Monday, September 25, 2006

We're all going on a busman's holiday

Been going at it hammer and tongs to finish my Warhammer novel before starting year two of my screenwriting MA. By the end of play Friday I'd clocked up 57,500 words and the bodies have started hitting the floor. From here to the end is a war of attrition and terror for my heroes [and, inevitably, anti-heroes]. This week I've got three writing days, the introductory day for the MA, and another writing day. The coming weekend will be something of a write-off, with the house crammed by visitors. Hopefully get back to work on Monday with Thursday October 5th as my deadline to deliver the manuscript. It's gonna be a push, but I'm well past halfway now and it's all downhill from here.

So what did I do this weekend past? To give myself a break from the novel I've been writing an issue of The Phantom for Egmont Sweden. The plot was supplied to me by the editorial team but I couldn't get happy with certain elements of it. As a consequence I'd put off writing the script for several months, until my subconscious could figure out a solution. That arrived a few weeks back, like a bolt from the blue. I called the editor and made sure he was happy with what I planned to do [always, always, always check with your script's editor before going off piste]. Then it was simply finding the time and energy to tackle replotting the story from scratch.

That was supposed to be Saturday's job, but life got in the way. I did spend two hours re-reading all the reference material I'd previously gathered - the plot for Verdi's Aida, the life of Gaston Leroux, facts about the Paris Catacombs, the Franco-Prussian war, the Pasteur Institute, pyramid power and Geroge du Maurier's Trilby. Then I decided upon a dual plot story structure, opting for two antagonists rather than the single enemy usually found in Phantom stories.

Sunday afternnon and evening was set aside for scripting. My goal was to get the whole story written, but first I needed to write a new plot synopsis that pulled together all the elements I wanted to include. That ran to four sides and more than 2000 words. By then it was four in the afternoon and I still hadn't started the script. Got the first 35 panels down, before stopping to cook and eat tea. Back to work and got to panel 141 by ten pm when I stopped to wind down before bed. Four thousand words down, a third of the script still to write this morning.

Got up at six, went running for twenty minutes before dawn, ate breakfast, read newspaper, time to blog and a quick surf of my favourite sites. All things being equal, I'll start back in on the Phantom script at nine, get it finished and sent away before lunch. Then it's back to the Warhammer universe. I'm not going to get my 6000 words done on the novel today, but I've got to get it restarted. Deadlines loom. Right now, I'm quite looking forward to October 9th, when I start a research week without the black shadow of deadlines at my shoulder. Shame that's two weeks away.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

October 9th also happens to be the due date for my first child. I wish I could think of some witty writing analogy to draw, but I can't.

I very much enjoy your blog, Dave. Also looking forwrd to picking up Thrill Power Overload. That's gonna be a good read.

Keep up the good work.

Matthew B