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First draft word vomit…

I recently met with someone who admired my bravery in pursuing writing.

They’ve known me since I was a small child and told me I’d always been writing. (They told me about things I don’t even remember writing.) They told me that they had wanted to be a writer when they were younger and still wish they could. When I asked what stopped them, they said everything they write is rubbish or seems trite.

I got news for you: most of first drafts are awful. It’s word vomit…

Here’s the good news: that’s okay!

You’ve got the ideas on paper or out of your head and in front of you. The more the merrier. That way you can work out what sounds good, what doesn’t sound good, what works and what doesn’t work. Just persevere and get it out.

That’s not to say it should all stay in the final draft. Hell no! sayeth I. But you’ve got out everything that’s been buzzing around in your head, you’ve laid the foundations on which you can build something amazing.

I recently completed a first draft of a sitcom. It was a sleep-deprived splurge of everything that had whizzed around my brain since I started thinking about it last year. Last year it was about a bunch of middle-aged men. Then I realised that patriarchy courses through my veins but I had a choice to write the same ol’ stories or write the stories I wanted to see. It’s now a female-centric sitcom.

The minute I hit send, the flaws came flooding in and the desire to consign it to the trash increased. I didn’t though. I didn’t do it because I’ve been talking about it for so long I have friends who want to read it so I can’t just archive it like I have with everything else. It’s time for me to be brave. To step up to the plate. To be the writer I know I can be. Without the wibbling.

I’ve got some feedback from an independent script editor so I’m going to take a break, take a step away, and go back to it next week.

There’s another project I’m working on for theatre to occupy my brain. I spent the entire day yesterday trawling through my research pile. I say pile because that’s what it is. It’s a pile of clippings, photos, postcards, scraps of paper, scraps of scenes and dialogue. I’ve found a lots of things I’d forgotten about. It was wonderful to go through it and rediscover gems, not to mention a rather cathartic tidy-up! So I think I have a direction to head in with a project two. I’m going to spend the rest of the weekend writing more scraps of dialogue, more word-vomit and a little digging through my collection of scraps and see what emerges.

It’s not that I think I’m a better writer than anyone else or that I might make a decent living from writing – far from it – I just have stories I want to tell.

With thanks to Half & Half


On the 2nd day of December, my blog post said to you…

Today is a pyjamas and movies sort of day.
What sort of  movies can I watch in the name of research?

I’ve also started reading a piece of research on mixed-raced relationships. Now this is actually real research! When I finally got an idea I thought I could run with, I got in contact with a couple of professors. One was particularly helpful, Dr Chamion Caballero (Research Fellow at London South Bank University), and sent me his own chapter from the book on International Perspectives on Racial and Ethnic Mixedness and Mixing. Another person who has been incredibly helpful is Yvonne whose website, Half & Half, is the basis of Muddy Dragons, a compelling and largely untold story.

With thanks to Half & HalfI am equally fascinating and constricted with this research. I find it interesting but I also acknowledge that it is someone’s life. And to that, I want to do justice. But how? There is a point where I will have to take that little thing called Artistic Licence but with someone’s story. And I don’t know how to do that. Perhaps I am just using this as an excuse to get down to business. Perhaps I need to let go of the facts and run with the story and hope that Yvonne and her fellow mixed-raced community can forgive any errors or omissions in favour of the story.

Any advice?