Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Five years of Vicious Imagery

In October 2005 I started this blog as an online journal for my experiences as a postgraduate screenwriting student. I was trying to make the leap from scribbling tie-in novels, comics and audio dramas to writing TV drama. I'd had a couple of near misses with TV, but lacked the craft skills to take advantage of those opportunities.

Back then I knew I could tell a story and get paid for it. I'd had nearly 20 novels published, maybe a thousand pages of comic script, about a dozen hours of audio drama and been working with stories as scribe or editor for years. But could I transform myself from successful tie-in hack into a writer of scripts for TV dramas?

Five years on, the answer is yes. I write for the BBC1 series Doctors, with my first ep broadcast in February this year. My second is on next month [Thursday November 18th, to be precise], and I'm in the midst of writing my third for transmission in March 2011. I'm also taking baby steps into the world of writing for children's TV.

I have an agent, the lovely Katie Williams at Blake Friedmann [details at the top right corner of this blog]. My second radio drama was on BBC7 in August this year, four years after my first broadcast writing credit [for a Radio 4 play]. I'm writing for my second computer game this year, after a long spell away from that field.

Back in 2005 I was venturing into the world of university study for the first time as a post-grad screenwriting student. Now - in my Copious Spare Time™ - I lecture part-time on the innovative Creative Writing MA at Edinburgh Napier University. I get to talk about writing 2.5 days a week and that's never a chore for me.

It's surprising to me how far I'm come in the past five years. If you'd have told me what lay ahead, I would have grabbed it with both hands. There are some experiences that feel like wasted efforts or missed opportunities, but I've always believed you learn as much from your mistakes as your triumphs, so it's all good.

I won't try to guess where the next five years will take me. I'm still at the start of my journey as a TV drama writer, who know where that might lead. There are shows I'd love to write, creative itches I'm dying to scratch. Most of all, I need to find time - to make time - for my own characters, my own stories. Onwards!


MerseyMal said...

Congratulations! Have really enjoyed reading your posts.

helencaldwell said...

I think it's very interesting to note that your journey from wanting to write TV drama to getting your first TV episode broadcast has taken almost 5 years. It shows that whatever our writing ambitious are, we need to be in it for the long haul. It's great that you've blogged about the whole process so people on a similar journey to yours can be inspired and encouraged, and can learn from your mistakes! (You're right: they do teach you as much as your triumphs).
Blogging is a great way to keep a record of your writing progress and reminding yourself of how far you've come motivates you to keep working away towards those dreams.
I've been blogging for two years now and am already surprised at how my life has changed in that time. I hope that when I reach the five year mark I'll also have some great results to report.