This is the face of a scriptwriter who knows he’s pretty much done and just needs to polish dialogue. Therefore, with this in mind, he has spent the evening watching WWE Extreme Rules.
There were also doughnuts left in the house.
I think, perhaps, just maybe I’m nearly ready with Order For Burning. When I say ‘ready’ I don’t mean for filming, I just mean for getting anybody out there who wants to to read it. The scene order seems fine, the dialogue might need a small bit of polish but it’s not the utter mess it was even a month ago.
It’ll no doubt get feedback from those who read it and it will change in ways I cannot anticipate right now but that’s the game plan. I know plenty of people who will hold on to scripts or stories, endlessly polishing and tweaking. This usually means the project never sees the light rendering little more than entertaining an audience of one.
Robotics was pitched once it was in third draft stage, I’m doing a similar thing with Order For Burning.
Today isn’t so much about writing, it’s more about editing. There’s still some overhanging parts of the old version of Order Of Burning sitting there waiting to be lobbed off but the extra scenes I need have all been written. It’s all in a mess currently though so here’s how today goes. Count this as a day in the life of an amateur script writer.
7:30am- Wake up and get a face wash and shower.
7:45am- Wake up my Son because he has to get to school.
7:48am- Continue trying to wake up my Son as he’s stuck the duvet over his head. We usually get this on school days.
7:50am- Make my Son breakfast (peanut butter on toast and a glass of milk) whilst listening to him go through the list of Marvel Infinity figures he wants next. His grandparent’s gave him £5 yesterday and, if he does well this week at school, he gets another £5 from us. With this £10 he can afford Green Goblin. Apparently I’ll have to pick this up during my lunchbreak tomorrow.
8:10am- Finally get him upstairs to get changed. He’s still busy talking so I end up helping him along otherwise this could take an hour.
8:15am- Pack his lunch and break. Minor moment of stress when we realise we’re out of Kit Kats, Jammy Dodgers are suitable substitute.
8:20am- “If they do Star Wars figures for Infinity soon Dad, who would you want?”. I’ve probably been asked this question three times in the last two weeks but it’s become part of his procedure. Yoda is the answer.
8:30am- Start walking up to school. More Star Wars talk.
8:45am- Drop him off and say goodbye. Announce it’s probably pizza for tea, get a high five.
8:50am- Do a bit of shopping on the walk back home. Greengrocers for apples (no strawberries as they haven’t been picked yet, told to come back later), bakers for bread and butchers for bacon. I also buy The Annandale Observer which is 85p, contains not a great deal of reading but is often worth it to see if anybody I knew at school has been arrested this week.
9:00am- Back home for breakfast and read of the paper. Somebody I knew at school has been arrested this week.
9:15am- Put a load of washing out on the line because, strangely for Scotland, it’s really sunny today.
9:30am- Start messing around with almost everything on the internet that isn’t based on writing, knowing that I have a load of editing to do.
10:00am- Switch on the radio to BBC6 Music. Catch the start of Lauren Laverne’s show. She opens with Weezer’s Hash Pipe, this is a good day.
10:15am- Start writing this blog entry as a way of ‘warming up’.
10:30am- Decide to make coffee.
10:40am- Finally start.
11;15am- Get distracted by a visitor.
12:15pm- An hour of running through the script and writing what each scene is supposed to achieve and what it actually does achieve at the moment.
12:20pm- Notice second load of washing has done, look out of window and see plenty of clouds now. Why Scotland? Why always do this?
12:21pm- Put it out anyway.
12:25pm- Wonder about getting something to eat. Remember I have this in the fridge.
I’m truly sorry if anybody French hates me for getting croissants from a can but they’re brilliant.
12:30pm- The sun is back out! My towels can command clouds!
12:45pm- A bit more editing which at the moment is mostly involving hand written notes whilst laptop is open. The smell of fresh croissant fills the house.
2:00pm- More scribbling, it’s actually not bad so far.
2:30pm- This comes on the radio…
So I have a dance around the room.
2:40pm- It reaches that difficult time when I know I’ve got to go and pick up my Son from school soon so getting involved with anything right now will mean it’s broken off for a short while.
2:41pm- Suddenly realise I seem to have one really long eyebrow hair over my left eye. Wonder where my wife’s tweezers are.
2:42pm- There they are.
2:43pm- Seriously how the hell do women pluck hairs like this in a bundle?
2:45pm- Get shoes on, get hoody on because the sun is out.
2:46pm- The sun has gone in, replaced by cloud and a cold wind coming in from the sea.
