Saturday 14 – Sunday 15 January 2017
Aaaaahhhh, my new writing endeavour. My foray back into the world of scriptwriting. My current storytelling obsession. My . . . bloody, buggery, bollocksy, pain in the arse, giving me curry thing. Don’t get me wrong, I do love it. I really do. However, at this particular point in time, as you can read, I’m writing a blog post instead of tap, tap, tapping away at a script – episode number two, in fact. Why? I hear you ask . . . well, I didn’t actually hear you ask it, but I heard a voice in my head asking it on your behalf. See, I’m well into writing dialogue – to the point where I’m writing your dialogue so I can have a conversation with you. The trouble is, I’m writing a blog post instead of writing the script because I’ve bloody well smacked straight into problem number one.
Problem number one: So, I came up with this fantastic way to tell this part of the story. It’s brilliant, according to me, it really is. But. There’s always a but, isn’t there? But, in telling this part of the story, I’ve got myself stuck. I’ve already written it out three different ways, but none of them have it. Y’know, that lil thing that makes a scene or part of a story spark. It’s just not there. I know why it’s not there, but I can’t seem to find a way to get it and put it in the scene. I’ve typed the words, handwritten them, left it for a while and gone back to it, thought about them, scribbled down more words than I think would be needed to get the idea across, done a whole load of free-writing in the hope of slipping into the right stream of words for the character and the situation, and still nothing that I would be happy committing to script. I’ve even gone back and binge watched some Sally Wainwright shows to analyse the dialogue she’s written, and . . . and I’ve read the all the scripts for series one and two of Happy Valley, and the first episode of series one and two of Last Tango In Halifax, following on with my respect, admiration, and obsession with Sally Wainwright and Sarah Lancashire. I even managed to find the whole series of All The Small Things (starring Sarah Lancashire and Bryan Dick – yes, we’ve all laughed at poor Bryan’s name) online, and binge watched that as well. Still. Nothing.
At this point, I’m wondering if I’ve been too focussed on the delivery system of this section of the story, and if I haven’t given enough thought to the dialogue. That’s the only credible reason behind problem number one. Going by Sally Wainwright’s theory that there’s not really such a thing as writer’s block, that it is in fact lack of preparation and research, I clearly haven’t done enough research into this particular area. And to be completely honest, without giving anything away about my script idea, I’ve picked a difficult concept to work into a script. It’s an area that I don’t have any experience with, and it’s not something that is the sort of thing that one sits at a computer and Googles.
The other option I have is to sort of go method writing. Okay, I just made that up. Hey, I’m a Drama teacher by training, and method acting is a thing, so why can’t I have method writing? It would make sense. Do or experience whatever it is that I’m trying to write about. Yes, excellent idea except for one thing – if I go the method writing path, I’m going to end up somewhere I don’t want to be. I would think that not many people would want to be where my character needs to go, and where I would have to go should I method write the scene. Not an option for this particular problem.
Therefore, that leaves me with only one solution: to get into the head of the character I’m writing (which is what a writer will normally try to do, I would expect), and rip those words out any way I can. All fine in theory, but the lil sh!t of a character isn’t letting me in just yet. Well, not for this part of the story. Nope, she’s being temperamental and she’s shut me out. She won’t let me near those words. Apparently, I can have any other words I want, for any other scene, but these rather important words that will expose a rather important part of the story are off limits to me at this time. The issue I have with this is that in order to write the following scenes, I need to know where everyone is going to end up in the scene I’m currently stuck writing. Again, in my head I know where the characters will end up, but I need their words, their exact words to propel me into the following scenes.
So, I thought kicking out a blog post about not being able to wrangle the dialogue into place in a way that isn’t stereotypical or trite might assist me to redirect my thoughts and come to the idea from a new direction. On the other hand, it might not help at all. It might simply serve to distract me, and when I return to the dreaded scene that I can’t quite get to my liking, I’ll step straight back in at exactly the spot I’m at now. In order not to dwell on the fact that I can’t get this section how I want it, I’m thumping through this blog post instead, and of all the words that I really want to flow beautifully, it’s the words in this bloody post that are coming out of the floodgates without a hint of a struggle, the bastards.
It’s a funny thing to think about – someone who is trying to write being unable to find the right words. Notice I wrote ‘the right words’. I’ve got words for my character, but I don’t believe that they are the words that she would genuinely speak. They’re common, stereotypical, trite; they’re not her words. She’s young, but articulate, concise, clear, well-spoken. She doesn’t throw words around willy-nilly. She knows what she wants to say, and how she intends saying it. I know so much about this character and yet I’m struggling to get these specific words out of her and into the script.
Look, I know this post has probably been a complete bore to you, but I’m hoping beyond hope that it’s going to kick start the words that I know my character needs to say. And if I’ve written this post just right, you’ll be left wondering who is this character, what’s the story about, and what situation is so challenging that Danielle can’t write the words for the character? And, of course, the answers to those questions are: you’ll have to wait, I’ll let you know when I’m ready, maybe one day you’ll be able to watch it on the telly. Or not.
Nothing like leaving your audience hanging for the next instalment. 😉