Tuesday, 11 November 2008

Race Against Time

After having read Rachel’s and Lawrence’s current project list, I’m starting to seriously ponder two things:

a) In order to find the time, they have obviously made some sort of pact with the Great Satan himself (Noel Edmonds, in case you were wondering)

b) I am a lazy, unmotivated arse.

How do they do it? Jiggered if I know. Suffice to say, I’ve spent the last three months or so writing and rewriting my Red Planet entry. Even if it doesn’t get through the first cut, it’s something I want to keep working on (I’m even considering writing a second episode, fer chrissakes).

The timescale for this year’s Red Planet suited me quite well, as it happened – I rewrote the first ten pages about half a dozen times before I had something I was happy with, which I did in parallel with a rough first draft. By the time the deadline loomed, it was ready for a good kicking courtesy of Adrian Reynolds. To be fair, Adrian offered up more in the way of what he terms ‘coaching’ than a strict reader’s report which again, suited me just fine. A couple of Adrian’s suggestions really resonated, and I’ve used his sage words as fuel to inform a second draft, essentially a page one rewrite. Let’s face it, first drafts are crap: mine are always overwritten, chock full of exposition, static conversations and weird, jerky pacing. In any rewrite, I can usually zero in on these types of occurrences and start to pull apart and put back together scenes with a more focused eye. Now, at the end of the second draft (it’s taken about a month), I’ll go out again for another read with a different reader. Then another rewrite probably. And then it just might be bordering on the ‘OK’. You get the idea. Just as well I prefer rewriting to the grunt work of getting a first draft down on the page.

There we have it: four months work essentially. I’ve been tinkering with that treatment a little bit as well, but I’m not doing anything further on it until I get something in writing (an MOU would be nice, but I’m not holding my breath). But that’s another story...

So tell me guys (I’m looking at you, Rachel and Lawrence): how do you do it? Do you share some sort of fancy machine that somehow elongates time? If so, do you want to swap it for mine that seems to do exactly the opposite (on a trial basis, of course. I’ll let you have yours back if you ask nicely). ;-)

11 comments:

michellelipton said...

Have you considered giving up eating and sleeping?
Works for me. Sort of.
*thud*

potdoll said...

what does MOU stand for?

Rach said...

Eating and sleeping. What are those things? I've learnt to multi-task so can break up kid fights, stop cat killing gerbils and direct Dave's cooking while typing away.

Of course quantity doesn't always mean quality so maybe I'm just churning out garbage.

As to the time machine. Tried making one out of elastic bands, recycled printer paper and a kettle. However it would only take me back to the 80s so I scrapped it. Couldn't stand looking at mullets.

laurence timms said...

I just stay up late and write whenever the hell I can. Look, I'm writing now :) Everyone in the house is asleep, Alan Yentob is wittering on the telly and I'm meant to be writing software. But I'm writing words instead.

I can't stop thinking about stories. That's the problem.

I don't actually have any official 'writing' time set aside. It's just as an when. Chipping away, bit by bit. The quality of my writing probably suffers appallingly as a result but I've learned to cherish critical reviews.

Oh, and I did do a deal with Satan, but it was just for a used Mk.II Ford Capri. It still smells of sulphur and brimstone on long motorway hauls.

Adrian Reynolds said...

You can call my thing coaching or kicking. Whatever works I say;-) As for increasing productivity, I recommend this: http://lab.drwicked.com/writeordie.html

Chip Smith said...

Michelle: I like eating and sleeping too much to really consider giving either up at the moment. Perhaps the answer is to do both at the same time? ;-)

Pots: MOU is ‘Memorandum of Understanding’ – it’s a non-legally binding document that essentially states that Party A and Party B will work together as bezzie mates and won’t do anything to screw each other over. Even though there’s no legal comeback, it’s generally seen as bad form to go against whatever the MOU might state. It’s more of a comfort thing than anything else I guess – a ‘nice to have’ that at least shows both parties are serious about the subject matter...

Rach: the mullet is making a resurgence, apparently (stand up Mr Craig Revell-Horwood of Strictly D fame). Perhaps he used your time machine when you weren’t looking?

Lawrence: Ah, the Ford Capri – Satan’s chosen mode of transport – well, that said, not any more, as he sold it to you. I hear he gets the bus quite a lot these days...

Adrian: I think a combination of coaching and kicking works pretty well for me, i.e., “This is shite, but here’s how you make it better.” Your script report was excellent, as it happens. And thanks for the link – I’ll check it out now.

Stevyn Colgan said...

You have no time to waste on this meme I'm passing on. Read about it over at my blog.

Go on. It's only a little one.

potdoll said...

Ah, thanks for enlightening me.

Chip Smith said...

Stevyn: your meme's a good 'un, I'll have a crack at it tomorrow...

Pots: pleasure! For my next trick, I can bore you all with a lecture on copyright and intellectual property ;-)

adrian reynolds said...

I have cunningly edited your comments on the work I did with you into a glowing testimonial. Hope that's OK with you...

Chip Smith said...

No probs, Adrian - glad to be of assistance!