Sunday, 27 May 2012

Let Me Be Misunderstood

So you choose to stay in for the weekend instead of being social. Those who go out or invite you out don't understand why you chose to stay in, or when you do venture out, may avoid alcohol.

It's difficult for some non-writers to understand (and respect) what goes into living a creative life and ambition. They think taking a random day or weekend off is no big deal, drinking a beer or two; doing this or that. But if we're serious about writing and our commitment - and enjoy it - then these are big deals to us.

The Long Road 

A writing ambition is a long road and requires a daily effort. There are times to relax and have fun, but productivity and momentum are the main stay. If the wrong fuel is going into the train then it's not going to work properly, or at all. Things must always be moving. If they're not - then we fall behind.

To achieve that ideal, sacrifices have to be made.

We can try to explain and help others to understand our actions and passion for writing, but there's no guarantee they'll understand or even respect it. The sooner we accept this the quicker we can get past the frustration and find ways to power through.

If someone doesn't/can't respect our passion and commitment to writing:

The fault doesn't lie with ourselves - nor should the worry. 

We must press on.

Burning Passion 

Not everyone has a burning passion, desire and ambition for creative work that they want to engage with and work towards on a daily basis. Such work that make people feel alive, content and challenged to no end.

We must embrace this burning passion no matter how alone, frustrated and misunderstood we may feel in our creative efforts. Nothing should be able to stop us from doing what we love and putting fingers to keys - regularly.

However, it's important to seek out like minded individuals and other writers to gain some understanding and support (and vice versa), because chances are we may not find it from immediate friends and family. They may think they understand, and of course, think it's easy, but we know the reality because we live it.

Naturally, it will be an ongoing occurrence within our creative lives and the various people we meet. But is a challenge and opportunity to greet with open arms. Once we learn how to deal with it, it will cease to become a problem.

"Problems call forth our courage and our wisdom; indeed, they create our courage and wisdom."

- M. Scott Peck, The Road Less Traveled 

Monday, 7 May 2012

Lad's back, Arthur, Pink & Green too

Saturday May 5th saw my story contribution to 3 Hundred and 65.

Some people may compose and send their story tweet from work, while juggling the kids, or put a few casual hours in beforehand.

Or like me - the days leading up to it are ripe with inspiration, creativity and practice tweets - some major indulgence.

Although, the final story tweet and overall story development almost went a different way. As I thought about bringing in a new storyline at the time and ambitiously, to push for a multi-narrative story.

In fact, it almost went all wrong, and was heading for this:

Hunched over, his fingers clasped to a jar: frozen tears imprisoned by glass. The Orphan glared at the Stranger by the mast. 

Thankfully, I voiced my intentions on the 3 Hundred and 65 Widows unofficial Facebook fan page, and soon realised new characters and narratives wasn't what the story needed. Therefore, my Orphan character, Stranger by the mast, and the frozen tears imprisoned by glass - bit the dust.

The Countdown 

The days leading up to the due date were nerve-racking to say the least. I knew I wanted to help bring Lad's gang back - specifically Lad and Arthur - as they were the first characters I saw upon discovering the 3 Hundred and 65 project and became fond of.

At the time, there were four or five other story tweets to go before mine. The concern was that someone would step on my toes or write a blinding story tweet for Cope that would demand a follow up. (In fact, that did happen, on the Thursday, but a scene and narrative change on the Friday proved a nice cliff-hanger/resolution for Cope's current story.)

By Thursday evening there was one story tweet standing between me and my ideal goal of bringing Lad and Arthur back. I then decided to contact Friday's story contributor, to see if he shared the same interests and to share a proposed Saturday story tweet with him.

Fortunately - he wanted Lad and his gang back too.

The sending of the final story tweet was surreal. All that excitement, the challenge, and creative buzz - then poof! 


What now? 

Get on with things and hope that people like it.

The Tweet Itself 

The thinking behind what became the final story tweet was to show a human side to Lad and Arthur, and a glimpse into their relationship. Ultimately, wanting to move their story forward and give them a firm way back in. But one that was visually appealing and had an awe to it.

