Wednesday, August 29, 2007


You will notice I haven't been around much in the last couple of weeks, this will be because of the space virus James Moran always seems to get. However, I seem to have more than one space virus and have found they are bloody difficult to shift.

First I had viral pleurisy, then a chest infection and now the man flu, all in five weeks. If I can get the bastards off my chest I'll get back to some writing, but all I'm fit for at the moment is reading or watching TV.

Now you've read this blog, go step into a scalding hot shower and scrub away those dreaded germs. I hope to see you all soon, fit and healthy.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007


I can't spell for shit, or at least I thought I couldn't. Lately I've been surprising myself.

That's the thing about writing you're always learning as you go.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

It's All In The Words

A writer with some heavy hitting TV credits graciously allowed me to read one of their prized unmade projects the other day and it was an educational read. It's easy as a writer to get wrapped up in the every day slog of getting your stuff read by agents or production companies, and forget what matters most... a damn good read.

Words are our business so they should be the most important thing. If our words aren't up to scratch then it doesn't matter how hard we work to get people to read our work, all our efforts are be wasted.

So I looked again at my scripts again and realised in my eagerness to tighten my scene description I'd inadvertently removed what made the scripts good in the first place. Here's an example of a scene from one of my scripts.
"ROSE DARC (63) answers. It takes her a second to register Dan before she launches herself at him in a ferocious attack."
It's tight but it's also flat. It doesn't drop the reader in the scene, involve them, engage them. So I've rewritten it to prove my point.
"ROSE DARC (63) answers. She should recognise Dan, but struggles to make the connection. Then she does, and reacts with horror, hatred, rage. Rose launches herself at him in a ferocious attack, fists swinging wildly, spittle flying."
Much better isn't it? You get a better sense of Rose's rage towards Dan. It could still do with a little tweaking, but the essence of what I want to put across is there. And it's interesting, not flat.

Sometimes you have to look past the so called rules of writing and write what you feel. If you can get those feelings and emotions onto the page, you've won half the battle.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007


I haven't had a proper rant since just over a year ago when I was going through a tough patch (it was the blackness I tell you, it creeps up on you), but I'm going to have one now. So if you are of a nervous disposition please go and read something else. Let the rant begin.

I got an email yesterday and it went something like this, "Who the [bleep] do you think you are giving us your [bleep]ing [bleep] advice? What the [bleep] do you [bleep]ing know about it? Shut the [bleep] up!" I think the person with anger issues was referring to this article.

What do I know about it? I've lived it; that's what I know about it. If you don't want to listen to my advice that's entirely up to you, but you're an idiot if you don't. Why make all the same mistakes as me? Why not read what I have to say and avoid them? Surely it makes sense to choose the easy option? I don't write these posts so I can say, "Wow, look at me. Aren't I great? Worship me, lesser beings." I write them so other new writers following on behind me can avoid the mistakes I made.

But as I said, you don't have to take my advice, there's loads of other writers out there at various stages in their careers who also have something worthwhile to say about what they do.

Danny Stack: A reader who's worked for some big production companies and has also taught scriptwriting at Leeds and Bournemouth universities. He doesn't rant at all, he's a very mellow, deep thinking person.

James Moran: The writer of Severance and episodes of Doctor Who and Torchwood. Occasionally has a rant and quite often threatens to kill the readers of his blog. A lovely chap.

English Dave: A professional writer who talks about the dark side of the business. A non stop ranter, but it's all for our benefit, so that's alright.

Lucy Vee: A reader who reads for new writers and professionals alike. She likes a good rant, mostly about people who ask her to read and comment on their work, who then moan and rant when she points out the faults. She also has the occasional rant about agents. Just don't start her on that topic of conversation.

These are four of my favorite bloggers, there are more, but these four will suffice for now. Again you don't have to take my advice. Does the occasional rude email bother me? Not in the least; send me more and I'll laugh at your naivety. You can take my advice or not. Do what you want, it's your career, or lack of it.

Rant over, normal service resumed.

