Writing by Nick Morrison

On Writing: Rewriting & Discovery

I have currently playing on in the background True Detective Season 3. It's research for a new project we're in the initial stages of laying the track for. We're trying to find out what the show is about, fleshing it out in order to get to an outline which will be used to give birth to a script which will hopefully give birth to something else.

I feel bad about not giving the show my full attention. I've told myself that I shouldn't watch things with my attention split - that to really understand I need to be present and focused. Alas, I also have already been procrastinating on doing these blog entries so it's either two kill birds with one stone or stand idly by as the routine is wrecked not even the second time around. 

Onwards - 

Today I'd like to talk a little bit about where ideas come from. I personally don't think there are any original ideas out in the world. What originality is, in my opinion, is a mix of sensory experiences and memories processed into novel ways expressed through the patterns your brain sees and inscribes as output. If only writing itself were so simple. Recognizing the patterns in completed works is one thing but creating the patterns is monumental work that I personally always toil over. 

The first season of True Detective was a masterpiece. Vince and I touched based on it as a reference point today. I mentioned how I thought it was a very simple plot, and he countered back that though the plot is symbol, it's thematically complex work. I agree. The show drips with allegory, powered by melancholy and mystery. The result is something ... unique. Fresh. Wonderful. We think and agree on.

The second season of True Detective is not as good. It came out only a year after the original. The series creator, Nic Pizzolatto started writing season 1 in 2010. He finished shooting in 2013. The show premiered in 2014. I got all that info from Wikipedia.

So, three years writing one season. Then he writes season 02 in one year and it's about a third as good as the original. Haven't seen the third one - working on rectifying that - but I'll bet it's better than that second season.

This is all my long and rambling way of making the following point: writing is a process of (re)discovery. We tend to have seeds of an idea, which we try to create, refine, whittle down, and resolve into something beautiful and sometimes intricate and meaningful and novel. It's a monumental and vain task as it is fucking hard as balls. 

Where do ideas come from? Sensory experiences both conscious and unconscious. Things you've experienced, read, watched, and consumed. The process of turning those ideas into good stories is the process of finding meaning by creating order through patterns. Order of events cascading together into patterns we recognize as core to life itself if it's good or tired and derivative if it's bad which is all subjective to begin with (but at least we have thousands of years of culture and genetic memory as primates as a starting reference point.) 

It takes time to write a good story. Time is sometimes the missing ingredient between bad and good, good and great, great and masterpiece. Or maybe a piece was doomed to be just what it was and what it ever will be. Guarantee you though that if you spent on time on it maybe you could've made it better. Discover a little more. Maybe a bit. Maybe a lot. 

About yourself. The world around you. The truth you seek and see. Everywhere and anywhere. Patterns of order. That's what the process is. At least, that's mine. 

- Ray
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