Tailspin

Seeing as work is the best way (for me at least) to soothe my sorrowful heart after a shower of rejections, I prepped some stuff for submission today and mailed it out. Even that much feels like a bit of progress. Of course, it may only yield more rejection . . . Vicious circle, this writing business.

I meant to do some actual writing, too, but had other errands to run. I’m glad, though, to have gotten some writing-related activities taken care of.

My son said to me today that he thought I’d be bored while he was at school. “You’ll do all your writing at once and then you won’t have anything to do!” I tried to explain that it doesn’t all happen at once, that most writing takes longer than a day. I’m not sure he believed me, though.

Having finished the draft of 20 August (my two-act play), I’m turning my attention once again to “The K-Pro.” And my scripts. And then at some point, when I feel enough time has lapsed, I’ll go edit 20 August . . . Did I mention the bit about the vicious circle? It’s rather like chasing one’s tail. But better to have too many projects than not enough. I hate dry spells. Would much prefer to stay busy, juiced up with ideas.

And so . . .

Another rejection today, this time for “Warm Bodies.” But they were nice about it, saying that it just didn’t fit in with the kinds of plays they publish. This publisher apparently focuses on the kinds of things kids do in school, and I can agree that “Warm Bodies” is a bit much for that crowd. However, I wish their website had been more clear about this, since it said they publish stuff for community theatres and such as well (which is exactly what I wrote “Warm Bodies” for). I will try it elsewhere.

It is difficult, though, not to get discouraged when it seems to be raining rejections. Some days I feel like I might never be successful on any front, no matter how hard I try.

Mixed Results

Well, on the up side I finished the first draft of my two-act play and sent it to the theatre in London that had asked to see something in longer form. They wanted to get a sense of my style, so I felt that even though it was a draft, it suited the purpose. Though of course I added a note that it was just a draft.

But on the down side . . . Another rejection for a couple of my short stories. Rejections are always difficult, and this one felt particularly harsh, not because they were mean about it per se but it was just the stark wording: “The piece is not for us. Best of luck with this.” Really? That’s the best you can do when letting someone down?

Here’s hoping the play does better for me.

And did you see that BBC Books is planning to do Sherlock books after all? Now how do I get my foot in that door, I wonder?

Sparkfest – Day 2

So my post earlier today was about the two big projects I’m currently working on. In keeping with Sparkfest, then, I’ll talk about what, well, sparked them.

The play came from a drive. Quite simply, I went over a bridge. I was thinking at the time that I needed an idea for this play, and I might’ve seen something about the lottery out of the corner of my eye? Somewhere in there, the first line of the play sprang to mind: “The day Lucky jumped off the bridge was the day he won the Lotto.”

The “K-Pro” story was something that simmered for a lot longer. I have a tendency to lie in bed and think a lot. Daydream, make up stories, whatever. But this story is an odd blend of personal experience–that is, time I’ve spent on film sets and with actors (one of the main characters is an actor), time spent abroad, and my own history. They do say write what you know. I’d probably add: but make it more interesting.

WIPs

I thought I might expand a bit more on my two current projects, which I mentioned briefly in yesterday’s Sparkfest post.

(1) The play I’m writing–this one is a full-length play–is about a man who jumps off a bridge. Sort of. Is any play ever really about what it pretends to be about? My previous playwriting effort, “Warm Bodies,” has been generally well received, so I hope this one will be too. I’ve dabbled in scene writing before, and I’ve even taught playwriting classes, so it’s funny that I never really tapped into that side of me for out-and-out writing. I only wrote “Warm Bodies” because someone asked for a 10-minute play for a directors’ workshop, and I thought, Well, it can’t be so different from screenwriting, so long as you keep it in your head that they can’t do quick cuts and will need time to change sets. Right? It probably helped that I do have a modest history in stage acting.

(2) The story I’m writing, which looks like it will be novella length before long, is called “The K-Pro.” It’s, uh, different from my usual thing. But not in a bad way. Can’t quite tell if it’s going to go the paranormal romance route or just be a kind of weird . . . thing.

And once I finish these two projects, I have a couple of actual screenwriting projects to get on with. “Something Real” is a romantic comedy, and I also have a TV spec script to sort out. When it rains, it pours! I’ll be off to NYC this weekend to devote some real time to all of this; it can be difficult to concentrate at home with the ins and outs of family.

Underground

Been underground for a bit working on this new story. Looks to be a novella, possibly in the paranormal romance genre. No wizardry kind of stuff, just the slightly surreal/magical realism kind of thing. Sort of in the vein of Sarah Allen Addison maybe.

So I had originally been planning to hammer out the television spec during my upcoming weekend in New York, but now I’m wondering if I won’t just keep on with this story. Not sure I could finish it, though. I could try, but I might actually get farther with the script, and it would feel good to have completed (or nearly completed) something. Decisions, decisions.

Update

So “Warm Bodies” has been sent off to two competitions and one potential publisher.

I’m working on a new short story and I’m really liking the way it’s coming along.

And in three weekends, I intend to spend my time in New York pounding out my television script. (Though Sherlock and I will also take time to see a bit of the city and get some pictures.)

So far August is shaping up to be a good month. Now if I could only shake this cold . . .

Projects

So this is what I have staring me in the face at the moment:

  • Stage play – short form
  • Stage play – long form
  • Spec script – television
  • Spec script – full-length feature film
  • Short story

And this doesn’t include stories I’ve already written that are in various stages of being submitted. Nor does it include two half-finished novels, though I don’t know when I’ll get back to those.

“Warm Bodies”

Finished my 10-minute play today. Well, one of them. I had started a second one and may also try to finish it at some point.

It’s been ages since I’ve written for the stage. Not so different from screenwriting as far as style goes; you know, lots of dialogue and minimal direction. I leave that to the directors and the details to the art department. I tell a story and their job is to make it happen. Even my prose tends to be narrowly focused, and the most common criticism I used to receive in writing workshops (for prose) was that I didn’t always put in a lot of details.

The thing is, a lot of directors don’t want a ton of detail. And even if you give it, they’ll probably change it anyway. What I do like about this play that I’ve written–its title, like this post, is “Warm Bodies”–is that it can be interpreted any number of ways, I think. The director and the actors can have fun with it, “play” with it.

I’m sending it off to a competition. The deadline isn’t even until October 1, but when they sent me an e-mail and asked me outright to consider submitting something, I sort of had a kindling of an idea and ran with it. We’ll see how it goes!

Inspiration Blogfest

I’ve been informed that today is Inspiration Blogfest. I am supposed to post a sort of prompt that will somehow inspire other to write. Hmm.

I’m no good at poetry. Believe me, I’ve tried, but it’s no use. I enjoy reading it, though, and here’s a poem by Shelley that we’ve probably all had to read at some point in our schooling. It’s titled “Ozymandias.”

I met a traveller from an antique land
Who said: `Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert. Near them, on the sand,
Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown,
And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command,
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
The hand that mocked them and the heart that fed.
And on the pedestal these words appear —
“My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:
Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!”
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare
The lone and level sands stretch far away.’

Ozymandias is the Greek name for Ramses II, and so this poem also appeals to my love of ancient history. Go and do with it what you will.