Monday, 31 March 2014

The Blog Tour

Rosie Claverton, whose debut mystery novel “Binary Witness” will be published by Carina Press on 5th May 2014, got in touch with me to pick up the baton for the writing blog tour, after her great blog last week.

At first I was honoured and thrilled, then I looked at the questions and began to die inside.How am I meant to answer those? Writers love digging deep for answers and insight but then we can place that onto a character, it's not about ourselves, honest.

Here's the questions. I'll try my best.

1) What am I working on?

Deep breath.

I've just finished an outline for a 6 part 60 minute TV drama, that's gone to BBC writersroom today, right on the deadline. Was chuffed last week when Lucy Gannon read it and she mentioned that it made her day.

I've also got a walk to the post office to send off DVD discs of short film, Payback, which will be part of Twisted Showcase series 3 airing later this year. It's off to short film festivals first though, so wish it luck. Three of the five episodes have been filmed now, and I'm directing my second episode of the series this coming Saturday, the first time I'm directing something I've written.

Myself and Rhys Jones are also finishing off the pilot episode and pitch for a Twisted Showcase radio anthology. We've also started writing a feature script together, and are finishing work on a sitcom for the nextBBC writersroom window.

I'm about to embark on a childrens TV script rewrite after receiving great notes from Michelle Goode. I'm also working on a childrens picture book. Think my job is done on that, I'm just looking for an artist.

Aside from this, I'm also working on a new detective show, but that's just thoughts bubbling away at the minute, though the first ten minutes are all in my head. There's also a few web shows that are done and dusted and just need a home.

Who knows what'll happen next?

2) How does my work differ from others of it's genre?

This is the question I've been dreading. How can you answer this without appearing a bit dickish?

Some people say writing is like breathing to them, and I totally get that, it's a compulsion, it is all encompassing over your whole life, it makes you feel alive. But I'm asthmatic so does that mean I struggle more than others with writing. Wow, this analogy went off on one pretty quick.

I feel my work is all very personal and hopefully my personality comes through in it. Most writers write in a personal way though, but all our personalities are different. I'm very influenced by music when writing, does that help answer this question?

I'm struggling here.

Maybe if I focus on the genre bit it might help.But then I don't really write in any one genre. I've got a romantic comedy feature that is based on a huge local event I remember from my childhood. When I write horror stuff, usually for Twisted Showcase, I find my best stuff digs deep into internal fears and emotions. And my TV specs, focus on family and relationships, again from a personal perspective. I try and pour whatever I've got onto the page. I also try to entertain too, don't worry, it's not all venting, but I do want my work to be honest. It's important in stuff I watch and listen to, so it has to be important in what I create.

I co write with Rhys Jones sometimes so have just text him to see if he can help with this answer, as I felt I was waffling. Is this cheating? Let's see what he says...


Waiting for his reply.

Received his reply, and it's quite complimentary so I'm going to add it here:

"Oh thanks, I have to answer the tough question, ha ha ha, you write about the tough areas of family, sex, mental illness. You deal with difficult subjects head on. So, I guess, you're pretty uncompromising."

I'll take that.

Right, I'm through the toughest question now. Onwards!

3) Why do I write what I do?

Oh shit! That one crept up on me. I sort of answered this in the previous question didn't I? No?

Actually I've got a better answer for this. Maybe even more pretentious than the last. It goes like this:

Stories are the most important thing in life. It's how we make sense of everything. Maybe it's the reason we're here, to tell stories. Humans are here to tell the story of the world. We are the 'in' for the audience. Themultitude of races out there watching us, waiting to invade, they know the story of existence because of our stories.

Why do we read books, watch films etc? Because there's things in there people found interesting, worth knowing, worth exploring. Every life is a separate story that you can populate with thrills, knowledge or cheesecake, and I think it's important to fill my life with stories about things I find important, which are all in the answer above, so I don't have to repeat it here.I'm off to write about cheesecakes.

4) How does my writing process work?

You're presuming it does, person who is asking this question, whoever you are. It does, but I don't know how. I despise routine so don't have any. I'll write early morning, late night, whenever really. Whenever I have time to write I'll try to, if after a few hours I'm finding it frustrating I'll give up for an hour and read or watch something, or dance like a dickhead to music in my front room, or in the summer when the weathers better I'll go for a walk. Then I'm back to it, staring at that screen.

My process has been different for each script, regarding how much I know going in. Sometimes I've done huge treatments, bibles, outlines, sometimes I've gone in blind. The only process which has stuck is the amount of work I do after the first draft. I rewrite and rewrite and rewrite, honing constantly, seeking out readers to help me make it even better, and rewrite again and again and again. Shame I don't do that with myblogs posts hey?

Anyway next week some brilliant, talented people take over on The Blog Tour. Here's a bit of info on them. Make sure you check out the answers over on those 2 blogs next week.

I pass this onto:

Lisa Holdsworth
Lisa won her first commission in 2001 on FAT FRIENDS. She was shortlisted for a Best New Writer BAFTA for her episode. She then joined the EMMERDALE writing team for three years before heading off to write for NEW TRICKS, winning the RTS Yorkshire Best Writer award for one of her episodes. She’s also written for WATERLOO ROAD, ROBIN HOOD and MIDSOMER MURDERS. She also writes for theatre and has several projects in development.

John Hunter
John Hunter is a writer, script editor and scriptreader for film, TV, theatre and multimedia based in Sheffield, UK. He has written for the brilliant Slung Low Theatre Company and lovely games company Team Cooper as well as receiving short film and multimedia commissions from Screen Yorkshire. He suffers from emotionalobesity and spends most of his rewriting disguising the fact he lives in a fantasy land of idealistic escapism. He hopes one day those sorts of scripts will be fashionable. Until then...

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