littlemissmandu

Word wright/Square Eyes/Procrastinator/Geek. Dudette at Reflector Films. 'Best Cheerleader' 1992. Eurasian Daisy Steiner.


Leave a comment

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.


1 Comment

Emma Coats (@lawnrocket) 22 Basic Rules of storytelling.

  1. You admire a character for trying more than for her or his successes.
  2. You gotta keep in mind what’s interesting to you as an audience, not what’s fun to do as a writer. They can be very different.
  3. Trying for theme is important, but you won’t see what the story is actually about till you’re at the end of it. Now rewrite.
  4. Once upon a time there was ___. Every day, ___. One day ___. Because of that, ___. Because of that, ___. Until finally ___.
  5. Simplify. Focus. Combine characters. Hop over detours. You’ll feel like you’re losing valuable stuff, but it sets you free.
  6. What is your character good at, comfortable with? Throw the polar opposite at them. Challenge them. How do they deal?
  7. Come up with your ending before you figure out your middle. Seriously. Endings are hard — get yours working up front.
  8. Finish your story, let go even if it’s not perfect. In an ideal world you have both, but move on. Do better next time.
  9. When you’re stuck, make a list of what wouldn’t happen next. Lots of times the material to get you unstuck will show up.
  10. Pull apart the stories you like. What you like in them is a part of you; you’ve got to recognize it before you can use it.
  11. Putting it on paper lets you start fixing it. If it stays in your head, a perfect idea, you’ll never share it with anyone.
  12. Discount the 1st thing that comes to mind. And the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th – get the obvious out of the way. Surprise yourself.
  13. Give your characters opinions. Passive/malleable might seem likable to you as you write, but it’s poison to the audience.
  14. Why must you tell this story? What’s the belief burning within you that your story feeds off of? That’s the heart of it.
  15. If you were your character, in this situation, how would you feel? Honesty lends credibility to unbelievable situations.
  16. What are the stakes? Give us reason to root for the character. What happens if they don’t succeed? Stack the odds against.
  17. No work is ever wasted. If it’s not working, let go and move on — it’ll come back around to be useful later.
  18. You have to know yourself: the difference between doing your best & fussing. Story is testing, not refining.
  19. Coincidences to get characters into trouble are great; coincidences to get them out of it are cheating.
  20. Exercise: take the building blocks of a movie you dislike. How d’you rearrange them into what you DO like?
  21. You gotta identify with your situation/characters, can’t just write ‘cool’. What would make you act that way?
  22. What’s the essence of your story? [The] most economical telling of it? If you know that, you can build out from there.

 

Twitter | Stephan Bugaj (www.bugaj.com) has analysed these 22 basic rules in a Bugaj’s free eBook.


Leave a comment

Writing is…

Writing is hard work.

I get asked when I first started writing. I used to think it was a breakthrough at uni. It wasn’t. I ploughed through my memory: I wrote my first illustrated novella at 6 about a dinosaur and the impending birth of her baby brother. I also wrote a French comic strip at 9.

Writing is found in different forms.

I spent countless hours daydreaming and creating worlds and dialogue for people I didn’t know but kinda, sorta did.

Writing is not always on paper.

I wrote countless scraps of stories that I deemed gobshite and threw away (as that was back in the day when we all worked with pen & paper as standard). I’ve written countless poems and songs; I am a writer. I just don’t feel like it. I don’t feel like it because I don’t think I’m very good so I get frightened.

Writing is scary.

The best writing I know is a process whereby you lay out your deepest, darkest thoughts and feelings about the world and hand them over for someone else to interrogate.

Writing is feeling naked.

I sat down with a dramaturg today and told him about me, my thoughts and my experiences.

Writing is cathartic.

In there, somewhere amongst the scribbles and the illegible scrawls, is the dog whistle that will help me unlock the play I’ve been working on for almost two years now. I feel like I’m getting closer to the seed of the play; I’m also getting closer to working out who I am as a writer.

