Screenwriting and the Pen

My first love was writing for film.

No, that’s a lie. I used to write stories for comic books – usually involving Spider-Man – and stories in general for all sorts of things for school. (One year, I wrote strictly X-Files fan fictions [not knowing that ‘fan fiction’ existed back then] for every writing assignment I was given. I never got a mark lower than 98% on any of those assignments.)

But I really got hooked and decided to pursue writing as a career when I started writing for film.

I don’t know how I did it as a kid. I was 11 when I decided I wanted to write professionally and 13 when I started writing for film. Maybe I had a better attention span back then? I can’t say, but I wrote scripts ALL the time.

And I mean ALL the time.

I was consumed and obsessed with it. I started buying books, borrowing books, doing internet research and writing all the time.

I started with writing a Fantastic Four film script and a script for either Cable or Bishop, but I can’t remember which now. I never did finish that Fantastic Four script because the movie was announced when I was about 45 pages in and I raged and deleted it. Which was a shame because I had the story translated into modern-day way better than the actual film did. (I’m so humble.)

So then I started writing my own work into a script.

I completed my first draft of my first script when I was 14 and was ready to be published at 16 and chased that dream for 3 years, going so far as to contact agents, critics, editors and certain celebrities. (Best day of my life, man, getting approval from one of my heroes.  But that’s neither here nor there.)

But I didn’t get published. Obviously, that never happened. Thank GOD. That script is terrible, and I’m pretty sure that the hard drive it was on crashed and was corrupted.

Not a big deal, really. It would’ve been a B-movie at best.

The point is that now I am getting back into the swing of writing for film and television.

And I forgot how hard it is!

I have so little attention span for the formatting. It drives me insane. And the program I am using to format (Celtx) is driving me even more insane. I dunno if there’s a secret to making this program work better, but I’m going batty over it. Not to mention that during the Week from Hell, I lost 8 pages and 2 scenes that were emotional and had amazing dialogue that I will never get back in this 40 minute spec script I’m writing.

Oh yeah. I’m writing SPEC SCRIPTS. These aren’t even my own work. I mean, okay, the stories are, but the characters aren’t. It’s like a more technical version of a fan fiction. (I feel like I’m 12 again and writing those X-Files stories.) Except I’m not.

And the formatting is irritating me. I’m not the director, why do I HAVE to put these stage directions in? I’m just a writer, the actors and directors should deal with that. HA!

Anyway, it’s a long and tedious process and I’m none to impressed with the way I’ve been handling it. It’s sad and I’ve been really quite lazy about it. Lazy and frustrated.

There is another point to this.

I used to write EVERYTHING longhand and edit as I typed it up. Then, when I had the first draft typed, it was really the second draft and was ready to be polished and edited a third time to make my ‘final draft’. Yeah, it was a longer process in reality, but I felt that it was much more efficient than typing as I go.

Also, when I started this I was still living in my mom’s house and sharing a single computer amongst my family. So writing in notebooks by hand made so much more sense to me. I got so much more accomplished. Plus, it made me feel cool in a totally pretentious and what would now be called ‘hipster’ kind of way.

I could get SO INTO my writing when I was sitting there writing by hand. I would take it with me everywhere and write whenever I could. At work, on my breaks, I was writing. I would have a granola bar and a fizzy juice drink of some sort and write for half an hour. It was amazing. I would be up all night writing in bed because I needed to get the ideas out.

Now I’m a grown-up and I have my own lap top, so I have been neglecting my hand writing.

Thinking about it makes me sad, really. I still have a billion notebooks, and some really awesome binders. And I buy thousands of pens (I buy some almost every time I’m in any place that sells pens… even the grocery store and stuff, it’s an addiction!) So why don’t I still hand write all my work? I dunno. But I seem to think that I might be more productive if I did.


Kai Kiriyama lives in the frozen North – otherwise known as Canada. She isn’t kidding when she says she has a billion pens.
You can follow her eon twitter: @thekiriyamaheir
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About kaikiriyama

I'm a writer. I write everything from shorts, to novels to screenplays and then some. I like comic books, ponies, zombies, pokemon, monsters, demons, vampires and mythology. I walk a fine line between badass, scary and girly. View all posts by kaikiriyama

One response to “Screenwriting and the Pen

  • Wicked Julia

    I empathize with your writing addiction. I have suffered from the same malady. I tend to be more fascinated with the paper I use than the pens but, a good pen still makes me want to write, too

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