                It's basically writing the screenplay with a lot less writing.
                                what the head makes cloudy the heart makes very clear

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