Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Cruising (for lack of a better title)

You know, I planned when I started this blog to add to it weekly with my progress. I obviously failed in that attempt. Such is life.

I called this entry Cruising because that's pretty much what I'm doing right now. I finished the first draft of The Outsiders two weeks ago and sent it to ABC. Adam Myman got back to me last Friday with notes and a request for a rewrite on the first twenty pages. I sent that off a few minutes ago. I'm feeling pretty good about it. I know there will be lots more rewrites. As Ernest Hemingway said, " The first draft of anything is shit. "

I am settling in to a pretty decent daily writing habit. I work best with a deadline. Who doesn't? Surprisingly, I don't put it all off until the last minute like I did when I was in high school.

I've been trying to watch three ABC shows in particular; ALIAS, Desperate Housewives, and Lost. Three pretty decent shows. They all have certain things in common with the Outsiders. Lost, for example, has a sci-fi aspect that is an integral part of the show, but it's a show about people, about their relationships, about their interactions. It's not a show about science-fiction. ALIAS is of course a spy show, but what makes it popular are the relationships. Who's marrying who? Who's sleeping with who? Who's about to murder who? Desperate Housewives is about everybody's dirty little secrets, but it wouldn't be popular if we weren't interested in the relationships, (a cast of hotties don't hurt either!).

The Outsiders is a show about an alien from outer space who comes to Earth and tries to fit in. But, it's really about the relationships that develop around him. The people that he comes to care about, and those who care about him. He's a fish out of water trying to make the best of the cards that he has been dealt. That's what I do every day. I'd venture to say that that's what everyone does every day.

His goal is to rebuild the spaceship that he crashed here in so he can fly back into space to rescue his wife and two kids who are rocketing through the universe in an escape pod blasted away from his spaceship during entry into the earth's atmosphere. (I hope that doesn't sound too convoluted,) The government is after him, of course they're after us all. He is befriended by an older woman, and taken advantage of by her son. He bonds with a kid in his building whose parents are away all the time. He even bonds with the government guy who's after him. There are a lot more relationships that evolve over time, but I can't pack all of them into the first episode.

It's interesting how the more I write about a character the more I get to know him and the people who know him. They are like a group of friends that I go back and visit every day. It's often more them telling me the story, rather than me telling them. In fact, when I do try to direct the story it tends to fall flat. I've read and talk to several writers who say that's common.

Common ... and kinda cool!