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Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Script Frenzy Update Day 0

Hmm...mixed feelings as I look down the barrel of another intensive writing month. April is a busier month on the whole than January, which will present a whole new range of challenges, let alone forcing my brain to think in a script-ward fashion. Particularly a radio play, which it strikes me now will make for a rather dialogue intensive experience. Obvious, really, but I never think of these things while surfing the wave of what seems like a great idea.

I know what I'm doing: an adaptation of Arthur Conan Doyle's short story The Captain of the North Star. It's an idea I've had for a radio play for some time and is the only thing in that format that I've got any kind of real planning done for, which is not the same thing as having any extensive planning done. Still, it means when I sit down tomorrow I have a place to start. More importantly, I have a place to finish.

I must admit, an adaptation does feel like something of a cheat. Hell, I have a story structure in place (though not nearly enough to flesh out one hundred pages of script), characters (a few of whom will need beefing up) and even dialogue to shamelessly rip from the page (though it won't all translate handily to spoken word). Not too bad, really: a damn sight better than my novel writing month, where I hadn't the faintest idea what it was going to be until the morning I started.

But it presents its own challenges. For one thing, I need to beef it out a bit while remaining true to the original narrative voice. And given I'll be trying to mimic the Doyle-ster (as he liked to be known), that will probably mean bastardising the rest of it with my own, poorer grasp of language. Also, I'll be trying to fiddle the structure into six chapters of approximately ten minutes each, for the purposes of a student radio show that young master Tom Crowley has in mind. I would like to come out of this with something I can hammer into better shape for that particular outlet. So that will mean introducing a series of escalating cliffhangers and payoffs into a story that doesn't necessarily work that way. Yet.

Another challenge is losing the wonderful, block-busting freedom to just make shit up. I'm adapting something and therefore am sort of locked into a particular narrative flow. Oh sure, I can (and will have to) play around with it, but at the end of the day I have my start, I have my end and I've even got lots of bits in between. Which means I'm always working to a set purpose. On the novel I really was just making it up on a day to day basis. Anything could happen. If I hit a dead end with a character, well next chapter I introduced someone new to pass the time until the first character figured out something to do. It worked and it kept me moving forward. I worry that if I come up against a dead end here I may well lose a bit of time. Well, I guess I could jump ahead and figure out the connections later, but dammit, it just ain't as much fun!

Ahh, well. All this talk is just a load of old wank, really, isn't it? The proof is in the pudding and all that. So I'll shut my trap now and get to the job of it in the morning. See you tomorrow night for a progress report!

Oh, hey, a great piece of pre-production software pointed out to me by a post at Push Listing (which features nice, sharp comic reviews): Celtx. Amazing stuff.

1 comment:

  1. I am loving Celtx. Bit worried I'll spend too much time over the next 30 days messing about with it, rather than, you know, writing.

    This is my first time doing anything like this, so I feel I've a bit to learn. Beginning to feel unprepared.