Monday, 23 June 2014

What I've been doing since my last post!

The heading for this post sounds like one of those school writing assignments on 'what I did on my holidays'. Well, we never went abroad - Isle of Wight virtually every year! Not that I'm knocking it but I couldn't face going there for many years afterwards. Still in family tradition we did take the kids there one year....only one year! And what I did on my school summer holidays included using my imagination to fill up the days. For example I drew up what today one might call a sort of fantasy football game which is why from time to time I look to see what Hartlepool are doing (sadly still in the same division I believe). I also had a brief spell drawing clothes, thinking I was a fashion designer. Now anyone who knows me will laugh their socks off at this because I can barely thread a needle and have to work up to sewing a button back on. In fact after having to sew buttons on my dressing gown several times I could face it no more. I waited until there was two buttons left hanging and then went out and bought a new one......without buttons!

As usual I am moving away from my subject. The last time I wrote I said I was taking a break. The break is really from courses, which I have done rather a lot of lately (and I've still not finished the final one). I was looking at some of my other stories, looking for something I could adapt for a flash fiction entry and then found a site running a Found Poem competition. I love writing found poems and set about composing one and then looked at my old serial idea. Actually, it is more a soap which I'd love to run online. I printed off the four episodes and hunted down the roughed out profiles and seriously began thinking about profiling with pictures. This came up in the online course Start Writing Fiction......about sourcing pictures for characters and I'd always wanted to do it. So I went out an bought a magazine and a Saturday paper with obligatory bundles on magazines they come with and set to looking for suitable pictures for my characters. I wanted ordinary people, not celebs, because though no one would probably recognise them from my descriptions, I would and it would put me off.

One problem with writing something on the scale of a soap is that you have a lot of characters but I did find almost enough for my needs. I cut them out, wrote their character names and then on my newly roughed out (printed) profile sheet I began adding bits of information. I also looked through what I had written of the story to see if there was anything else useful to add, which there was.

I was actually up at 4.30am this morning and worked on my profiles and editing for the four 'episodes' for four hours -  time flew! I have a hard back book where I will stick my pictures and write out a profile for each character. The course I took offered a website link (actually it might have been a link posted by one of the other students) which had a comprehensive sheet for profiling and I might use that, at least part of it. That was the good thing about the course - all the links and advice. The really useful stuff I copied and pasted into a word document so I can refer to it when I need.

One thing that has become evident from profiling with pictures is that descriptions (always something I struggle with) has become easier and I have begun to bond with my characters! Not only that but now I have matched couples, families and included some family history potential new stories are emerging. One of the reasons I gave up with this project was because I was running out of steam. Suddenly my head is filled with ideas and new characters. I've even thought about writing short snatches of ideas down ready to fit them in when I need them.

I realise that I have left my novel (at about 30,000 words) and although my next scene is there in my head I've not been back to it. I'm thinking that I should profile these characters properly. I have done lots of profiling already but not with pictures. This might help in the long run.

My main worry with the resurrected project is whether it will work in the form I am writing it. As I said it is like a soap so written more direct and the scenes are short, often punchy. There is humour (I do not want it to be a depressing EastEnders soap!) and a play on names/occupations which is left over from my very first idea of writing it as a comedy! I have changes some names but kept some. I wonder about this. All my doubts creep in as I still feel very raw around the edges in writing stories. I think I might run it past a friend of mine who writes mainly stories and has taken courses in script writing and writing for radio to get her take on it. The pieces I am writing are still in novel form as it isn't a play, it's something in between maybe. It would just be nice to get another pair of eyes on it. At the end of the day I write for myself and the idea of writing it for online view also poses problems. Will anyone read it? I'd have to work a long way ahead. How many episodes do I write? Can I maintain it? Is the writing any good? Will it actually work as it is? How frequently do I post? Am I mad? Ah!

All these things are going around in my head but I must admit the characters and their stories are overtaking those thoughts.

I'll let you know what decisions I come to but if you have any thoughts or advice do comment.  Meanwhile I am also writing and editing poetry. A good phase. Hope it lasts!

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