Friday, 27 May 2011

Day 9: The NIPper is done!

In the words of one of the greatest: If 'tis done when 'tis done, then 'twere well it were done quickly.

Nine days, 56,000 words, 26 chapters edited, plus a prologue and an epilogue.

And look, it's still daylight!

Rewriting is a strange beast. Some writers love it; most writers love to have done it but it's never an easy or especially comfortable process. It can be wonderfully energising or utterly deflating but when a chapter or a scene that hadn't worked suddenly comes together, it's worth all the effort.

But it is soooooooooo nice to have finished.

I want to start something new!!

Wednesday, 25 May 2011

Day 7: Distracted by Dog, Daughter and the Addams Family

Three chapters done but it's not enough. So why am I reading The Addams Family script. 'Cos it's brilliant and funny. (I'm choosing to stick my head in the sand about the fact that this script is the 11th revision because that tells me how much pain, heartache, frustration has gone into this great script.)

Take this for a line:

MORTICIA, to Gomez
Last night, you were... unhinged.
You were like some desperate,
howling demon. You frightened me.
Do it again.

I need to get three more chaps at least marked up before I finish. The backdrop is a child dressing a dog like a pirate/ belly dancer/ Turkish horse trader... Which means odd dressing up garments all over the house, a little cinnamon dog fleeing under my chair for protection and a frustrated artist chasing her with a golden camera.

Three more chapters. Three. More. Chapters.

Then I can join in the chaos.

Tuesday, 24 May 2011

Lindsay Jane Sedgwick; writer, script ed, tutor: Day 6: On time and writing

Lindsay Jane Sedgwick; writer, script ed, tutor: Day 6: On time and writing: "What is it with time and writing? No matter how long you think a piece of work will take, it inevitably takes longer and while this piece ..."

Day 6: On time and writing

What is it with time and writing?

No matter how long you think a piece of work will take, it inevitably takes longer and while this piece of work waits for you to finish, it will make snarling noises, poo on the carpet and shred your curtains. Just to see how you'll react. And it will drink lots of lukewarm coffee, ideally with chocolate and King crisps.

If you take a conservative guess and give yourself heaps of time, then nothing gets done; if you try to restrict yourself to the minimum time + coffee break you think it needs, it will run over into every other part of your life. And you will end up finishing something else instead.

Today chapters 14-19 got a going over. None of them are fully edited but they are all re-modelled so I know, at least, they work chronologically, are cut back where they ran over-long and most of the dull bits have been buried in the back garden under the weeds. All the other chapters took a gentle hammering too - I now have 25 chapters, not 23 - but it was satisfying work.

And I have found out that you don't leave line spaces between separate sections, you centre a 'hash'... This is in case the editor doesn't realise there is meant to be a line space because of the configuration of the print out.

Oh yes, it's coming together--just more slowly than I'd like!

Writing for Children

Came across this via a LinkedIn group. Lots of useful stuff if you're interested in writing for children: C:\Users\PB\Desktop\WRITING FOR CHILDREN\Resources For Children's Writers.htm

Monday, 23 May 2011

Day 5: the NIPper bites back

Okay, I was probably being unrealistic thinking I could work at the weekend. If I wasn't a mother, if I had more discipline, if I didn't mind shutting the world out for swathes of time... then maybe. I got some extra work done on Friday night but then it was more a case of wanting to than of doing.

If I was worth my salt as a writer, I'd suggest the ideas I would need this week were brimming away while we were at the Red Bull Flug Tag or shopping in town or while I was cooking or drinking red wine...

Today, I managed to get three chapters done. So I'm not quite on target but I'm only slightly horrendously off. They were difficult ones. The ones that worked when they were part of a screenplay just didn't come up to scratch when they were put down in prose and problems I'd turned a blind eye to were lying in wait with teeth bared.

Four more days to go.

Friday, 20 May 2011

Chapter Two on the NIPper

Day 2: Chapters 8-10 edited/ rewritten/ polished...Not sure what to call this process. Some need drastic work, others that I think are really problematic turn out to be solved by a tweak here and there, removal of a few pars or addition of a little exchange...

Late at night seems to be one of my most focussed times for editing. If I can make myself read through the print outs, I seem to be able to do the cuts, find the phrases, work out the structure best after 10 pm. After 11 is even better but by then my eyes are drooping. It helps if your social life is on hold and your partner abroad! (A way of filling the void -- or freeing up more time when he returns!?)

Five down after two days. 18 chapters/ 7 days to go. It helps to have an end date - I know I don't have to keep this pace up forever.

Thursday, 19 May 2011

Aimee & I take Punky onto City Channel

My first ever sofa-interview! Aimee was as calm as anything; I was a bag of nerves!

Chapter One of the Novel in Progress (aka The New Nipper)

I have given myself nine days, including today, to rewrite 23 chapters, an epilogue and a prologue. Actually, I like the prologue... but I'm just not sure I need it. Or that maybe I only need it 'cos the start of Chapter One is weak? In which case, it needs more than a rewrite, it needs a re-think. Maybe I need to start later, keep something back, add a bomb disposal squad or and earthquake... (I'm thinking back now to Sam Goldwyn's advice, "Start with an earthquake and build up to a climax".)

But then I have to be careful what I do. Too much action and it wouldn't be the story of a girl who is about to turn 13 and whose family cause her enough problems to make earthquakes seem benign. The prologue is very much an introduction to her and the most important relationship, at least for now, but it's good to question everything.

In Chapter Three there's a character I'm thinking of jettisoning completely. Around Chapter 12 there's a major problem with the span of time. There are other characters - and a cat - that I haven't used enough. Various chapters seem to work wonderfully well but aspects in them need more research. Others feel clunky and overwritten. I have three Mondays in a row in one, which is ridiculous. And many of these stem from issues that were not issues in the film script on which it is based. Now, instead of lying down quietly and rolling a rug over themselves, these self-same issues are wearing pink neon striped tights on their heads and jumping up and down.

The only elements that are not up for question are the piranha Ponchinello and the plot.

But can I do it all in nine days when it's already nearly three pm on Day 1?

Monday, 9 May 2011

A New Proverb...

"A man sitting in the stars has nothing to reach..."

Yup, my daughter, newly-12 is coining proverbs. This is her favourite though.

I'm thinking it connects back to the verse my mother used to quote at me if I ever moaned - and which I have therefore levied on my poor daughter from time to time - and which is so, so true:

Two men looked out through prison bars
One saw mud, the other saw stars.

Not that you're ever able to always control or avoid those days when the mud seeps in between your toes and splatters down your neck from a height but it gives hope that those days will pass; that if you can look for the bright yellow of a dandelion growing through a crack in the pavement, then everything will level out again and even become good.