Red Rum

So what exactly are we doing here then?

Not sure, maybe it’s a writing exercise or an experiment.

You’re just struggling with whatever it is you’re supposed to be writing aren’t you?

On the contrary, I awoke this morning with the aim of making it to fifteen pages of the current script, I’ve just hit sixteen so I’m good for the day.

Why not just keep going?

I thought about that but it would mean I’d get to the end of today and realise I’d spent all day writing. I’m back in work tomorrow so I’d feel it about lunch time.

All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy?

Yeah, pretty much like that. Today was a good day to start the script proper because my wife and son are off down to visit the in laws for a few days so I’m on my own in the house. Well, I’m the only human anyway as I still have the cat here.

What’s the cat’s name?

Raul.

As in Spanish Raul, the footballer?

No, we got him as a result of somebody who worked for my Dad. She was moving in with her girlfriend who had a dog so she had to give up the cat. When he arrived at our house he still had his ‘equipment’ intact. He was at the back door wanting outside and I told my wife we couldn’t let him out because he’d impregnate half the neighbourhood. He was like that guy off the Irn Bru adverts.

Which guy?

The guy who says “Hello ladies, want to come to Raul’s house and make sandwiches?’.

Nope.

This guy!

Right, enough about the cat. What questions do you hate being asked when people find out you write?

Probably the usual ones like ‘where do you get your ideas from?’ and ‘have you written anything I might have seen?’.

Okay, so where do you get your ideas from?

Not you as well.

Just roll with it.

Alright fine. Pretty much everything I write is me attempting to recreate an episode of The Twilight Zone. I usually like strange stuff, the ordinary becoming the extraordinary. I’m currently trying to do all this whilst avoiding the usual science fiction markers.

What like?

Little green men and any character saying something along the lines of “We’re into the asteroid belt outside the planet Infidium’.

Have you written anything I might have seen?

Cheers for this.

Anytime.

I probably haven’t to be honest. Unless you were attending any student film screenings in Carlisle around the early part of the millenium or you’ve seen a film about a guy trying to make a robot version of himself to replace him at work at a film festival lately.

No, I didn’t see that.

Well that’s all I currently have. I’m working on more though, most of which are detailed in this blog.

I don’t really read it.

Not many people do. I think it’s just because it’s really hard to write something interesting about the writing process because for the most part it’s a complete grind. There’s a lot of looking at blank screens, going back, changing everything and then spending days worrying about it. It has all the hallmarks of a really private, internal thing which you’re trying to drag out into the light. Also, writing seems to be a thing most people believe they can’t do.

How do you mean?

Well, you’ll talk to some people and upon discovering what you do they’ll firstly regard you as some kind of alchemist. They think it’s impossible to take an idea out of nothing and make it into something. Then comes the inevitable “Oh I couldn’t do that” or “I’ve often thought about writing a book”.

You believe they should just get on with it?

Exactly. I reckon a lot of good writing is all about learning how to cope with bad writing. A whole ton of people will just sit on an idea because they don’t see any worth in it or because they can’t see past the blank screens or notepads in front of them. As a result the entire thing goes to waste. It’s all about just biting the bullet and going for it. The first few drafts will always be utter garbage but the key is to not go back. Make a mental note of the fact you’ll go back later and change stuff but for now it has to just exist.

As opposed to an idea?

Yeah, once you’ve got that then you can work from there but there’s a big difference between having characters, dialogue and locations floating around your head to it being down on a page. Quite often it feels like a massive weight has been lifted when I type ‘The End’.

Do you enjoy writing?

Mostly I do otherwise I wouldn’t be doing it. I like the problem solving stuff which is usually worth suffering the days of struggle for the eureka moment when it all comes together. Those moments are the best, reading back through something that flows right is amazing. I had the same attitude to video editing back in college, I liked taking a raw material and making it into a story. You’re pretty much performing an illusion, you’re suspending the audience’s disbelief. When it comes together it’s pretty magical. More people should write because it’s one of the best things you can do as a human.

Where do you usually write?

In an ideal world I’d have a room to go to but I’m currently sat on the breakfast bar in my kitchen with the back door open to let some air in. It’s been really hot lately.

I write here mostly.

I write here mostly.

So you’re finished writing for the day, what now?

Hoovering, cleaning my bathroom, getting dinner together and then the World Cup final.

The rock and roll lifestyle lives on.

Hey, you can’t beat a good bit of hoovering.

 

 

 

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