Countdown Clocks and Decomps

Like that title? SEO that, bitches.

When in our old house, outside of Austin Texas, I didn’t have a writing-room apart from the house. I wrote in the bedroom vacated by my oldest (he moved out and got a life for himself). That room shared a wall with my spouse’s TV room. When I was doing the pacing and narrative pass on my Suffocation manuscript, my spouse was binge watching 24. Every fifteen minutes I would hear that blasted digital count-down clock. There are times when I’m alone now, and I hear it. I shudder.


A writer friend lamented the invasion of new story ideas during a challenging and time-consuming revision. We all get to a point during the editing of a book (for me it’s that proofreading stage before reading aloud) where you’re so sick of the book that you need a break. It’s during that break that great ideas come crashing in. Short stories, new sagas, seedlings that are so good, you can’t let that shit go! Unfortunately, you can’t stop what you’re working on because doing so means you’ll never finish anything you’ve written.

I collect Decomposition Books. What are those (you’re not asking)?

They’re composition books made of recycled material. I like them because they look cool. While working on the Femitokon series, there’s been times when ideas have overcome my brain to the point that if I don’t do something, they’re overwhelming. Two of them (one a new series, the other a big novel), are housed in Decomps. La Mestiza, and Amazonomachy. Each book has characters, settings, plots, and dialog, things I jot down when away from my edits.

My Day Job

I used to write comics. These days I’m writing a digital sci-fi serial that will someday be finished if I blog less, and edit more. Working on my series pays me ZERO. So how does a GloBL has-been like me pay her bills?

I’m an administrative assistant in the entertainment industry. I perform remote pre-production work for a Director’s Assistant. I type up and prepare shooting scripts. No, I am not a screenwriter, nor am I “writing for a TV show.” Even though I’m on the payroll as an administrative assistant, I’m contractually bound to never reveal the content of the scripts, nor can I talk about the company, or mention the name of the show, or anyone involved with making the show. Everyone participating in the production is bound by confidentiality rules–I know our show makes the caterer sign one. Oy.

What do I do, exactly?

Lots of shit happens to an episodic script between the time it’s written and when it’s given to cast & crew. There are five people on my team–three of them are on site while myself and another are in the production company’s state of incorporation. I deal with the initial changes made after location scouting is complete, and a content review is done. I type and print out that first version and turn it over to the AD. The AD implements any changes when he/she breaks down what I’ve done overall, into a proper shooting script (a scene or grouping of scenes the director wants to shoot on a specific day). If the scheduling is right, the AD will return to me their portioned shooting script, and I will prepare what is called ‘a packet’ of the day’s scenes. Packets are delightful projects involving various colored paper, numbered scenes, and the sort of collating that will have you acting like Jane Fonda in the Xerox Room, from the movie, 9 to 5. I do not deal with revisions made after the packet’s gone to the talent (actors) and crew. That’s someone else’s drama.

My online friend, author Aaron Gallagher, thinks my job sounds cool. I don’t share his opinion because as a writer, it’s masochistic to take a job formatting another writer’s successful ideas; it’s why my flirtation with fanfiction and fan comics, was brief. I’m a talented woman, with great stories to tell, but writing is 90% revision. When the paying job is formatting someone else’s 90%, you want to stick your head in a full toilet bowl and resist reaching for the handle to flush.