2:50pm- Leave the house, the rain starts to spit.
3:00pm- Arrive at school.
3:05pm- Bell rings.
3:07pm- Do the usual ‘the bell rang ages ago so where the hell is he?’ thing.
3:08pm- He appears, with only one shoe on.
3:09pm- Other shoe is put on foot.
3:20pm- After a brief stop for the boy’s traditional Friday after school chocolate bar we get home.
3:30pm- After getting changed he’s straight on the PS4 with Marvel Infinity. I cannot call it Disney Infinity as, to him, the word Disney is associated with princesses in pink dresses and other such ‘annoying stuff’.
4:00pm- I’m still editing whilst the Guardians of the Galaxy engage in a gun fight across the room.
5:20pm- Put aforementioned pizza in oven.
5:21pm- Write the words ‘This is all making sense so far’ in big letters halfway down the page of my notes. Hope this will not come back and bite me on the arse later.
6:00pm- Suppose I’d better clean up the kitchen and iron some shirts for work tomorrow.
7:00pm- That was actually more of a clean up than I anticipated.
7:05pm- Read back the next scene. Realise that it has a complete character u-turn from the last draft which has remained meaning IT MAKES NO SENSE AT ALL.
7:15pm- Do that thing when you spend a few seconds trying to scratch a mark off your computer screen before realising it’s a single full stop surviving the edit.
7:50pm- Probably a good time to run the boy’s bath.
8:10pm- The wife is home! Quick talk about how her day has gone.
8:15pm- Boy gets out of bath singing.
8:20pm- Still editing whilst Son plays more Marvel Infinity.
9:00pm- Get boy to bed after reading him a book based on Minecraft we managed to find in Tesco not long ago. It’s basically fanfic about a videogame.
9:03pm- Reminded about Green Goblin for the tenth time today, apparently ‘the world will end’ if I forget to pick him up tomorrow.
9:15pm- Boy leaping around all over the place.
9:30pm- Back downstairs for more scene cataloging.
10:00pm- Finished the scene list. Actually the order seems okay but there’s a chunk of the end that will need rewritten mainly because I was trying to balance far too many characters in the end and I’ve cut them down although some of them still actually have lines.
10:10pm- Decide to call this one a day.
10:20pm- Wonder if it’s too late to stick Grand Theft Auto 5 on.
10:21pm- Think it’s probably better I get to bed now and read for a bit rather than be up nearly all night conducting heist missions.
10:22pm- Wonder exactly who the hell will have read this far.
I’m nearly done.
Order For Burning’s main block of surgery is complete. The entire front end is rewritten and extra scenes put in. I now just need to rearrange the order and we can declare it ready for public consumption. I’ve been writing it for more than a year now. I’m calling that not bad.
The momentum builds, there’s still stuff to do but it feels better now.
Never give up.
The last two weeks or so have made me feel like a writer.
Let’s examine that a bit further.
There’s often a feeling I get that makes me think that writing is just a thing I do in the small hours. It’s the inbuilt reaction in me that putting words down on the page and forming them into some kind of story for the consumption of an audience is a sideline at best. There is nothing to see here, move on quickly. During a meeting with my friends of Mostly Ghostly a couple of weeks ago in Dumfries I started talking about Order For Burning and a couple of other bits I have lined up to move onto once the witches are done with. As I spoke I felt myself believing more in the stories, considering them something to work on and to craft. Essentially, they stopped being silly thoughts and turned into something more.
Coming back that evening I rewrote about five scenes of Burning, the next night another three and the night after that another two. Not long sessions by any means but small chips into the block of the project. Shaping the script up, to become the first feature film I’ll pitch to any great degree and keeping away from just sitting doing nothing constructive on it each night.
I spend a lot of time each day semi automated. My work has a set list of procedures that can apply to pretty much any situation. If Customer A has trouble with B then C may work if not try D. Writing isn’t automated though, at least it shouldn’t be. Over the last few years it’s been a case of trying to drop the automated bit when I get home.
I’m not athletic, I can’t really do anything practical, I’m probably too laid back to succeed in much, I suck at a lot of stuff but writing is the one thing I’m good at.
You want a story?
I’ll give you a story.
So I talked about writing and I discussed my ideas and this set me alight. I’ve done more in the last two weeks that the last three months combined. I’m aiming for Order For Burning to be in a readable state to the outside world by April 30th. Then I’ll pitch it and see what the response is whilst moving onward to the next thing on the list.
I am a writer.
I am a writer.