Writing is an artistic realm unto itself, sequestered from all other forms of expression. It is vivid and imaginative, rhythmic and lyrical, picturesque and graceful. It is also chaotic, violent, undefinable, and inconsistent. It asks thousands of questions while giving one answer, or maybe two. It asks for your soul to pour out an infinite stream, and the reward is to be satisfied with what you have created, and to start over and do it again.
That is the birthplace of Affiliated. More specifically, that is how the insane notion that writing it as a series of screenplays wasn’t enough work. It suddenly had to be converted into a series of short stories.
Affiliated is a crime drama, taking place in one of the world’s many generic cities. The main character, Stan Mulder, is a rude, brash, unapologetic detective with absolutely nothing left in the tank to put into his job. You’re going to get to meet Stan. Aren’t you so excited?
As for turning it from screenplay to story? Believe it or not, that was the hard part. Writing long screenplays is no secret art: a few characters’ lines mixed in with a lot of different ways to tell people how to do their jobs. One page translates into about one minute of screen time. That’s the whole formula. Taking those 20 pages of directions and making a five-page short story forced me to not only edit and rewrite the hell out of what I had, but forced me to rely on a writer’s most feared, dangerous enemy, which is also the one thing they seem to praise to no end: The Writing Process.
The Writing Process is something you’re probably going to get sick of hearing about, but you will hear a lot about it. The Writing Process is one of Hell’s great practical jokes: a world of rules both stylistic and, to a creative writer, only of marginal importance.
For screenwriting, those stylistic rules actually do have meaning. Every detail has to be an important one. Every thought that the writer puts down has to be clear and simple. Everyone involved with that project has to understand exactly what it is that they are supposed to be doing.
For short stories, every single rule that you’ve ever thought you could count on to exist needs to be ignored. Writing is freedom, not a collection of do's and do-not's.
If you want to learn how to write a proper screenplay (which is not what I did), try this: Writing Screenplays
Photo Credit: Jaime Cavazos