Smile Through It II: The Next Chapter

Chasing dreams, because I can

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Writing apace

Posted by Oli on Tuesday 14th October, 2008

A couple of weeks agao I started a new writing project with a friend – S of S&S form this blog – launching from an idea written by her other half (erm… S from S&S from this blog…) back in his college days, which is now so long ago we’re all starting to feel a little too old for our liking.

The original script, scribbled out in a school exercise book, has the seeds of a great story in the comedy-horror genre made famous by Shaun of the Dead but plied equally well by recent Brit successes like The Cottage.

We’ve spent the last month or so between the two of us, with input from SB (I suppose the second initial will have to come into it now, since they’re becoming two separate people…) to make sure we weren’t veering too far away from his original intentions, have been hashing out a more detailed and sustainable plot-line and making the characters more rounded to help us create the right level of comedy.

It’s quite a tough project because the premise is pretty ludicrous, but the idea is cracking, which means that it’s really important to get all the “other” elements of the script right so that the audience feels able to buy in to the main idea running through it.  If the comedy is too outlandish, the audience won’t want to go with us, so it’s important that we keep it a close character comedy with just a single, slighty crazy comic element in the middle of the mix.

Today we had our second full-on writing day together.  Both of us had completed short sections of 7-10 pages each and we got our heads together to see how they were working alongside each other and that we were flowing down the same lines according to the plan we’d drawn up.  It’s all looking really good and we spent a bit of time going over the action and dialogue of the sequences we’ve written and seeing if and how it affects the stuff we’re going on to do next.

We’ve come away nicely re-energised for the next stint of writing and have given ourselves another two weeks to get the next pieces written up before we meet again to see how we’re progressing.  If we can keep the pace we’re on at the moment, we should have a completed first draft by the end of November, which would be really, really cool.

Interestingly, just the process of writing with someone else and bouncing ideas around has taught me a huge amount about how to better develop characters and story-arcs, something I think that some of my writing has lacked in the past.  It’s also seemed to click my brain back into “writer’s mode” and set me off thinking about a whole load of other projects I’d like to get cracking on.  I’m not about to try writing two first drafts at the same time, but with ideas fermenting in my head, I think this could be quite a fertile time for my creativity, which is a really nice feeling.

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