The return of the shadows Pink & Green was inspired by a comment made on the 3 Hundred and 65 blog by Michelle Hodgson, which in one interpretation, saw them as guardians and/or persons who recorded and documented events.

It felt natural to include them in the story tweet and bring another previously forgotten element back into the storyline.

In Hindsight 

Part of me wished I had booked a story tweet much later in the year. With the characters, narratives, story world and genre firmly set up and played out somewhat. Where the stakes are much higher, and more exciting; any additional story tweet would potentially be monumental.

Although, this current section of the story is just as important as any other. What happens now is crucial to how the future will play out. It's nice to say that I played a part in that. I'm proud to have been part of the project.

I'm thrilled that Lad is back, and that the story has a nice balance returning to it now, and a multi-narrative is forming.

We all have our parts to play in the 3 Hundred and 65 saga, and mine, I discovered, was to get Lad back into the story, and with Arthur. I even managed to get Pink & Green in there too!

Overall, I'm glad I did my story tweet when I did, and how I did. It was a fantastic experience!

*Thanks @Artminx for the read/support*

Saturday, 5 May 2012

Behind The Scenes | Project Nightingale

Three months ago I began work on my second project for the year: an urban horror series. 

The first: Project Spacebound began over four months ago and is being written at the same time. 

From Half-Idea to Series 

The big bang moment for this came when a half-idea met its title-to-be and fused together to become something with potential. The combination of those two intriguing elements told me that this was something to pursue.

Its title was a word I thought I had initially made up, as it just appeared in my head and got me hooked. It conjured up emotion, atmosphere, genre and images. Later on, I discovered it was a real word, however, its slang meaning better suited the show and helped define a major element.

The 'half-idea' was a notion and genre twist on a recent news story at the time. A 'what if...' scenario resulted and one that would lead into a high-concept horror sub-genre story. From then, I knew I had to construct a new and compelling narrative away from what already existed. 

Now I have the elements for an atmospheric and engaging urban horror series for television. I am finding that writing in a new genre offers a class in humility and a great opportunity to develop. 

Facing Genre 

Some genres are so well established, classic and done to death it can be off putting to attempt them.

However, as in life, it's important to face your fears and take the challenge and opportunity to develop your writing, experience and confidence.

Even now the popular sub-genre I'm working with is a little unnerving, especially when I think about it and everything that has been released.

Thankfully, the passion and faith I have in the story process gives me the confidence to relax and discover the elements - and just tell the story.

Crazy is Good 

Just because an idea isn't the norm and is lots crazy it doesn't mean we shouldn't pursue it. In fact, we should.

The most crazy ideas are the ones that should be explored as they challenge conventions and the audience experience, and you never know - may just work.

Early on, I knew this project was crazy. However, it is refreshing, exciting and daring. It certainly beats writing something easy.

Overall, it's a challenge to attempt a different spin on such a familiar and loved story world and sub-genre.

Meet New Characters 

Sometimes it's daunting knowing you are going to write certain characters that you haven't written before, have little or no experience with, or maybe don't particularly like.

Again, as in life, the trick is to embrace the challenge as it's the only way to develop writing skill, confidence and push forward.

There are characters in this I have never written before and feel a little removed from.

Although, at the core we are all the same. It's just a matter of research and stepping into their shoes via back story and setting.

Be Ambitious 

We were ambitious and took chances on a daily basis when we were younger. As we age it doesn't mean we have to slip into the conservative frame of mind and not test ourselves or risk anything.

If we don't take the risk we won't ever feel that the impossible is attainable, and won't even try.

Stay young at heart. No fear.

I will take the risk and bolt in for the ride because while I'm writing and learning, I'm having a blast.

Think: Plan B 

Not the band. Although inspiration can be drawn from their unique sound and risk taking.

But some projects inherently have a Plan B (or masked Plan A), as they are versatile and can be experienced in different forms and ways. It doesn't hurt to keep this in mind.

It pays to be honest with yourself on the function of a spec script and chances of one making it to screen.

Down the line when the script is twiddling its thumbs in my portfolio, it would be nice to be able to do something else with it and get the story experience out there.

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