Friday, August 24, 2012


If you've ever had to write a thesis you know pure and absolute joy and pure and absolute pain. Wait, no one told you thesis writing wasn't the most fun thing you've ever done in your life?


But seriously now, I'm in grad school and I'm almost done! (my last year) But before we break out the confetti and the cake (or rather cupcakes) there is this big bad thing called thesis.  Thesis in my program while a complete pain is also sort of completely and totally filled with awesome. It's what happens when you got to film school.

Our thesis projects must either consist of a TV show or a Film (if you choose film you may not write it, TV however you may).  So of course I've chosen TV.  One because I absolutely LOVE it. I probably watch more TV than is healthy. In my class and at my last internship, the name of the game was find a TV show Gretchen does not watch. It's hard.  But it can be done.  Two I absolutely want to write TV and work in TV and sort of just surround myself with books and TV.

It's a great thing that my TV does not take up that much room. The same cannot be said of my book obsession, even with e-reader Saira on the job.

But like any good type-A personality, I've already started my thesis.  I'm knee deep in stuff. TV Bible. Outline. Leave-behind. Outline. Marketing ideas. Outline. Character bios. Did I mention outlining?

Oy outlining. For those who know me well you know I've never EVER been one to outline. I'm more of the ocasional post-it kind of girl.  TV however is not done with the ocasional post-it. No ma'am, do not pass go do not collect $200 until you have outlined.

I sort of want to pull my nails out.  And then again I sort of don't.

Outline is one of those things that's a lot like writing, in that everyone must find their own way of handling it.  There are ways of outline just like there are ways of writing.  I've been smacking my head against the outline until finally my friend suggested I outline the "procedural" plot and build around that.

It worked like Pixie Dust, I was up and at 'em before I knew what happened.  Now I'm back with the other plots and am about to start digging through all of the other scenes ferreting out all of the other plots.   You see TV shows are strictly divided up into four basic plot lines in every episode. So I've tamed one--mostly.  Now it's on to the other stuff, luckily it's all falling into place.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

I am a....writer....oy.

So I've been a writer in the sense that I think things up and then commit them to paper for years. Like years (code for I have forgotten the exact time this started.)  But what's funny is that I've sort of kept it in a box. Like a box you bury deep in the back of your closet so no one has to see the stuff you keep in it sort of box.

I wrote things down but I did not tell anyone in my "real" life that I was busy writing things down. It was always that thing I did late at night or in notebooks or in places where people who knew me could never see it.

That is all a changin'.

Because my career goal to be a TV writer or a novelist, or a feature writer. Basically what I am getting at is that I am going to be a writer. It's not just a dream that will someday happen it's got to happen.

Now that the "career" part of my life is out of the way, it's time to make the second step.  Taking that box out of the closet and letting out that thing I've kept closed up.

It's a strange thing to go to parties with my family or talk with my old friends. Strange because I'm now telling them, I'm going to be a writer. I used to keep everything all boxed up because I didn't want people to think I was foolish.  I grew up in a small town and people from small town Kansas, just did not become writers of any kind.  We became teachers, and farmer, and maybe there was the odd doctor or lawyer, but we did not become writers and we certainly did not move to California with the intention of becoming writers.  It was a fine dream but there was always the practicality of living to consider. More often than not, practicality won out.

The strange thing is that fear and anxiety I thought would happen. And more importantly that feeling that people would think I was dreaming the impossible dream, did not happen. I have officially been introducing myself as Gretchen Schreiber--writer for several months now.

I've broached the subject with my parents.  It was sort of like telling them I'm not going to medical school all over again. And surprisingly (to me at least) they were like "Duh. Of course you are."

"...." that was my response. Actually the more accurate response would be this: o_0. My parents were completely chill.

My friends? Did not think I was some sort of freak. They thought it was "cool." That I was having some sort of mad adventure that they wanted to be apart of...

Suddenly, my entire fear network, because that's what it had become in my mind. A network of fear.  Fear that I might have to tell people I want to write things down. That I might have to admit that I was more afraid of admitting this to myself, than of admitting it to my friends. I was just displacing all that fear of my own failing to other people.  So much's good for the soul.

Anyway the point of the story is: Hi, my name is Gretchen Schreiber and I want am going to be a writer.


Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Pie Baking

Digging.  Drill down.  Go deeper.  These are all words/phrases/things I've typed in critiques. It's my short hand for: you're only scratching the surface, but there's big oil reserves down there.

It's also something that I myself have had to come and face. Not just in my writing but in a personal level.

There were some not so good days this week. They are not writing related, and I've come to term/dealt with them, so I'm cool.  Am I going to tell you the gory details--of course not.  However, I have learned not to shy away from unpleasant emotions. Just because something makes us unhappy does not mean we do not talk about it. Not that every subject needs to be full of negativity, but everyone stumbles and has a weak moment.  This week has been mine. (It's only Tuesday I realize--that tell you something about how my week has been?)

But I will say these words, drill down/digging/go deeper are a better way of dealing with/discussing  anger/fear/hatred/frustration/love than anything I have yet to find.

I was busy trying to explain my situation to a friend via gchat and he stops me to ask what made me type some of the things I've said.  I give him some of the answers, but he stops me again and says, no that's not what I meant. Why do YOU say these things? Why do YOU feel so strongly about this?

My friend forced me to go down past the surface level emotion--anger, and delve into why I was angry.  Not the situation, but my emotions that led to me being angry. I feel that I'm mucking this up.  But what I have learned is that most of these surface layer emotions are always backed by deeper more personal emotions. I wasn't just angry--oh I thought I was--but I was not.  I was hurt, I'd lost something I dearly wanted, I felt betrayed.  All of these emotions were baked in a pie and covered by a crust of anger.  Without that tasty filling, the pie crust doesn't have legs on which to stand.

He also forced me to look at a lot of my own "demons" surrounding the subject. As I started to sit down and write I find that I too am starting to unpack/drill down into my characters emotions. Not asking what makes them angry--but what is that anger covering.  That's where the real drama is. Because the filling is way more satisfying than the pie crust.