The Writing Journal #50

Before I start on the Writing Journal proper this week, I would like to take a moment to ask a favour of you, my dear and esteemed readers, to help with one of my projects that could do with a little boost in the weeks ahead.

Poor Uncle Dave has had a wonderful start to its life as an audiobook series, with some great and generous feedback from a dedicated group of listeners both at home in the UK, and as far afield as places like the US and New Zealand! This response has inspired me to keep going with the project, and a new series of stories is currently in the works, but as I write the difficult second album, it would mean the world to me for this early initial momentum to continue so that when those new stories are ready, they can hopefully ride that wave to even bigger and better things down the road.

If you have a few spare minutes of a day and are looking for an easy-going escape from the trials of the modern world (let’s face it, there are plenty of them out there right now!), then please consider giving one of our stories a listen on Spotify, Apple Podcasts or Stitcher. My ultimate goal is to have 1,000 listens by the end of the year, but the next target before that is 500 (we’re only 52 away from that, so seems like a more realistic target to begin with!). Thank you so much, and I hope you all enjoy!

Target Number 1: Spend a minimum of 20 hours editing the novel

After the disappointment of not meeting the hours for last month, I wanted to make a good start to October and feel like I’ve done that with 4hrs 22mins on the clock, especially as the feature took more of my attention than I had perhaps anticipated (for reasons I’ll elaborate on later).

The other good thing to come from the novel this week has been that this forward momentum has appeared on the page as well as the clock. When I first sat down to this editing process, I thought, perhaps naively, that it would move at a similar pace to the editing process for a screenplay, and would simply be a case of streamlining the structure and adding/subtracting details where narratively necessary. That hasn’t been the case at all though, and if anything, the process has been more similar to starting from scratch, such are the differences between the two drafts. Looking back over that first draft, it was much more akin to a screenplay, in that it has the narrative drive and plot points that keep a visual story moving forward, but lacks the depth of detail in its descriptions that allow a reading audience to imagine the world for themselves. The first few chapters of this second draft have perhaps been more about getting that descriptive eye back in again, and whilst there will no doubt be more slow patches to wade through, I feel more comfortable with it now which should hopefully translate to swifter, more natural progress in the weeks to come.

Target Number 2: Complete the visual mood-board for the feature film.

It’s been a process of trial and error for the visual mood-board as I’ve been trying to figure out what it is exactly that I want it to achieve. At first, I thought it would be a visual walkthrough of the story-world to fill in the background details that can’t naturally be covered in the script itself, but as I tried to put that together it didn’t seem to gel in the way I hoped it would. It became too wordy and bogged down in explanations that were in no way visual. I then played with cutting the words entirely and going on the narrative journey of the film with pictures rather than words, but again that didn’t seem right. I was starting to get quite frustrated with it towards the middle of the week, and it seemed to be invading every minute of working time I had (hence why the novel was being pushed further down the pecking order). But at the end of the week, I stumbled upon a new approach that I think could be the way to move forward.

In researching the rapidly evolving world of tech that is propelling us into the future, it quickly became apparent that the fictional future I envisaged in the story is actually not as far away and outlandish as I had perhaps anticipated when I first came up with the idea a couple of years ago. Therefore, what started out as a human story in a high-concept world could actually turn out to be a more realistic warning about a not-so-distant future, making the script more current and relevant to audiences within the next few years. Demonstrating this relevancy therefore seems like a strong basis for the mood-board moving forward, whilst leaving the script/treatment to do the rest of the talking in their usual way.

A good start to October then, with some clear targets to aim for in the weeks ahead. Long may that continue!

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