Monday, April 25, 2011

Where I Learn Everyone Is Smarter Than Me

Script Frenzy again. At this point, I’m fairly certain I run on stubbornness alone. And yet, weirdly, I’m not actually failing. A while back, I decided I would write a few Dr. Who scripts, because I’ve never written a spec script before, but also because I can watch all five seasons and call it research. I haven’t attempted to write or even read a script since this time last year, and I was very happy to switch back to novels when I did, but the psychological switch was instant. I don’t want to get too sappy, but opening Final Draft was like coming home again, like landing in Heathrow airport, like hearing in stereo. So good, in fact, I’ve considered dragging the project on after April, writing the whole series just because I can. The best part, though, is that I’m not twiddling my thumbs wasting time here, but the process is actually improving Vampires.

When I began writing novels again, one of the hardest things I had to do was simply filling up all that white space. It was, quite simply, daunting. So there are spots, right now, where my prose gets a bit. Well. I may need to have Rule Eight tattooed on my body at some point if this habit continues. (Actually, I may get Rule 8 tattooed on my body at some point, purely because it would absolutely be the nerdiest reference ever, far surpassing my amazing friend Claire, who has “I solemnly swear I am up to no good.” on her wrist. Because my friend Claire is amazing.) I would like to think, at this stage of the writing, I have cured myself, since the thing is going on for freaking ever, but it doesn’t seem that I have. I catch myself doing the same in my screenplay. Screenwriting is very helpful with the idea of omitting needless words, because at this point, I don’t need them, but the hands keep typing them and the head keeps hitting the desk as they do.

Further, my prose has been a bit, um, purple, for my taste. Since the beginning of my novel, in fact. And recently, I figured out why  that was. I was trying to invent a secondary weapon with which to slay a vampire. Something you should know about. My primary weapon? Is a little ridiculous. No, it is, in fact, a whole lot of ridiculous. It’s this ridiculous thing cobbled sloppily together by inexperienced hands. No one would ever believe it could kill anything larger than a mouse. I am foolishly attached to this thing, and I am excited by the prospect of making it work in a believable way, because I am a total dork, and that’s the sort of thing that gets me all excited. But it is such a scrappy thing. All the typical standbys like an ornamental silver letter opener et al would be completely out of place. My prose, I found suddenly, was a bit like an ornamental letter opener. Pretty, and it could work, conceivably, for a vampire novel. But it wouldn’t work for mine. The love of my life, who seems to always have the answer to just about every question, talked me through it. I explained to him, these are sort of punk rock vampire hunters. They don’t know what they’re doing, but they do it.  They speak in coarse voices, they’re not particularly romantic, and except for Gerard, whose story is told through memory, and Death, who is, of course a being of very little personality, there’s not a whole lot of personal reflected. So I shifted gears a bit. He says, “Just write what happens.” And he’s brilliant, because I did that, and it’s working. Punk rock prose. Oh yeah.

The other problem I am having is with dialogue. One of the things that always happens in regards to my dialogue is that either I really like it, and everyone else hates it, or I really hate it, and everyone else loves it. I was worried, when I started Script Frenzy, because Eleventh Doctor is quite new, and I didn’t know if I could get his voice right, and I didn’t want him to turn into, say, Ten, because there’s so much more material. Yet Eleven’s voice comes out at me so clearly, it’s as if the TARDIS has landed squarely in my living room and he’s popped out to say, “Hey! I’m going to talk, and you’re going to write down everything I say, okay? Okay!” I could not understand what this phenomenon was until a friend pointed out my love of audio books. This friend also happens to be brilliant, and I am very grateful to him, but he shall remain nameless or I will give him a big fat head. The point is, I’ve always been an auditory learner, and though I can’t act at all, I’ve always been a decent mimic. I know Matt Smith’s voice and Eleven’s speech patterns, so it makes it easier to write him, because I can hear it in my head. Which led to the brilliant plan of casting the vampire novel. Just in my head, of course, so I could properly mimic the speech types I want. So I can hear them. And it’s working!

So, all of that is just me saying that script frenzy is not a waste of time, so there!


  1. this is the first time i read one of your bloggings and didn't fall off the reading track to look at something shiny from the corner of my eye. I'm proud of myself

    anyways, so, which Doctor popped out of the TARDIS? I would assume Ten because i know how you get with him, but i cant be so sure cus you mentioned Eleven...

  2. That is awesome! It sounds like you have excellent ideas for characterizing your persons and moving the vampires along much faster!