Vomit Drafts/Muscle Drafts/Draft Zero

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  • Vomit Drafts/Muscle Drafts/Draft Zero

    I'd be interested in other writers' views on these.

    I've always avoided, as it felt self-defeating. On the Kaufman-Mamet Scale of writer insecurity I score pretty high, so the idea of churning out 110 pages whilst simultaneously believing they're rubbish seemed like some bizarre form of torture.

    But...

    I tried it for my last script. Admittedly it was something I'd had in my head for ages, had outlined, had a numbered list of scenes/beats (about 50)... But I managed to write it in two weeks. And although I know it needs tonnes of re-writing and re-organising, just having that finished draft sat in a hard copy next to the laptop... it actually feels pretty good. It's not just an ephemeral idea anymore - it exists. And maybe the final draft won't have a single word from this one - but that's often true of first drafts, and this one only took a couple of weeks.

    Anyway, I'd be genuinely interested in others' thoughts on this.
    My stuff

  • #2
    Re: Vomit Drafts/Muscle Drafts/Draft Zero

    PRO: when you're full of doubt and low self-esteem, clenching your jaw and just writing the damn thing is the only way to move forward. And maybe see that you don't suck so much as feared.

    CON: I find it's often difficult to change what you've already written. It feels 'ready'. Especially if there are some images or dialog exchanges you like.

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    • #3
      Re: Vomit Drafts/Muscle Drafts/Draft Zero

      Originally posted by goldmund View Post
      CON: I find it's often difficult to change what you've already written. It feels 'ready'. Especially if there are some images or dialog exchanges you like.
      ...then you post it in the script pages forum and get a kick in the gut and feel 'ready' to make major changes

      But seriously, Jon Jay, so far (and I'm admittedly inexperienced) I think they can be a useful tool. I've had a bunch of ideas that never got finished, so with one of them I did just write the whole thing --- I spent a while writing out my structure and then banged the script out in a week or two, and it was a full-length draft. Since then I've pretty rewritten every word, but it's a great feeling of, "I can choose this section or this scene or this plot thread or this character, and rewrite it, and then, if I feel like stopping, I will 'still' be done." I won't be on page 10 and feeling like stopping, I'll have a 90 page draft slightly better than the previous draft and feel like stopping. Just knowing that whenever I stop, I'll still have something I can do something with --- even if it's only brag about it to my mates over beer --- changes the level of confidence with which I can approach my rewrites.

      However, I seriously doubt I will ever again try writing a draft without first having a seriously gone-over and edited and concrete outline. That, for me, is totally self-defeating and usually ends in tears.

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      • #4
        Re: Vomit Drafts/Muscle Drafts/Draft Zero

        I agree with goldmund. Just go ahead and write it. It goes without saying that your first draft is going to need lots of work, but the important thing is that you wrote it.

        It's very easy to get discouraged, but the more you work at improving and refining your script, it'll get easier and you'll become a better writer in the process.

        Don't give up and keep going!
        http://maximumz.wordpress.com

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        • #5
          Re: Vomit Drafts/Muscle Drafts/Draft Zero

          Getting a rough draft out on paper and sitting beside me as I write has always been very useful to me.

          Yes- this stack of 120 pages will almost certainly drastically change, but there's something about working from a DOCUMENT that really helps me.

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          • #6
            Re: Vomit Drafts/Muscle Drafts/Draft Zero

            I can't stand the idea of vomit drafts. I can't even let a known typo go by without going back and correcting it when I reach the end of the sentence. I know that people like to say that somehow short circuits creativity or the flow of ideas, but for me, that's rubbish. Mistakes or holes send me into a tailspin.

            I [think I] come up with more creative ideas when I work off an outline.

            I have a hard tiime moving on by telling myself that I'll fix it later...like a major plot hole -- a character name I'm not crazy about or something minor, okay, I'll worry more about that later, but not a main part of the story.

            Also, writing time is a precious commodity for me. I don't like the idea of knowingly spending a lot of time writing something that will probably be crap. It just seems like a way to procrastinate and lie to yourself that you are actually being productive.
            On Twitter @DeadManSkipping

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            • #7
              Re: Vomit Drafts/Muscle Drafts/Draft Zero

              Well, but you know when you sit over an outline and ponder different ways the story could go, or how to solve some plot problem?

              Some people just do it in action. This is what "vomit draft" is for me -- outlining in action. My mind works best in concrete scenes. Bullet points are too abstract.

