Passive present

Set to editing Steampunk Assassins this weekend - actually overhauling the whole thing instead of tweaking the bits I hated most. And I realised that I'd written most of the thing in present progressive e.g. Edward is writing a load of nonsense at his desk. When I did use a simple present, I usually followed it with a 'then': Edward runs to the mast, then climbs it. Also, a lot of things happened simultaneously: Edward turns, as the wind catches his coat and billows it behind him like a big black cloud. Irritatingly, Act One took about two hours to trawl through and getting to the midpoint took another two hours. I'm not convinced some of these scenes took this long to write in the first place! Editing sucks. In other news, The Bitter Script Reader has collected the final scripts from the Round Robin writing project. He will be showcasing them on his blog in the coming days - my segment is in the...
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Square One

After all the pressure of competition deadlines over the past few months, I've gone back to the specs. Having finally transferred all my work to Celtx (even if I haven't resolved all my formatting issues quite yet), I've set Steampunk Assassins and Military Monster down to rest for another week. I've also actually written an outline for the Asylum pilot, because stumbling around Military Monster led to some bad creative decisions and a lot of words I had to unwrite and I like to dance to some kind of beat. I have another long train journey tomorrow, so hopefully I'll drum something out and flesh out my characters. Then, for the journey back, I'm going to pick up Steampunk Assassins and tear that thing to pieces. I really need to learn to love editing - writing is rewriting, after all. ...
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Competition short shorts

I was a hyperactive child. This should surprise absolute no one who's seen the list of projects I've been "working on" this year. When it comes right down to it, I don't have a single finished, polished script. This is a Very Bad Thing. However, I am determined that Steampunk Assassins looks good by Christmas. Preferably, the Military Monster pilot should also be screen-ready. But...these little short-short competitions keep distracting me! First, there was London Screenwriters Festival Short. That one is a day away from readiness and the deadline is Friday. Then, Kulvinder Gill's post about October Opportunities drew my attention to Crash Pad - take a news story, write five pages with two characters, submit by Monday 18th October. And now Kid In The Front Row Screenwriting Competition 2010. Which, on the surface, looks amazing but the limitations on the thing are crazy! There are named characters, named locations and a line of dialogue to include. And the deadline is Thursday 21st October. Meanwhile, my other...
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Dialogue is drama?

I've previously waxed lyrical about Aaron Sorkin's dialogue and why I think it's the best thing since sliced bread. Scott of 'Go Into The Story' quoted Mr Sorkin earlier: “I’m really weak when it comes to plot," he says bluntly—a startling self-assessment from the creator of three television series. “With nothing to stop me, I’ll write pages and pages of snappy dialogue that don’t add up to anything. So I need big things to help my characters—a really strong intention and a really strong obstacle. Once I have those, I feel I can write.” Oops? I do love a good bit of dialogue. The overwhelming criticism on the early drafts of Steampunk Assassins was 'omgwtfbbq, why so much talking?!'. And that is my weakness - probably in part due to my love of the work of the aforementioned Aaron. My director told me to cut out every second line of dialogue. And, amazingly, I found myself plucking out reams of pointless conversation, ditching conversations...
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The summer love affair

While reading TBSR's throughts on this summer in movies, two things struck me: 1) Scott Pilgrim is a damn fine film, but, apparently, only to geeks and gamers? and 2) Inception ruled all. And that film? Took Christopher Nolan TEN YEARS! Ten years while he was doing other stuff and making other people's work (rather well, it must be said), but it took him ten years to perfect, before he was happy to make that film. How many of the other "hits" of the summer can say that? Arguably, Toy Story 3 was biding its time for ten years, waiting for its audience to reach maximum nostalgia, but we are all about the now. My Steampunk Assassins script, in its first planning stages, originated on an exotic holiday in 2004. It got its first screenplay draft in 2008 and it was only this year that I actually dragged it together into a workable plot, let alone refining the product into something worthwhile. I don't think we should be...
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It all started when…

I'm very privileged to have been tagged by the lovely Laurence, so I will share with you the answer to this burning question: How did I get started on screenwriting? I've loved writing since I was a child. I used to utilise my "news" exercise book to tell colourful stories about finding crocodiles on the beach and robbers invading our house. I wrote my first novel as a pre-teen and it was shamefully All About Me - and my friends and crush and love rival. Somewhat hilariously, said crush and I became good friends and he is known on this blog affectionately as my director. I was peripherally involved in To Swim With Angels, which was a best-forgotten first foray into the film world, where my main role was peacemaker and herder of extras. I was also on the sidelines during the development of Zomblies, including a memorable script draft where I demanded an increase in female ass-kickery, as is my wont. This is...
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Everything old is new again

I have successfully moved across Wales - go me! New job officially gets going next week, and while it's going to seriously cut into my writing time, it also pays pretty well. Still, like all amateurs, one day I dream of going pro. However, I take Michelle Lipton's caution that it might not all be hearts and roses when I get there. I signed up to The Bitter Script Reader's collaborative writing project. I think the last time I did something like this was at a sleepover when I was a teenager and we were trying to plan a rom-com-esque date for two oddly-named characters on a concertina piece of paper. I'm the third writer in Team Chynna, so I should receive my portion of the assignment mid-late August. In another piece of nostalgia, I completely agree with Laurence's ravings about Sherlock. I want to be that writer. I'm going to pick up some of my old projects now that the Red Planet Prize...
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Patchwork Post

I'm back from my holiday in sunny Italy - and it's raining and overcast and generally homely, which is nice. I do like it when the weather puts on a homecoming parade. However, this does mean I've been parted from my beloved laptop and my affair with Space Precinct for a week. This would mean a kick in the nads for my Red Planet Prize screenplay were it not for the fact that I boarded a train today - and therefore knocked out twelve pages. What is it about trains that makes me so productive? I need to build my own railway just to do some work. Projects are ticking over. Steampunk Assassins and Old!Robin Hood are with my director, poolside, and I'm musing over resurrecting a complicated novel with new people, culture and language that's been simmering on the hard drive for a couple of years. We'll call it Overambitious Island. In other news, Ada Lovelace is my heroine, being a queer Christian...
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Which classic author are you?

Today, I have discovered Hark, a vagrant (via laurencetimms). Surfing through a few on random, I found this pair that sum up my life right now. In this one, I'm Verne and my partner is Poe. BALLOONS! And yet here, I'm Wells. My Steampunk Assassins script is technically possible, but the Military Monster pilot is completely scientifically implausible. But BLUEPRINTS are BORING! (I was trying to make social metaphors.) Right, enough writing procrastination - go science!...
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