Ploughing forth with Order For Burning now, the aim of having draft one done by Christmas is alive even though I may have to be writing on Christmas Eve to get there.
I’ve ventured very much off track for the middle section only now really returning to the plan for the ending. Even now I’m adding bits to the story based on what I reckon each character would do. The part I finished tonight will either stay as a fantastic set piece or be dumped quickly.
I have Agnes, the ‘leader’ of the women imprisoned currently, volunteering herself as the one Jack (our witch hunter) tortures in order for a confession. She actually swaps places with another woman to save her further pain. This is on the condition Jack does the procedure himself, Agnes has noticed he doesn’t like getting his hands dirty and calls him on it. She still does not confess.
This makes Jack incredibly angry, a woman has never matched him before. He leaves Agnes in prison and goes to her family home to find her husband David there. Jack tries to convince David to confess to his wife being a witch but he refuses. Upon getting out of the house and, with David inside, Jack sets the building alight. He’s going to go on and suggest this was the Devil’s attempt at covering his tracks.
It’s a huge liberty to take with history, it’s a stab at putting a parallel of the house fire and the flames which will engulf the unfortunate women in the end and it would cost a lot to film. It stays for now however, until something better comes along.
I’ve been thinking about doing articles and/or podcasts with other writers. Just general chit chat about how you go about the process, what success you’ve had and how you came to writing scripts or stories. Anybody interested at all?
It’s been a long six weeks.
Many months ago now I sat with Kathleen and John of Mostly Ghostly and proclaimed with some confidence that I could have a 90 minute script for Order For Burning up and running in a month and a half. I was basing that assumption on the fact that the story was already there and that history had given me my ending before I’d even put fingers to keyboard. There was to be no juncture in which I would be stuck, I would simply be able to find out how events panned out in real life before pressing on with my Get Out Of Jail free card. I’d be done and dusted in no time.
It has not been the case.
If anything, conforming to history has proved even harder. If I was writing something completely fictional I’d have free reign to just make something up if I ran into a problem. Anything would work as long as I made it do so. With this project however I’m forever asking myself questions like ‘Is this actually possible in 1659?’ and needing to find an answer to get around the troubled sections.
A fine example are the trials themselves. When I hear the word ‘trial’ I’m imagining a court of law with a guy in a wig and banging a gavel on a podium whilst shouting ‘Order!’. I’m aware it was probably nothing like this at all back then but am unsure as to what to replace it with. These are the parts I’m writing whilst squirming, knowing that they are truly awful.
Also, I’m trying to make the film about the struggle of the women involved but during this first draft they very much seem to be taking a back seat to the battle between the community and religion. On that note also, bar a witch hunting man determined the put the blaze on anybody who moves the wrong way, there’s not much to give a more human side to the religion side of things anyway.
So there we go, I’m plugging away and writing junk desperate to get ‘The End’ written on draft one by Christmas. Part of the problem has also been getting the motivation to write it when I know it’s currently just going through motions and reading horribly when I check it back. Having something to work with will be invaluable however.