First Drafts Can Be Hell

short story, screenwriting, The Devil, humor, Modern PhilosopherThe Devil burst into my living room like he was being propelled by a burst of eternal Hellfire.

“I hear we need to celebrate!” Lucifer declared excitedly.

As always, he was well dressed in an impeccably tailored suit, but this time, he was also carrying an enormous, three foot tall, green glass bottle.

“Is that champagne?” I asked in total confusion.

It was hot.  And disgustingly humid.  To be honest, I was in no mood for his nonsense, but I was interested in a three foot tall beverage because dehydration was becoming a factor.

Unfortunately, I hated champagne.

“Actually, it’s Snapple  in a giant champagne bottle,” The Prince of Darkness revealed.  “That way, it will be both celebratory and delicious.

My eyes lit up at that unexpected twist.  “Let me get some glasses,” I offered.

“No need,” Satan informed me.

He snapped his fingers as he walked over to the couch.  Two champagne flutes magically appeared on the table.

“What are we celebrating?” I asked, even though I didn’t need a reason to enjoy three feet of my favorite beverage.

The Devil popped the cork and filled my glass.

“Rumor has it you completed the first draft of the screenplay for the short film,” he explained as he poured himself a drink, and then stuck the giant bottle into an even larger ice bucket that he produced with another snap of his fingers.

short story, screenwriting, The Devil, humor, Modern Philosopher“That is true,” I downplayed the accomplishment.  “The creative juices were really flowing last night, so I just kept typing, and it was done before I knew it.”

Lucifer raised his glass in toast.  “To first drafts!  They are only the start of the work that needs to be done, but at least they offer a temporary sense of accomplishment!”

“I will drink to that,” I agreed and tapped his glass.

Then I chugged its entire contents.  Like I said, it was hotter than Hell and I was very thirsty.  Plus, I’d used up all my creative juices and desperately needed to re-hydrate.

“Why aren’t you more excited?” The Prince of Darkness dared ask only after he gave me a refill.  “You churned out that draft in less than a week.”

“But like you said, it’s only the start of more work,” I replied.  “I am going to keep rewriting that script until I think it’s perfect.  Which it never is.  So I’m just constantly tinkering.”

“Are you happy with the first draft?” Satan asked like he genuinely cared.

I shrugged because that was a difficult question to answer.

“I guess,” I tried to explain how I felt.  “I read it, and I was happy.  The thing is, though, writers are never more insecure than after they finish a first draft.  In my mind, the screenplay is very good.  I mean, I wouldn’t have written what I did if I thought it sucked. But my opinion doesn’t matter.  I need to know if other people like it.”

“That is tough,” The Devil conceded as he sipped his Snapple.  “Hopefully, you can get some feedback from Matthias soon.  He must be thrilled that you’ve finished a first draft so quickly.”

“He did send me a thumbs up emoji via Facebook Messenger in the middle of the night in reply to my message that the draft was done,” I told him and made no effort to hide the disappointment in my voice.

“You turned a five page short story into a thirty-two page screenplay,” Lucifer reminded me.  “That alone is an accomplishment worth celebrating.”

“Thanks,” I mumbled and enjoyed more Snapple.

short story, screenwriting, The Devil, humor, Modern Philosopher“Which, of course, begs the question: When will you be turning our weekly blog posts into a feature length screenplay?” The Prince of Darkness demanded with a raised eyebrow.  “I have plenty of ideas.”

“I just thought of something I need to add to the screenplay,” I lied and grabbed the ice bucket.  “I better work on it immediately, and it might take a while…”

I ran off as quickly as I could with the heavy bottle of Snapple and ice bucket in my arms.

“Don’t worry,” Satan called after me.  “I will be right here waiting for you!”

The story of my life…

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About Austin

Native New Yorker who's fled to the quiet life in Maine. I write movies, root for the Yankees, and shovel lots of snow.
This entry was posted in Humor, Writing and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to First Drafts Can Be Hell

  1. markbialczak says:

    Matthias will let you know, Austin. I know, the waiting is the hardest part. Way to go getting that first draft done.

  2. I think my biggest weakness as a writer is being too satisfied with my first drafts. I really wish I could be more constructively critical of my own writing.

    • Austin says:

      It helps to have trusted readers to give you feedback. Also, with a screenplay, it’s impossible to get it made without many,many, many people giving you feedback and demanding changes. 🙂

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