Writing is a journey.

I currently have several project on the go so I need to focus. When an idea or a spark comes to mind, I need to start noting it down and putting it to one side, not go off on a tangent.

Writing is a war with many battles.

There is no magic secret to writing. It is a massive arseache at times. It has to become habitual for me and I need to start writing every day, without fail, but I wouldn’t have it any other way and there’s only one way to get better:

Writing is writing, and rewriting.


Leave a comment

May 2014 Salon

GAP Salon

The next meeting of the GAP Salon will take place on Tuesday, 13 May at 6:30PM.

An online discussion forum and details of future meetings can be found at the GAP Salon Facebook groupPlease join the group or email us for location details.

The GAP Salon (Gender and Performance) aims to connect, sustain, and inspire a community of artists and advocates working for gender equality. We facilitate conversations within this collective and support initiatives that come from GAP Salon members.

These initiatives so far have included performance projects like Bite The Apple and a co-hosted WOW Party at the Southbank Centre’s Women of the World Festival, as well as group theatre trips to see gender-conscious plays around London. What’s next? Come and propose an idea.

View original post


Leave a comment

The Racial Pecking Order in British Theatre and TV

Thoughts from @fmccomplex writer @danielfyork on the pecking order of ethnic minority actors in UK…

Media Diversified

Structural Inequality In UK Theatre & TV

byDaniel York

I’ve been reading a book recently by the American sociologist David T. Wellman with the frankly terrifying title Portraits Of White Racism. I say terrifying because it conjures all kinds of images of Aryan skinhead fascists with big boots and arm-bands. I find myself hiding the lurid green cover of the book so people won’t see it when I’m reading it on the tube.

In fact the book isn’t about skinhead fascists at all. Rather its premise is to refute the popular notion that all “racism” is born of ignorant prejudice. Instead Wellman’s subject is

culturally sanctioned strategies for defending social advantage based on race”.

Of course the very word “racism” is now so incendiary it actually seems to have become worse to call someone a racist than actually be one. But leaving aside Wellman’s terminology there…

View original post 1,447 more words


Leave a comment

Nothing Like a Good News Week at ALL…oof

Gotta love the Fairy Princess…

fairyprincessdiaries

The Fairy Princess is pleased to announce that she will be Co-Hosting the charity event, CELEBRITY DOODLES, which is held annually in Palm Springs, and benefits Desert AIDS Project on APRIL 5th, 2014.

Here is the Doodle I did for them 2 years ago –

The Fairy Princess loves Palm Springs, and she is thrilled to have been asked – she began her love affair with Palm Springs 4 years ago with the SPARKLE Concerts produced by Scott Nevins and Mark Jones, and has made many wonderful friends and had a brilliant time each and every time, so – thank you Doodles for asking, see you in April!

The Fairy Princess has not been blogging that much, because well, everything has been depressing, right?

The last few weeks, in terms of the news, have been truly, truly awful – there’s people being attacked in Russia because of the way…

View original post 1,049 more words


Leave a comment

The Fu Manchu Complex

Theatrical Geographies

The Fu Manchu Complex by Daniel York at the Ovalhouse in London: the first full staging of a brand spanking new British East Asian play for how long? (I think 5 years since Yellow Earth Theatre’s Running the Silk Road). I’ve been waiting – watching various readings, seeing the short plays and now voila! Bona fide production! Hurrah! Even if you don’t read any more of what I have to say: go see it! It’s really good fun!

The Fu Manchu Complex is a satire on incredibly persistent stereotypes of the Chinese – stereotypes that permeate society, attaching themselves to anyone of British East Asian descent, and indeed, to most stories about contemporary China. Dr Fu Manchu is the greatest “Oriental” villain ever created: sinister, lithe, ruthless, cunning, slipppery, intelligent, the mastermind criminal of Sax Rohmer’s imagination. In the novels Nayland Smith and Dr Petrie are constantly thwarted by…

View original post 1,495 more words