Keeping Track: Week 2

Screenplays

I’m now at 91 pages of Project “No Fun”. Getting past 90 pages is always my “wall”. Once I’ve got past 90 pages, it’s then a proper length, and feels almost complete. Quite important for having the end in sight. Still about four or five scenes left to write, but getting closer to a full draft. Rewrites will be No Fun.

The one I’m planning with Coffee Break Screenwriter feels like it has moved forwards a little – I’m going through this book pretty methodically, so I’ve gone through Chapter 1, which basically gives me a bare-bones plot, a log-line and some basic character intentions. I’d already planned the fundamental structure before starting the book exercises, and I’m finding that original structure rubbing awkwardly against what I’m coming up with now. Mostly, I’ve discovered that my main character is super-passive. They literally hang around waiting for stuff to happen. Also, I’ve got no real idea why the antagonist(s) are doing what they’re doing. They’re just all maraudy and vague. So I might have to take a little break from book exercises and just sit down and try to come up with what these bastards are actually doing

The passive thing is a bit more tricky. You see, I quite like passive characters (being a bit of a passive character myself). I like people placed in extraordinary circumstances and kind of going with the flow, but the rigid structure imposed by screenwriting books (of which I cannot read enough) doesn’t really allow for that. So this is all good discipline. Discipline like a mouthful of bran.

The other issue that I’ve come up against – particularly with “No Fun” – is that I’m not particularly great at writing conflict, as I avoid it so much in real life. I’m English, that’s what we do*. So it is a bit of an effort to write conflict. Again, it’s a bit of a mouthful of bran. Write the horrible turgid conflict so it can be refined later.

Sitcoms

No new work on radio adaptation sitcom, but we have a meeting about the multi-writer sitcom tomorrow, so I’ve written two pages on that today, and we’re all doing some last-minute deadline work and posting it into the Google Doc.

The nice thing about writing a radio sitcom with three of you is you only have to write seven minutes each. Everyone can write seven minutes! For this one, we’ve split out the A, B and C plots, and each of us write one. We’ve tried to minimise crossover between the plots on this first draft so we don’t complicate each others’ plots  – and then we’ll spend a lot of time complicating each others’ plots. The first scene I’ve written, I’ve ignored this self-imposed rule, as I had the C plot, with only one major character to work with, so I’ve at least given her something of a cipher to spark against.

Other

That’s sort of been it this week. We were away at the weekend, blah blah blah. I did see Rob Delaney last week, and that did kick off a strange little Twitter story in my head, but too many people believed it. My brother asked if he could come and visit the Game of Thrones set, and his little face fell when I told him I was lying. Heartbreaking. No good at conflict, as I said before.

* Apart from colonialism, etc. etc.

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