How do the professional writers, the ones making money, the ones writing for television—how do they come up with their material? They mine it from everyday life.
The other day I was eating lunch and listening to a podcast and the person being interviewed, a writer for a couple popular TV sitcoms talked about the Monday morning writers meeting. This was when he was working on Everybody Loves Raymond. First thing the head writer would say was: What happened this weekend?
So the men and women around the table would talk about family matters, misunderstandings, household chaos—the mundane. And, it worked. It fired scripts, kept a show running for 8 seasons.
Surely from your crazy/boring life comes a tidbit/germ you can render into a story or incorporate into a longer narrative. Often I will draft half-done stories, knowing there is something missing. A piece to the puzzle that I must wait on. This seldom comes as true inspiration as much as paying attention. If I think what’s missing is some suspense or a moment of discomfort I have to mull this over and look for real life examples.
It’s Monday. Write a first draft—and leave it to finish on Friday and see if in between you come up with the unique twist or element it lacks.
|Writers Room, 30 Rock|