Friday, 25 September 2015

Pondering on ways of writing and the influence of comedy

Rough notes for 'Austin Stapley'.
 I don't mind sharing this as it won't mean much
to you, but it does to me. This is only one
half  anyway.
While uploading the second episode of my online soap I noticed something strange. Before I cut and paste from my Word document, I take one last read through for any errors or wording I want to change. It's like I am looking at it for the first time and I find things (this morning there was a typo), like a word I'd prefer to use. I hope this doesn't mean I should have done further edits, but no I am not worried, particularly, I am excited. I am re-living the whole story and being with my characters again is like coming home. Writing this taught me a lot about planning. On the whole I worked out what was to happen in each episode a few ahead, but not by much because I didn't want a rigid structure. Often I will think things will go one way and then suddenly a character will say I want to go this way. Sometimes I had complete light bulb moments and connections I'd not even realised where there. The only real rules I had was to keep each episode within an approximate word count (1,200 - 1,600) because I don't like reading long stuff online, I'm much more a book person, and how many episodes it would run to. I also tried to keep the tension going by quick-ish scene changes.

When I first began to write it, I mainly wanted it to be fun. The serious stuff came later, and I had to edit earlier episodes to make sure it was a natural progression. My way of writing certainly seems to be an idea first, write the first chapter, or some piece in my head that needs to be set down. After a while I realise I am going nowhere! This is when the planning comes in - notes, timelines, back history, character profiles, research. Once I have enough rough stuff I continue writing. But it never ends there because other things crop up, new characters, something I want to write about which needs researching (if I have no personal knowledge).

At present I am writing a series of short chapters on Scriggler with a working title of The Adventures of Austin Stapley. This is a piece of humorous writing which started as whole scenes in my head one night when I couldn't sleep. I got as far as Chapter 5 and then I left it to concentrate on other things. I came back and couldn't see a way forward. So, yesterday I began my planning. It's a rough outline, subject to change and order. These are mere outline notes. I have only published two chapters on Scriggler so far. I want to keep a few chapters ahead because once on I cannot edit again! Not on there anyway. It is a working draft and far more immediate than the year it took me to write and edit the online soap. There is no way I could have put that up as I did it!

Writing is still a learning curve as discover new or easier ways to work, but I've always been imagination first, the rest later. Maybe that will change in time, who knows. I am not sure that I could ever write something totally serious. Humour is in my blood (I blame my Dad), I see the funny side in most things (which my Dad did). Looking at comedy my favourite TV programmes are the silly but great comedies - Dad's Army, Blackadder, Monty Python, 'Allo 'Allo. I love the humour in Doc Martin (I was beside myself on Monday when I watched) and I love Coronation Street for the same reason. It has serious issues but humour is never far away. I love reading the serious stuff, but I'm not sure if I could write it.

No comments:

Post a Comment