Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Well...??? So why DO you write!!!

I'm experimenting inserting this in the HTML mode and can only hope it'll look OK. Please forgive the formatting gliches.

In several screenwriting classes, the assignment was the pesky "Why do you write?" one. Now I'm used to "Where do you get your crazy ideas?" and I've been answering that routinely on this blog. But "Why do you write?" I just can't fathom that question. But it keeps coming. Finally, it made me mad enough to draft the following little scripted scene.

Another assignment was to create a domain to house screenplay offerings, so I did that, too, though it's far from "finished." It will get a logo and some more graphics, a much longer list of screenplays ready to market, much improved "marketing materials" (i.e. the description of what the script is and what it's about), and even some internal navigation aids plus a lot more actual content. This scene is posted there, too -- http://www.slantedconcept.com where you can read this item without the format-scramble caused by the narrow column of the blog text.

Written by Jacqueline Lichtenberg

                                                               FADE IN:

               INT. TORTURE CHAMBER - NIGHT  

               A small dark room with a bare TABLE and CHAIR, plus a DESK
with two unlit SPOTLIGHTS aimed at the chair. A WATER
BOARDING setup sits to one side with no water in it.

               A cloaked figure, the INTERROGATOR, walks to the desk carrying a
large pile of paper. He pounds a light switch and sits.

               The spotlights reveal the woman, JACQUELINE LICHTENBERG,
sitting at the table. Mature, stately, utterly composed,
wearing a staid business suit, a queen on her throne,
Lichtenberg stares down the rude man from her reddened eyes.
The Interrogator checks his notes.

Now, once more, Lichtenberg, you
will tell me exactly why you write!

               Lichtenberg's voice is husky, lips dry and cracked.  

You wouldn't believe me.

Immaterial. We will not be here
all night. Answer the question.

               Lichtenberg's eyes flash to the water boarding setup then
back to the Interrogator. Her chin rises. She is silent.

                                   INTERROGATOR (CONT'D)

               The door opens letting in flourescent blue light.  LINDSAY a
hulking man built like a Sumo wrestler, enters with a BUCKET
of water. The door SLAMS. The Interrogator nods at the water
boarding setup. Lindsay pours the water slowly, glances over
his shoulder at Lichtenberg, drawing the cruel moment out.
She faces the Interrogator in royal capitulation. She folds
her hands on the table, stares at them and confesses.

B-because. Because I can't draw,
or paint, or sew, or dance, or
sculpt, or sing, or compose music.

I told you, no more specious lies.

               Stung, Lichtenberg stares right into the blinding lights that
hide her enemy.

The bald, unalloyed,
incontrovertible truth is -

               She pauses to take a deep breath.

                                   LICHTENBERG (CONT'D)
I HAVE NO TALENT!!!! There, now
are you satisfied!

               She starts to rise as if to leave the room in a huff.
Lindsay pushes her shoulders down, seating her hard.

               The Interrogator shakes the stack of paper at her.

That is a patent lie! This is the
original manuscript of one of your
award winning novels. Lindsay -

No! No, I'll tell you. I'll tell
you everything. Just don't - !

               She glances at the water boarding setup.  

All right. One more chance.

               Voice cracking, Lichtenberg begins.  

I write to show people the vast
potential I see in humanity.

That's too vague.

The Universe, and humanity, are
made out of the substance of love,
of affinity for goodness.

Balderdash. This is all battle
scenes and chase scenes.

The beauty of the human spirit
reveals itself under duress.

What human? These are aliens!

               Lichtenberg glances from the Manuscript to Lindsay and snaps.  

Lindsay, did you read that book?

Yes, Ma'am.

Were the non-humans believable?

Yes, Ma'am.

(To Interrogator)
The humanity of the human spirit
may be ellusive. But the beauty
within always emerges.

You don't always write science

True. I always show ways to
uncover the goodness in the world,
to inspire people to look at the
worst and see the inner beauty.

But this is cheesey trash, wall to
wall action peppered with passion!

Each action results from a free
will choice such as we all face in
life. Success depends on the
ability to make a friend out of an
enemy. The trick of that is to
find the beauty within yourself.

Let her go, Lindsay. She's daft.

                                                              FADE OUT.


  1. I was laughing, ready to throw up! Especially the part about Lindsay threatening your original manuscript with the water table.

  2. LOL Loved that. Very entertaining. Yeah, I totally relate to the "can't sing, can't dance, can't sew, so I have to write" confession. :)

  3. Great scene! The confession also reminds me of a comparison I once encountered of writers to dancers. Supposedly both kinds of artists use their art as a substitute for the face-to-face verbal communication they're not so good at. The premise seems counter-intuitive at first glance yet makes a lot of sense when I think about it. Direct interaction with people is NOT my strength, much less witty repartee. I can produce a strong verbal performance only when I have time to write it down and revise it.

    Why do I write? I started writing (at age 13) because I got excited about the horror and fantasy stories I read and wanted to create something similar.