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              • #8
                Re: Vomit Drafts/Muscle Drafts/Draft Zero

                For me the trick to a good vomit draft is to take your time over a fine meal beforehand. Have quality caviar, carrot, and steak, washed down with Port, so that your vomit will have rich texture, interesting coloration, and fine aroma. When you go back to it a week or so later, quality vomit is much easier to digest.

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                • #9
                  Re: Vomit Drafts/Muscle Drafts/Draft Zero

                  I do a pretty elaborate outline, but when I start writing, I am a big fan of vomit drafting. I follow the outline, but when I get stuck I just go "Oh who cares- it's just the first draft" and post whatever crappy thing I can think of to fill the space. I think the key is that you trust yourself to figure it out later. I trust that if I go away and think about it, or if I finish the first draft and go back to fill in the gaps, I'll figure it out. If I write something I know sucks, I'll just leave a note next to that section that says "This sucks. Fix it."
                  Chicks Who Script podcast

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                  • #10
                    Re: Vomit Drafts/Muscle Drafts/Draft Zero

                    Originally posted by emily blake View Post
                    I do a pretty elaborate outline, but when I start writing, I am a big fan of vomit drafting. I follow the outline, but when I get stuck I just go "Oh who cares- it's just the first draft" and post whatever crappy thing I can think of to fill the space. I think the key is that you trust yourself to figure it out later. I trust that if I go away and think about it, or if I finish the first draft and go back to fill in the gaps, I'll figure it out. If I write something I know sucks, I'll just leave a note next to that section that says "This sucks. Fix it."
                    I wish I could outline as thoroughly as you do, but I simply don't have the patience. It's too mathematical to me. I love discovering what the character might do and the choices they make as I continue the story from their point of view.

                    But to be clear, I always have a firm grasp of where things are heading.

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                    • #11
                      Re: Vomit Drafts/Muscle Drafts/Draft Zero

                      I never outline first. I always go right to the draft as soon as I have the set-up and the ending (which are usually the first things to come along).

                      I believe outlining has its place in the process, for me, it's when I have concrete events I know that will be in the script. And I have material to work with.

                      But as far as sitting around thinking what will come next? I like to do that while scripting.

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                      • #12
                        Re: Vomit Drafts/Muscle Drafts/Draft Zero

                        I outline. Lately I feel more like a treatment writer than a script writer, which many execs have warned me about and I feel like I'm falling into that trap. Never stop speccing.

                        But my treatments are detailed. I beat it all out to see if the story points work, at least try to tackle major problems up front. I end up with a 12-15 pg doc.

                        The hard thing for me is making that into a one or two-pager, because I don't want things to feel half-baked. I'd really like to be able to write better, punchier two-pagers that excite but maintain intent and clarity.

                        I'm not a big vomit draft guy. Unfortunately I labor over every single word and choice until I feel it's perfect, also a big flaw and time suck. I will allow myself to write out a really shiity paragraph or on-the-nose dialog just to get it out, but I don't move on until that's been revised. So I'm a mini-vomit guy I guess.

                        All told, outline to a 1st or 2nd (presentable) draft takes me around 3.5 months. Would love to be faster, but more importantly, I'd love to just be better.

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                        • #13
                          Re: Vomit Drafts/Muscle Drafts/Draft Zero

                          Look at the term "vomit draft" as an analogy that you just have to regurgitate the story out of your head and onto actual pages, then mop it up after.

                          That's all "vomit draft" is meant to mean.

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                          • #14
                            Re: Vomit Drafts/Muscle Drafts/Draft Zero

                            Originally posted by goldmund View Post
                            CON: I find it's often difficult to change what you've already written. It feels 'ready'. Especially if there are some images or dialog exchanges you like.
                            True. But I've started to do something to pre-remediate this, sorta: When I get to a scene and I don't feel really inspired as to how it should go and/or what the characters should say - I simply type a slugline, then type a note about what the scene might be, change its text-color to something other than black, then move on to the next scene.

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                            • #15
                              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.

                              I outline... and still end up with a first draft that needs work. Just less work than if I didn't outline.

                              If you write to find your story... once you have found it you have to write the first draft (which is probably a completely different screenplay). If you write that new first draft without an outline, you could be at this *forever* until you get the good first draft where every line tells the story.

                              I don't have time not to outline, the producer wants the script Tuesday.

                              - Bill
                              Free Script Tips:
                              http://www.scriptsecrets.net

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