A Not So Slight Detour

So I took a break from the book. Not a break from writing, mind you, but from the book. And now, I’m wondering when I’ll get back to it. Here’s what happened:

Someone that I know from Twitter and with whom I occasionally interact told me that they were going to be attending a screen writing class in Hollywood, specifically aimed at people interested in writing a television pilot. She suggested that it might be fun if I signed up too. I already followed the teacher, whom I’ll tell you a little more about later, on Twitter and knew a bit about his background as a veteran television writer, so I signed up.

The class, which met once a week, for three hours, over the course of six weeks, was indeed fun. After an early stumble–owing to the fact that I initially misunderstood that the goal was to write a half-hour, comedy (not an hour-long, drama) series pilot and that I picked the wrong thing to write my first pilot about–I got really into it and finished a draft. I actually typed the words FADE OUT: and it made me feel so damn good that I signed up for an extension four-week workshop to re-write and polish the thing into good enough shape that I’d actually let a “savvy reader” read it. The workshop is over, but the polishing and punching up continues. Being a ridiculous optimist, I have high hopes for it, but I’m sure so does every other person on earth who writes a pilot script.

Here’s the other thing that happened: I found that I like writing for television better than writing long-form fiction. Did I say like? LOVE. I meant love. So much so, that I’ve finished an outline for another pilot, have an idea and character bios written for a third and plan to write a spec script for a current Showtime comedy series.

What does this mean? I don’t know yet. I will finish the novel. I like the story too much to abandon it. But the going will be slower than I planned. The TV writing “break” has turned into something that is no longer really a break. And it turns out that I may have found another medium for my writing that makes it seem less like work and more like… joy.

Finally (I didn’t forget), Ed Lee (@smedlee on Twitter) teaches the class. It’s now eight weeks long, and at $400, a goddamn bargain. Ed is a delight to work with. Experienced, VERY knowledgeable, patient, and above all, caring. Just don’t be late with your assignments or you’ll feel his velvet wrath. You can find out more about him and the class (and other classes too) at Writing Machine Workshops.

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