Trying to will a world into existence

From James Cameron’s introduction to an early scriptment of Strange Days:

At the beginning of any writing project is the agonizing period in which nebulous ideas dance before the mind’s eye like memories of a dream, and vaporous vague shapes take on human form and begin to answer to their names.

Trying to will a world into existence. I circle around it, nibbling at the edges, writing notes about the social infrastructure and expounding to no one in particular about the themes of the thing.

Then slowly a change happens. Without warning, it becomes easier to write a scene than to write notes about the scene. I start sticking words in the mouths of characters who are still mannequins, forcing them to move and to walk. Slowly their movements become more human.

The curve inflects upward, the pace increases. The characters begin to say things in their own words. By the end of this period I’m writing ten pages a day. The last day becomes endless, often stretching round the clock to the following noon. The curve becomes almost vertical as the thing seems to come alive. I become a witness only, a court reporter getting it down as fast as I can.

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