Wednesday, May 27, 2015


I learnt a lot by posting the first few scenes of my latest spec last week. Some expected, some unexpected.

I posted the scenes for two reasons...
  1. Let's face it, as writers we never really get to see a proper first (vomit) draft other than our own. Writers are very precious about letting other people seer their work until it has been rewritten a million times and proof read at least once by the grammar Nazis. I thought I'd be different and allow my fellow writers a chance to see how another writer works and what my raw first drafts look like - purely for educational purposes. Some called it brave! Some called it foolish! Some just didn't get it!
  2. Primarily I wanted to see if the scenes worked, if they were enough of a hook for the reader to want to know more.
What I didn't expect to happen...
  1. My spelling errors to be pointed out.
  2. To be pulled up on format.
  3. To be criticised on pace.
  4. For fellow writers to argue with each other over whether these issues should have been pointed out in the first place.
  5. A director to read it and then request to read the rest of the screenplay.
What I did expect to happen...
  1. For people to be drawn into Dexter's story and want to know more.
What I learnt...
  1. As writers it's easy to get hung up on format, pace, spelling and grammar (all of which are important) and forget that we are first and foremost story tellers. If we focus too much on these 'rules' our stories can suffer, their originality diluted or even lost - our work can become formulaic and dull. Be aware of the 'rules' but also be happy to break them if you think your story will benefit.
  2. Everybody has an opinion, most of them different, and these opinions can lead to personal attacks when people think others are attacking their validity.
  3. Some people get very angry if their opinions aren't listened to, are ridiculed or even attacked.
  4. We're writers. We're a community. We should be supportive of each other while being prepared to offer constructive criticism when asked. Under no circumstances should we be attacking each other. We should be united and supportive...always!
  5. Write the story you want to write. You can listen to others' opinions but never forget this is your story and you should never let anyone dictate how you write it... unless they're paying you, or it was their idea in the first place, even then you can negotiate.
  6. Opportunities can come from anywhere, you just need to make them happen.
Overall I'm happy with the results of the blog post and now, because of the mostly positive reaction, I'm thinking of re-posting the same scenes again after each rewrite so my fellow writers can see how the scenes evolve from draft to draft.

Remember - play nice!

Happy writing.

1 comment:

Angel said...

Interesting findings indeed! I found out about your initiative via Phil Barron's blog. Brave and I interesting both, I thought. Just wanted to let you know the story did hook me, and quickly dump here some of the question marks lingering in my head after the read, just in case it helps:

Why is he a workman? Just a disguise, or is it part of his background? Is this how he gets into places, with the excuse to fix people's stuff, to then actually murder them!? Does he always use his "screwdriver" for it? :) And what's wrong with him? Whats with the pain on his side? Is this a revenge story, where he silently takes out all those who gave him whatever ill that causes the wobbly legs?

Well done and do keep going if you feel so inclined. I would love to follow the evolution.