Tweet Dream

You know you’ve been on Twitter too much when you dream in Twitter stream fashion. The first part of my dream last night had something to do with a Twitter conversation going on amongst me, Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss. I’m sure it was all very interesting, but I can’t remember any of it.

The dream went on to being about a garden in late afternoon sunlight, me trying to find a very specific kind of flower (none were the right color, and I recall the soil being dry; the flowers looked unhealthy). And then Steven Moffat turned out to be a member of some council, and the queen or one of her chancellors was chasing people through the gardens. I don’t quite recall how this was resolved; it may have ended in us jumping into a cab.

Meanwhile, I have an idea for a new play. So now the question is whether to plow on with my current story (novella? novel?) or switch gears.

Magic: A Fairy Tale

I took my 5-year-old to see The Princess and the Frog back when it was in theaters a couple years ago. I can’t say he enjoyed it much, and the representation of “Shadow Magic” particularly confused and scared him a little. He asked me a lot of questions about it, and at some point I told him that the villain had been eaten by the bad magic because he had promised to feed it but didn’t. When this only caused more questions to arise, I came up with a story that went something like this:

Once there was a little boy who lived in a cabin in the woods with his mother. The boy helped his mother by doing things like cutting wood and working in the garden to make sure they had plenty of vegetables to eat. He milked the cow and fed the goat and pigs.

There were wild animals living in the woods around the cabin, and the boy’s mother often told him to beware of them. “Leave them alone and they’ll leave you alone. Never leave any food out where they might come to get it; we want them to stay away from the cabin.”

Because he wanted to be a good and helpful son, the boy listened to his mother. But one day while he was weeding the garden, the boy noticed a wolf standing on the hill by the trees. It was a beautiful wolf, but it was skinny too, and the boy felt sorry for it because he thought the wolf must be hungry. But the boy remembered what his mother had said and so ignored the wolf and went back to his work.

However, when it came time to feed the goat and the pigs, the boy saw the wolf was still there. And he decided it couldn’t hurt so very much to throw a little something out for the wolf to eat. So he did.

The next day, when the boy went out to chop wood for the morning fire, he saw the wolf again. This time it stood a little farther past the trees, closer to the cabin. The wolf was not really any less skinny than it had been before; the boy knew just one meal would not satisfy a wolf. But the boy ignored the wolf and went on with chopping wood, milking the cow, and working in the garden, until it was time to feed the goat and pigs again. Then the boy threw a little extra out for the wolf once more.

The next morning the wolf was halfway down the hill, sitting and waiting. The boy did just as he had before, completing his chores and then throwing food to the wolf. He began to wonder if maybe he could tame the wolf. What a splendid pet it might make! And a good watchdog as well.

The next day the wolf was right in the garden. Instead of waiting, the boy gave the wolf scraps from his own breakfast and tried to teach the wolf to sit and lie down. The wolf complied for as long as the boy had food to give, but once the food was gone, the wolf was no longer interested in learning.

On the next morning, the boy opened the cabin window and discovered the wolf sitting right beneath it. By this time the wolf was looking less skinny, and its fur was beginning to grow even more thick and lovely.

“I don’t have anything to feed you,” the boy told the wolf. “I haven’t chopped the wood yet, so there is no fire, and so no breakfast.”

The wolf watched and waited while the boy chopped wood. It watched and waited while the boy milked the cow while and his mother cooked the breakfast. But the boy was very hungry that morning and forgot to save any scraps for the wolf. When he went outside to work in the garden, the wolf followed him, growling.

“You’ll have to wait,” the boy told the wolf.

But the wolf did not want to wait. The wolf was used to being fed, and the more the boy fed it, the hungrier and greedier it became. So the wolf went to the pig sty and ate a piglet.

When the boy discovered this, he knew he could not keep the wolf as a pet, could not train it or trust it. He knew his mother had been right when she’d said he should not feed wild animals.

The boy looked and found the wolf lying in front of the cabin door. When the boy tried to step over, the wolf growled and snapped its jaws. So the boy went to fetch his axe. He swung the axe at the wolf, and the wolf jumped up and out of the way. It ran off into the woods.

Relieved, the boy thought that was the last he would see of the wolf. But the next morning it was again under the cabin window. The boy decided to ignore it. But when he went out to chop wood and milk the cow, the wolf followed. Finally, the boy told the wolf, “I have nothing to feed you, today or any day. And if you kill another piglet, I will use this axe on you for good.” Then the boy turned to go back inside to eat his own breakfast.

But as he did, the wolf lept on the boy and ate him up instead.

The idea was that dark magic might be tempting, but once you start to “feed” it, it will only want more. It will hurt the things and people you care for, and it will eventually hurt you, too. Idle threats won’t work against it; if you get mixed up in something like that, you have to be prepared to kill it outright if you want to be free. It’s an imperfect analogy, of course, but not all bad as a story.

Procrastination

It almost sounds like a Rod Stewart song . . . Pro. Cras. Tin. A. Tion.

I’ve managed not to get any writing done today, much to my shame. Laundry, yes, and I’ve baked brownies and mailed off a couple more writing submissions, but I have not actually done any writing. The problem is I am well and truly stuck in this story, and it’s a bit like embroidery–I’m dreading having to go back and take out some of the stitches, which is what I think I’m going to have to do if I want to move forward.

It doesn’t help that I had a nightmare about being stuck in a tower with Benedict Cumberbatch. Or maybe we were at the top of a building, like a hotel or apartments or something? I don’t know, but bad dreams throw off my day. I end up restless, which makes it difficult to sit and write.

I must ruminate instead, figure out how to fix my story, and once my mind is firmly set, off I will go to write it.

Off to New York

In a few hours I’ll be on the train to NYC. I prefer the train to flying; I like forms of travel that provide me with scenery.

Staying in the Paramount at Times Square. I haven’t stayed in this particular hotel before, but it’s supposed to be very nice, so I’m excited to give it a go. Since I’m planning on spending most of my time in the room (writing), it’s important to me it be a nice one!

I do expect I’ll need to take breaks, though. To eat at least, and to find gifts for the kids because I’ll be taken to task if I return empty handed on Sunday. Also, I’ll want to go to the Lindt store and stock up on truffles because I like to eat those while I’m writing. They’re like sweet little rewards for my hard work.

For the most part I expect to be working on my “K-Pro” story, though I may also edit 20 August a bit. I’m thinking of reducing it to a one-act play. Once it’s ready I’ll be able to send it out to competitions and such. AND . . . I’m bringing the stuff for my spec script just in case I get the urge to work on it.

Here’s hoping for a productive weekend!

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?

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 . . .