Endings, beginnings and others.

It’s been an interesting week, filled with activity of all sorts which could make 2010 a very fulfilling year for me creatively.

winner_night_120x240.pngFirst up. I hit page count on Script Frenzy. I made it a couple of days before the deadline, which is always a nice feeling. Not having to race to the line gives you a feeling that you’re ever so slightly more in control of the material, and not just lobbing random words at the screen in the sure and gloomy knowledge that they’re all coming back out when it comes to the second draft.

Writing a comic script is different from anything I’ve ever tried before. I’ve had to be much more aware of the way the story flows from page to page, keeping things moving while leaving little bits of room for the story to breathe, for the characters to come to life. Essentially, I’ve had to write 96 little stories, each with their own cliffhanger. It’s been fun, and a challenge.

The job now is to get an artist on board. I can layout and probably do character design, but I’m fully aware of my shortcomings as an artist. I know I couldn’t do the story in my head justice. Any takers out there that might be interested collaborating in a dose of decent old-fashioned skiffy?

In Straight8 news, Dom and I finally got together with the brilliant Kiki Kendrick for a morning of reshoots on our 2009 film Time Out. It’s been over a year since the initial shoot, and we’ve been trying to merge schedules for the last nine months. Third time turned out to be the charm. In an intense two hour session we nailed five shots in two locations. The film is being processed, and with luck and a fair wind we can drop these shots into our existing cut and have something we can show you in a couple of weeks.

Finally, potentially the biggest news of all. Leading Man Clive and I are collaborating with Simon Aitken, Ben Woodiwiss and Brendan Lornegan, the guys behind Blood + Roses on a feature horror, Habeus Corpus. It’s an anthology movie, and we’ve all contributed a short script. The overarching theme of the film will be “the exploitation of the dead”. Treating the dead as a resource, rather than a threat. Humanity doesn’t come out well in our tales.

We’ll be directing our own segments, apart from Ben, whose opening segment will be helmed by the mighty Paul Davis of Beware The Moon fame. I’m incredibly excited and gut-wrenchingly nervous about this. It’s a massive step up for me, and I really hope I can do it justice. It’s some comfort to do something like this with friends, though. People whose judgement and skill I trust without question.

The script is just about locked and it kicks significant barrelfuls of ass. We’re starting on the long painful task of looking for finance. It’s going to be hard work, and I know blood will be spilled. But at the same time it’s another step up, another barrier to vault.

See? Told ya. Exciting times.

Five Days Of Script Frenzy

Well, so far so good. It should be noted that the first week of Script Frenzy has coincided with a Bank Holiday, and some shift time off. So I’ve been able to get my head down and hack out some serious scriptage.

Let’s do the maths. I’m writing a seven part comics series, each of which is 16 pages long. So far I have 20 pages down. But this equates to 33 actual script pages written, which means that whichever way you look at it I’m ahead of schedule. If I was to be positive, I could declare that I’m a third of the way there.

I wouldn’t say the story is spilling out of me, though. I have to break everything into pages and panels, and make sure that the story flows and works on a page, issue and collection basis. It’s not really a slog, but I’m aware that I can’t just blaze through a word-count in the same manner as Nanowrimo. I’m treading a bit more carefully than normal.

Further, the way Celtx (the scriptwriting software recommended for this adventure – Final Draft but free, thus with less of the bells and whistles but a dedicated comic-writing setup) formats a comic page is a bit, well, ODD. It breaks things down into an A/V script – that is, everything in boxes, description to the right, captions, bubbles and SFX to the left. It makes all kinds of sense, but it’s not something I’m used to. I really hope it’s acceptable for the final page count like that, otherwise I could be in real trouble.

Progress will also be delayed somewhat by an upcoming trip to Amsterdam for to partake in the drugs and ladies of negotiable virtue culture and maybe a small beer or two. I’ll be taking the Dell, but I expect my page rate to drop. Which is why I’m trying to stay as far ahead of schedule as I can now.

So, if you’ll excuse me. These coyote-spiders aren’t going to stalk my hero by themselves.

Flash Stance


I should write more flash fiction. It’s a great way of keeping up your daily word count, while at the same time not having to commit to a bigger project or challenge. Lord knows, I don’t need the encouragement to get involved in those (hel-looo, Script Frenzy).

The format, for those members of the Readership unaware of the concept, is what I used to call a short short. A short story under 1000 words, frequently coming in at well under that count. I could, if I had the idea, knock out a piece of flashfic on my train ride to work in the morning. It can be a way of writing a quick joke, or to map out a concept, or simply to fire out a character piece. The choice is yours. The only restriction is the word count.

Yesterday I hammered out my first piece of flash fiction in at least a year. I had, for once, a proper reason to do so. I submitted the story to a new incentive, The Campaign For Real Fear. This is a competition jointly created and judged by horror authors Maura McHugh and Christopher Fowler. The aim is to find stories that tap into 21st century terrors, rather than simply rehashing the same old monsters and tropes. The limit is 500 words. As Maura and Chris say in their intro, “If you can’t scare us in 500 words, you won’t manage it in 5,000.” It’s a great idea, and one I’m happy to both participate in and endorse.

Closing date for entries is 16th April. I know there are members of The Readership who would excel at a challenge like this one. Gentlemen, start your engines.

(Flash fiction is a very different deal to slash fiction, which I can’t write. I’ve got no interest in writing about other people’s characters, and I’m no good at sex. Writing sex. Sex scenes. I can’t do sex scenes. Shut up.)
(That’s probably why I’ve never got on with LiveJournal. I keep trying to explore it, and end up mired in some Russian teenager’s Farscape/Stargate mashup. Which turns into an orgy. Topless Robot have a great thread of the worst slash fic on the web, which I applaud and view as a public service. They go there so you don’t have to. It’s a dark mirror to the excesses of the human imagination. The Pokemon abortion fetish story is especially eye-opening.)

(I shudder to think what that last sentence is going to do to my Google stats.)

(image from Flickr user degan’s stream.)