Thursday, 24 February 2011

This is an answer: More Sex, definitely

Currently I am working on a new TV script, which I hope will be my entry for the next Red Planet Prize. After my epiphany late last year about how I’d been treading water for a while as a writer, I wanted to just focus on writing, above all else, for me. Writing about subjects that really interested me, in a way that really interested me. For me that has to be the juxtaposition of the very ordinary on the very extraordinary. I’m happy with how this idea has evolved but I had a problem in that it revolves around 3 couples and the impact that a fairground ride has on their life and love. The problem was finding a way to establish the relationship of the couples quickly. Then I read, the always-brilliant Lucy V Hay writing about wanting more sex – in spec scripts.

It seemed so obvious. Establish each relationship with a sex scene. So damned easy and yet I hadn’t thought about it. But I had thought about it. I’d thought about the couples sex lives and even made notes about it but as I’d played through the establishing scenes in my head I’d not chosen to use them. Strange really.

Thinking about it further I never have sex scenes in my scriptwriting but in my prose writing days I used to always have sex scenes to establish and reveal truths about relationships. So what’s happened? Have I become a prude in my more formative years? Well, no. Ask any of my friends and one of my favourite subjects, for general chit-chat, deep and meaningful conversations or just idle jokes, is sex.

Also sex is a prevalent theme in a lot of the recent scripts I’ve either been developing or writing. Last year I wrote a radio play about sisters discovering their father’s porn collection after his death. This then led me to develop a theatre play, Dirty to Me, which is about a sex therapy group. So I’m writing about sex constantly but not writing the sex it would seem.

So I'm answering Lucy’s call. My script is being re-written to include the sex scenes. In addition to that, an idea that’s been floating in the back of my head for a while about female friendships after the break-up of relationships is going in for an overhaul. Previously the sex lives of the four women were going to be a part of it but now it will be well and truly full-frontal. It’s working title is Rebound Shag Man.

I'm also a great believer in the mantra, the bad things in life make good writing, so it's good to know that on this subject I've already done the research and all those dreadful, funny, wierd and surreal sexual experiences can now be of value, in my writing.

Monday, 7 February 2011

Procrastinating on Process

One of my main forms of procrastination is thinking about writing process. I spend lots of hours thinking about whether my writing process is the right process for me. I also spend lots of hours reading about other people’s writing processes.

As procrastination goes, not writing because I’m thinking about how to write is better than some but it’s still just wasted hours. Towards the end of 2010 I came to the conclusion that I needed to draw the explorations of writing process to an end and come to some conclusions. Let’s face it I’d have enough years of writing so there really isn’t any excuse for not knowing exactly what process suits me best.

I need a writing process that allows my "unique voice" to steer the writing. It’s great to know other writers tips, exercises, shortcuts and methods but they’re not writing my project, I am. Admittedly most of my writing process is taken (COUGH) -stolen- from other writers but I’ve adapted everything ever so slightly to suit my writing process. Most importantly I've stopped using processes simply because a writer I like uses that process. Yes, I might like them as a writer but that doesn't mean that something that works for them works for me. I have to start having more confidence in what I feel is right for me as a writer.

As I've started to work on my new projects this year I'm trying to stick to my process because;

1. I need to have a writing process that works for me. Obvious but needs to be stated,

2. I need to have a writing process that fits with how I write logistically. (i.e., lots of small writing sessions, gaps between writing days,

3. I need to have a writing process that allows who I am to be beneficial to the writing (i.e., I work best with limited time, I work best with a deadline, I like organisation, I work best when I multi-task),

4. I need to have a writing process that takes my flaws as a writer and allows them to be strengths (i.e., I overwrite, I overthink, I make things overly complex),

5. I need to have a writing process that works for all the different formats in which I write; Theatre, TV, Film and Radio. The constraints and strengths of each format might be different but the writing process should still be the same,

6. I need to accept my writing process and stop trying to fight it. I can’t sneak up on it, take shortcuts, fool it or force it to do something it doesn’t want to do,

7. I need to have a writing process that takes me through to final drafts of projects to ensure that I have a portfolio of completed specs,

Now admittedly this blog, and the ones that I plan to write to follow could be classed as procrastinating on process, but at least it was brief.

A few links to further thoughts on writing process

Jonathan Peace on Scriptments and working faster

Lucy Hay on time management

A great interview by Sally Brockway with David Allison (writer of Red Production Co's Bedlam) about Boy meets Girl which includes some great thoughts on his process.