Serial Killers and Writer’s Block

I am currently enjoying a short break from school because I have just finished Term 5. Woooo! It’s exciting, of course, but also scary, since it means that I have two months to figure out what I’m doing next with my life. More on that later.

Term 5 was quite busy. My two main projects were writing the first draft of my second feature, which is a serial killer thriller, and developing a rewrite plan for my first feature, which unfortunately had me hitting the wall of writer’s block a number of times. Fortunately, there was a lot of good with the bad, as I found my thriller to be very exciting, which helped the pages flow smoothly. I love the story and the characters, and although I recognize the script still has some major flaws, I think it’s a strong first draft. Is it because I’ve improved as a writer? I like to think so, seeing as I’ve spent the last ten months writing page after page after page. But another big part of it was that I LOVED the story. I’ve often said that my main genre is drama–because it is–but recently I’m really getting into thrillers. They naturally have a fair amount of drama in them, and there’s something about the danger of it all that I find very exciting to write. Anyway, just thinking about this screenplay is getting me all hot and inspired.

As for the writer’s block: it’s the reality of a writer’s life from time to time. There are ways of working through writer’s block, of course–mainly, keep writing. The reason I’ve been so blocked with trying to re-structure the story of my first feature is because I wrote it as a romantic comedy, which we’ve already established isn’t really my thing, and so it ended up being light on the romance and light on the comedy. Another big problem from the first draft was that the second act meandered and not a lot happened. I had a couple of weak subplots, but it needs more. So, after a number of beat sheets and discussions in workshop, I have finally figured out what to do with the story, and I feel good about it. Part of my block was due to the fact that I had too many people, instructors and classmates, giving me notes and advice. They were all helpful in some ways, but a lot of them contradicted one another, and so I got lost in trying to figure out how to work in everyone’s suggestions. I finally realized that instead of doing that, I have to decide what I want to do with the story, because that’s most important. So I’m going to make the story dramatic, drop the romance, and give the protagonist an emotional trauma that she’s trying to run away from. I’m finally excited about the story again, and I think that will help the rewrite go smoothly once I get into pages next term.