Poking Prose

Tuesday, 12 May, 2009

Posting about: Script Frenzy, editing prose/database, writing group.

With Script Frenzy over and done and won, thank fuck, I’m back to prose. Sick of script-writing. Sick of all my ideas for scripts. Sick of being jealous of ‘Mad Men’. Sick of wondering whether I got anything out of April on the writing front, which of course I did, but wonder wonder anyway.

Current project – only project – is to assess what I have in the way of prose, hack it up, mash it together, squish it into shape and glare at it. In stages.
1) Type up everything ever, or at least everything from the last two-and-a-half years.
2) Put everything into Scrivener or similar projects for easy access/editing.
3) Assess common themes and repetitions and conceptions of bigger, valuable projects.
4) Put things in some kind of order and hierarchy, based on theme and medium (i.e. long prose, short prose, prose poem, poem, random dialogue).
5) Edit things so they is good.
6) Glare at it.

Stage 6 is really just a place-holder. What I probably mean is either “cry/panic because all of it is shit”, “panic/cry because some of it could be good but will be loads of work” or “panicry because my brain has sploded”.

Times like this it’s great to have friends who know how nuts this stuff is.
With the end of Script Frenzy – and my vow never to ML any OLL events ever again ever, no matter how many Oscars and poems I get – comes the dawn of a new era for our writing group, newly dubbed Scribblepool. I bloody love these people. All the friends I made off the back of Nano last year, plus all the friends made in the fug and haze of Screnzy, all up for supporting each other and feedbacking and hanging out and discussing The Process. I’m so grateful for you, little guide rope on the cliff face.

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Script Slog

Tuesday, 14 April, 2009

Back on-topic for the blog and I’m at a cross-roads in the middle of Procrastination Hell during this my third Script Frenzy. In 2007 I was writing for cinema (‘Embassy’) but barely scraped 8,000 words; in 2008 I adapted a ‘failed’ Nanowrimo idea (‘Paragon’) for TV and got the 100 pages but didn’t get a complete draft; this year it’s back to the big screen again with ‘The Centre’ and although I’m at the halfway point and ahead of schedule… what’s a hyperbolic synonym for “slog”?

It’s not that I don’t like the idea or the characters, rather I like them too much, or at least I like the idea of the idea too much. I’m too wed to my ideas about the characters. Also, it’s not plot-driven. There are things that need to happen, sure, but there isn’t the unstoppable force there was behind last year’s action-sci-fi, nor the scope for writing speculative dialogue that directors/actors/viewers can then ascribe meaning to, leave things open for the rest of the season. It’s got to be self-contained. This thing I’m trying to do is about a people and a place and I’m having to be more economical than is my wont.

And finally, the 100 pages goal does exceedingly well at providing my shrieking inner editor with more ammunition. (“It’s only 100 pages, it should at least not suck!” Or: “Good god, woman, it took you two weeks to write fifty pages? They better be bloody Brecht!” And my personal favourite: “Just what is the point of even doing this if it isn’t going to be good enough for anything?” GAH.)

So here, now, at the halfway, on the hump, at the top of the hill, is my pep talk to myself.

1) What was your aim going into this Script Frenzy? It was to get a complete draft. Not a great draft, not a special draft, not even a decent draft, but a complete draft. You have never completed a screenplay. Never. This will be the first time ever that you come out of either Nanowrimo or Script Frenzy with a complete, self-contained piece of original work. Writing something from beginning to end, that’s what you’re proving. Put the inner editor back in the crypt of St Peter’s. She was happy there in November.

2) John is real. Being him isn’t difficult. The place he lives, it’s down the road. His family, friends, colleagues, enemies… they did all this stuff already. You’re only telling what’s already happened.

3) John is not real. You don’t owe him anything. If you need to twist him to get to the end, twist him. If you need someone to be someone else, damn it, just do it. The end is boss. We’re not going on some journey of character-discovery, not in the first draft. We’re only going to the end. (See, it’s only over there!)

4) Self-sabotage is not a good look for spring. You want to screw something up, wait for winter, at least you can wear blankets everywhere.

5) STOP BLOGGING, TWEETING, WATCHING, EATING… JUST BLOODY TYPE! TYPE, WOMAN!

New New Year

Thursday, 8 January, 2009

Posting about: Current writing habits / 101 Things writing goals / Writing database

Writing has been sporadic to say the least. The usual journal-ish bits, spurts here and there, odd lines I come up with or ideas for ideas, but nothing structured, and no structured working pattern. I’m not sure any of that is necessarily bad, though. I seem to need to not do things properly for a little while to remind myself how much I want to do them. Similar to my mentality re. fitness and nutrition: if I miss something, I scramble to get it back. Absence/heart proverb etc.

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101 THINGS

I signed up to 101 Things in 1001 Days and these are the goals I have down under ‘writing’:
007) Write a complete first draft for Script Frenzy 2009
008) Write a complete first draft for Nanowrimo 2009
009) Write 101 pieces of short fiction and/or vignettes (000/101)
010) Do Poster Poems every week for a month (0/4)
011) Turn a bit of family history/memory into fiction
012) Journal every day for a month
013) Take part in a writing festival
014) Submit a piece of writing for publication/production
015) Leave a couple of lines of poetry lying around in public every day for a week (0/7)
016) Put together my writing database

+ 007 is exciting and do-able. Thinking I might do a stage play, completely free myself from all the distractions, (i.e. desire to direct the thing Right Now,) that come with writing for screen-type things. Read the rest of this entry »

Nanowrimo Retrospective

Monday, 8 December, 2008

So I ‘won’. 50,542 words of codename/working title ‘Playtime’ written by the deadline of 23:59 on the 30th of November. I actually finished at about quarter past four on Friday morning, the 28th, egged on by various people in the chatroom, and I felt great, but yet again I don’t have a complete draft. That’s got to be my target for next year, to get a complete draft in the month, not just 50,000 ambling words. And fuck, do they amble. We’ve got a past that shouldn’t be dull given what it consists of but it is, a present that I quite like but am not sure where it’s going, a bunch of inserts from a conversation between two of the characters and a couple of ‘out there’ fantasy/dream-ish scenes that aren’t particularly relevant yet, but they will be.

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I posted haphazardly to Viddler during Nano.

I also made a few journal-type notes in separate – uncounted! – sections of my Scrivener file as I went through the month. Most of my scribblings were to do with the mechanics of the thing itself or random personal musings but here’s some of the stuff I wrote about the ‘process’. (Ha.) Just a mini insight into the weirdness of Nano.

FRI 14 NOV 02:16 Read the rest of this entry »