Sunday, July 01, 2007

Sorry, David can't come out to play today

Lots of people are going to lots of exciting places in the next week or two. The Cheltenham Screenwriters' Festival opens with two days for newbies on Tuesday and Wednesday, followed by two days of broader industry events, all in the gorgeous surroundings of - you guessed it - Cheltenham. I'd love to go but it'll have to wait until next year when I'm feeling a little more flush. One or two exciting initiatives and opportunities will be announced at the festival, so that's something.

Congratulations to Piers, Paul and all the other scribes who got invited to London for BBC Writers' Academy workshop on July 9 and 10. For anyone near London who didn't make the cut, Tony Jordan is talking in a Face2Face interview at the Royal Court Theatre on Wednesday July 11 from 5.15pm. Tickets are free, seats available on a first come, first served basis. Jordan's had a fascinating career and will probably be talking about a new initiative being cooked up by his Red Planet Pictures production company.

Me, I'm not going anywhere much in the next few weeks. I've had my holiday for the year and now it's time to work. Fingers crossed I'll get the contracts for my 19th novel soon. Got a massive interview with Alan Grant to transcribe and turn into a multi-part feature. Got a fistful of reviews to write for a different magazine, and more interview features to arrange. Some more comic strip adventures to write. A non-fiction book proposal to research and write.

And the not inconsiderable matter of my final MA Screenwriting course project to progress. Have written next to nothing about this for more than a week, but it's been buzzing away at the back of my brain, waiting to burst forth. I'm not convinced by the first pass I took at one of the central characters, I think he needs to be stronger, less feeble. When he's torn from his family at the end, there needs to be a much greater sense of loss, a genuine fear about how they'll cope without him. It's the sort of realisation that only comes when I give my projects time to simmer. I've got good storytelling instincts and can bash out a job fast when required, but I write smarter when I give my subconscious time to see and resolve the rough spots.

All of which means I won't be coming out to play much in the next two weeks. Hope everybody has fun at Cheltenham, the Writers' Academy workshop and That Fancy London.

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