Thursday, August 09, 2007


Four episodes down on BBC2 and I'm loving it. But should I really like Heroes so much, after all there are several reasons why I shouldn't? They are as follows.

Claire Bennet: Almost every character she comes into contact with kills her. I know she's invincible but why am I shown this every episode? It's not like I've forgotten. She must be the unluckiest teenager on the planet. No wonder she has the need to be invincible if she's in danger of being killed that often. And will she ever change out of that cheerleader's costume, it must be getting grubby by now?

Matt Parkman: He can hear people's thoughts, and gets arrested when he can't explain how he finds a girl hiding from a serial killer. When he tells the FBI agent who arrested him he can read minds instead of packing him off to the funny farm she asks him to join the FBI, and immediately places all her trust in him; like you do.

Niki Saunders: Is she the only one who doesn't know her husband is innocent of killing people and stealing $2m, and that her alter ego is in fact the one responsible? And why does her son never question why he has to sleep in the back of cars while she buries chopped up bad guys? He's supposed to have a high IQ after all.

Mohinder Suresh: His father is friends with a serial killer and then gets killed (that's just asking for trouble really, isn't it?). Mohinder jacks in his job and moves to New York to find his dad's killer with out a single mention of immigration and having to apply for a visa to live and work in the USA.

Nathan Petrelli: His father committed suicide, his mother shoplifts and his brother nearly kills himself because he thinks he can fly, yet he still gets elected to congress in later episodes. I don't know if that is a comment on the political situation in the USA, or how it actually works.

So why is the show so watchable? I think I have narrowed it down to three things.

1) The way not only each episode, but each scene, shows us a little bit of each character and always leaves us with a hint that there's more to know. That way we have to hang around to find out, and when we do learn some information, again more is hinted at. The episode cliffhangers are giant hooks compelling the viewer to come back next week for more.

2) The dialogue is genius. When Hiro is being dragged back to his work station by his supervisor, his friend shouts out, "use the death grip, Spock, use the death grip."

3) The characters and the emotional connection you can identify with. For example, Hiro is the sci-fi geek in everyone of us committing himself to his mission with the wide eyed enthusiasm of a five year old child.

I'm hooked.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007


I've had a flood.

No it hasn't been raining and I haven't wet myself. I'm talking about ideas; ideas for new projects and new directions for old projects. Just look at the side bar and you'll see what I'm working on at the moment. Yes, all at the same time. I know, I am mad!

I really wish ideas would come in a steady stream, but they all seem to come at once or not at all. When they come at once I struggle to get them all done as they fight and jostle each other for supremacy, and more often than not I find myself juggling more work than I can handle.

Don't get me wrong it's a nice situation to be in, but trying to decided what to work on first, and in what order, is sometimes difficult. I eagerly want to work on all of them....NOW! I know that sometime soon I'll have to give up on one or two of them and leave them for a later date.

I wish I had more time and more fingers to type with.

If anyone owns a time machine or is an evil, mad genetics scientist, please get in touch.

Change Of Plan

Sod it, I've changed my mind! Option one it now is.

Don't have a go at me Arnopp, I have my reasons ;-)

Monday, August 06, 2007

The Choice Is Made

Option Two it is then.

Option Two: Part one of a 3 X 1hour TV drama - (a long lost father returns stirring up old memories and resentment).

Thursday, August 02, 2007


The BSSC 1st round qualifiers have been announced. Huzzah!

I've made it, have you?

Add your name to the comments if you have and lets all feel smug together.

I Can't Decide, Can You?

I've recently finished a drama feature script and now want to write something new; but what?

Here are my options:

Option One: A comedy feature - (a robbery with pensioners) - the idea very nearly fully formed and ready to go.

Option Two: Part one of a 3 X 1hour TV drama - (a long lost father returns stirring up old memories and resentment) - again nearly fully formed and ready to go.

Option Three: A comedy feature - (a political romcom) - at the idea stage so will need some work before writing begins.

Please vote for your choice and on Monday I'll decide which one it will be.

Thanks for your help.