Half the year gone already, time for a recap. What have I achieved thus far, and what remains undone? Not enough and plenty are the short answers, but this is blog [not a twitter] so I'll elucidate. The biggest change is becoming a part-time lecturer in creative writing at Edinburgh Napier University. This consumes half the working week [and sometimes more], but provides financial freedom from having to do hackwork to pay the bills.
It's worth mentioning how much I'm enjoying the job. We've been interviewing potential students for a while now, and it's a blast discovering what makes people tick. We're offering a creative writing MA unlike any other, and it's attracting students with some amazing potential. Can't wait to get them into a classroom together and see what happens, see what stories they want to tell. Roll on September, that's what I say.
So, where was I? Oh yes, half year report. I'm making progress with Doctors, having gotten my first story idea banked, but need to be doing more. The Lighthouse project pushed many things to one side for several months, so the conclusion of that means I can get back to thinking about stories for Heston, Cherry, Daniel, et al. Doctors has given a lot of writers their first TV drama broadcast credit - hopefully I can emulate their success.
My WWII homefront soap Families At War was among the runners-up for the Red Planet Prize, earning me a session with Hustle creator Tony Jordan and an invite to send ideas to his production company. That's a 12-month offer, so I need to make the most of that opportunity. I've also been meeting with a script editor at another production company and we're kicking round a couple of ideas [I understand this is known as development.]
My first Doctor Who audio drama, Enemy of the Daleks, was released in May. I'd written a dozen different projects for Big Finish, but it was a special moment to script a four-part story for the main Who range. Happily, Enemy of the Daleks has proved popular with fans and even got a good review from critich Matt Michael in Doctor Who Magazine: "On the whole this is a very solid play with intelligence as well as plenty of guts."
I've also written the first Judge Dredd talking book, Stranger Than Truth, for Big Finish. This is akin to a dramatic reading, but with an extra voice or two plus music and sound effects. Stranger Than Truth is a tricksy little tale that operates on several levels. Alas, I couldn't go to the recording in Manchester last week, so the finished product will be completely fresh to me when it's released later this year.
My magnificent octopus about the history of iconic British comic 2000 AD was released as a paperback in February. Thrill-Power Overload was already earning me royalties from the sold out hardback edition [which some spivs are now selling for £170], so it's a joy to see the TPO paperback doing well. Years of my life are invested in that book, and it's something I hope stays in print for a long time. Makes the effort feel worthwhile.
Wrote my 39th and 40th issues of The Phantom comic for Egmont Sweden. Was one of two writers on a brainstorming session for a multi-platform BBC project. Been writing storylines and tweaking pitch documents for an animated project at an independent production company. Read numerous scripts and treatments for Scottish Screen. And I await news from several open call writing initiatives, such as Coming Up and the BSSC.
Last but not least, my script THE WOMAN WHO SCREAMED BUTTERFLIES has just been named as a quarter-finalist in the 2009 Page International Screenwriting Awards. That sounds more impressive than it is, as the top 10% of all entries make the quarter-finals. There are several more rounds before prize-winners are announced in the autumn. Still, it's nice to see TWWSB getting some love, as I've a great deal of affection for the script.
I won first prize in the Page Awards' short film category two years ago with DANNY'S TOYS. Obviously, I'd love TWWSB to get close to matching that, but have my doubts. DANNY'S TOYS had a downbeat yet hopeful ending. TWWSB is a bit edgier and more experimental, with lashings of bleak nihilism to finish. But you never know with these things, it's all utterly subjective. Must dash. Tomorrow I'll plot the way ahead. Onwards!