New Ideas vs Finishing Your Screenplay

March 4, 2010 at 12:02 pm

New Ideas vs Finishing Your Screenplay | Screenwriting Blog

What happens when you are writing a story you love and you come up with a new killer idea?

I’ve been writing a feature script for a few months now.  It’s based on an idea I came up with nearly 5 years ago while I was in college.

When I began to seriously develop the screenplay in December, I was so excited to finally see the story on the page.  Fast-forward a few months and I’m nearly 70 pages deep and I’m still loving it.

There’s nothing like a story you enjoy working on.

However…

I came up with a new idea a few weeks ago and I think it’s one of the coolest ideas I’ve ever come up with.

Until recently, I thought it would make an interesting movie but last week I had a breakthrough and the story exploded.

Allow me to tell you a personal story:

I’m at home watching television before heading to work.  I’m thinking about this new story and some of the characters I want to be involved when it hits me…  An idea that ties everything together.  Suddenly, I jump out of my chair and run straight for my computer to write it all down.  An hour or so later, I’ve got a short outline of the story and I’m beyond pumped about it.  But…

Which one do I work on?

I find myself torn between a story I love and a new idea I’m excited about.

On the one hand, I’ve got a story I’ve been working on for years.  It’s a story I can’t wait to finish and therefore, I want nothing more than to push towards the finish line.

On the other hand, should I sit on a new idea that I consider to be one of my best concepts? (It’s a unique take on the superhero genre by the way)

It occurred to me that maybe sitting on a story too long is the reason why I’m still working on my current screenplay.  Do I risk delaying the project when it is constantly on my mind?  Should you seize the moment when it smacks you me in the face?

Can I honestly abandon my current project for a while and risk losing interest completely?  Will I lose interest in the new idea if I don’t pursue it?

It’s a tough call.

There is a positive in all of this though.  As a writer, I’m used to ideas drying up from time to time.  It happens to everyone.  So being torn between two good ideas is a pretty great place to be.

The other advantage I have is my current script is nearly completed and most of the details are worked out.

What to do?

Clearly I’m excited about my new story.  I’m also just as excited to finally finish a journey I started 5 years ago.

So, I’ll be using the new story as a reward for completing my screenplay.  Having another script to look forward to is an inspiring way to help drive you towards your writing goals.

Either way, I’ve got a lot of development and screenwriting in my future.

I’m pretty happy about that.