Spent the weekend in That Fancy London, doing some research and networking [or, as it's also known, seeing some old friends]. Took along the scene by scene for a new calling card script project I'm developing. Wasn't sure if I'd have a chance to look at it, but happily found time to give it some proper attention - with pleasing results.
I spent several weeks on this project last summer, but had to set it aside in favour of paying jobs with pressing deadlines. The combination of writing my third Doctors ep [on BBC1 this Friday], five scripts for Nina and the Neurons [now all officially signed off] and the computer game Fate of the World consumed the last six months.
Now, finally, I'm getting back to my long-gestating calling card script project. Being away from it for six months was frustrating, but useful, giving me fresh perspective on what wasn't working. Took me several hours, lots of coffee and contemplation, but I now possess a functioning scene by scene from which to start a first draft script.
This is, of course, terrifying. An unwritten script is perfect in your head, but the moment it touches paper or forms pixels the flaws emerge. That's first drafts for you. But without a first draft - no matter how imperfect - you can't rewrite. And that's where the shine emerges, turning your rough diamond into something more polished.
So I expect that will be consuming a lot of my writing time for the next six weeks. In an ideal world, the polished version proves good enough to submit as my writing sample for the BBC Writers' Academy. I didn't apply the last two years, but am committed to giving it a go this year. I've certainly progressed since 2008, when I last applied.
Three years ago I had one radio play, a short film screenplay prize and a successful trial script for Doctors to recommend me, along with two dodgy calling card scripts. Now I've got three eps of Doctors, five eps of Nina and the Neurons for CBeebies, another radio play, an agent representing me and an awful lot more experience.
But all the credits in the world won't get you considered for the Writers' Academy unless your original script wows the readers. Then all the other factors come into play. So that's why I need a crackerjack calling card script. Get that right and my chances of all least reaching the selection workshops improve. We shall see.
In the meantime, I'm one of ten writers selected for Write Foot Forward. This is a six-week course run by noted TV drama development executive Jo Calam, designed to help professional writers achieve a more satisfying career. No idea how many applied, but I'm very happy to make the cut. It starts with a conference call tomorrow night.
Not much else to report, aside from that most delightful of arrivals - an unexpected royalties cheque which turns up while I was in London. Titan Books has taken over the list of Reynolds & Hearn, meaning they're now my publishers for The Complete Inspector Morse. The royalties were for the 2009 edition. Expect a 2011 this autumn. Onwards!