Friday, 28 November 2008

Taking Stock

Congratulations to all those who got through to the next (and final?) round of the Red Planet competition. Jason has handily collated all those winners from the blogosphere here. Well done, y'all.

But: hmm...

When a competition is held, and a large number of fellow bloggers and drinking buddies get through and I fail to get through, it's hard not to think: I should give up.

There, I've said it. No dancing around 'they were looking for something else' or 'it's not the right time' or 'I'm on some kind of different wavelength': despite spending a lot of time on it, my work wasn't good enough. I have to make it better, or quit.

We all need a certain amount of encouragement to keep going, otherwise we'd be insane to keep going. And though I'm not claiming not to be insane, I could do with some official encouragement at the moment, but it's thin on the ground. Maybe I'm missing something that's being told to me, loud and clear.

But I'm not giving up: I'll give it at least six more months before I start trying something different. And I'm not talking wildly different: I'm not going to be learning the ukulele, particle physics or African pottery: I'll just try writing novels, maybe - see how that pans out.

29 comments:

Helen Smith said...

Writing novels is a very pleasant activity. I thoroughly recommend it.

One of the best things about it is that you can take anything from eighteen months up to ten years just to write one novel. Of course, your family will go hungry and your wife may leave you if you do piss about writing novels but this will only heighten your creativity so it will all work out for the best.

Another course of action is to write a play. No-one ever goes to the theatre so it doesn't matter whether it's any good or not and the actors are lovely and everyone's very friendly so it's a good opportunity to meet people if you're in need of company if your wife does leave while you're writing the novel.

Jason Arnopp said...

Here's the thing, sir.

If you give up scripting, I shall set fire to you. So it's really a life-or-death choice. No brainer.

Good day to you.

laurence timms said...

Don't give up. If you give up, I will bring matches.

Anyway, after all this chummy blogger chat there can only be one winner. Come next January there'll be sixty-nine not-so-chirpy chappies suddenly with a script on their hands and no home for it.

Then we'll have a mass blog whinge.

laurence timms said...

Oh, and write a novel at the same time. Like Helen said.

Writing a novel is like making love to a beautiful woman. First you get some paper, then you pick up your pen, then you sit there licking it absent-mindedly for an hour.

Piers said...

Have a hug, ya big lummox.

Si said...

Stuart - chill! Things ain't so bad. Yours was the very first blog I started to stealth read regularly (well, OK, the second after James Moran's!) and one of the reasons I've stopped being a ninja and made my own (admittedly poor) attempt at blogging. Take it from me: everybody has ups and downs, whatever level they're at. I've had a great year this year but almost came close to jacking it in last year. It's just the way it goes. Have a week or two where you don't worry about it. Then have a little think about what really interests you. Si.

Stuart Perry said...

Helen - I'm sensing *something* in your reply! I want to be clear: I'm not being flippant about novel writing nor thinking it's an easy option. I've been screenwriting for eight years; the successes have been pretty rare and mostly as bad as the failures (and my family haven't starved - I've had a day job, did I mention that? I feel like I drone on about the day job in every post lately!).

It might be time to try telling stories in a different way. At least you can get a novel bound at the end of it, and show the grandchildren. The trouble with screenwriting is that you need to persuade so many people that your script is good, and once you've got them convinced... ..they film it badly and ruin it!

Jason - you twisted firestarter you. If you put it like that...

Laurence - I'm sure the shortlisted entries will get something worthwhile out of it, and good on you all, you deserve it. But yes, in true Highlander fashion: there can be only one.

Piers - ta for the hug. Appreciated.

Stuart Perry said...

Si - thanks for the comments. My post came out a bit more whingy that it sounded in my head. Like all the blogging afflicted, including yourself I'm sure, I could never give up. I'm just considering if there's different outlets rather than just (the often pretty thankless) screenwriting.

But, as Helen hints above, they're all probably just as thnakless. And as Jason hints above, he'll burn me to death, so maybe it's better the devil you know (in the words of Kylie, not Sonia, obviously).

Si said...

If Jason does burn you to death would it offend you terribly if I asked you, in advance, for the film rights?

martin said...

If Jason burns you to death, I'll burn him to death!

Yr good man, don't give up - or we'll have no one to stroke at next years swf.

Jason Arnopp said...

I didn't *hint* that I will burn you to death, sir. I will do it. Thus ending my own life too, as Martin splashes me with petrol.

Si said...

Guys, guys - calm it down! Just let me draw up the paperwork before you do anything.

BURN BLOGGERS BURN
A film by Simon Allen
One writer burns another and himself while another burns himself trying to stop the first one and another films the whole thing and becomes famous on the back of it.

laurence timms said...

BURN BLOGGERS BURN II
A film by Laurence Timms

Three dead crispy bloggers come back to zombified life and lurch around killing other bloggers.

One of the zombies writes a novel about his experiences and goes on a book signing tour.

Jason Arnopp said...

I see it as more of a revenge movie. One blogger kills the blogger who killed the blogger he loved.

laurence timms said...

Can they all come back as zombies?

Si said...

Lawrence, I hadn't planned on resurrecting 'the boys' until we got the receipts in for the first movie. You've just made the contracts infinitely more complex. I guess there's no reason why we couldn't, at the very least, plan a straight-to-DVD sequel where we exploit their charred corpses - how about BURN BLOGGERS BURN II - BLOGGERS FROM BEYOND? Now, do we think this has full franchise potential and is there any way we can pitch it to BBC3 as a series?

laurence timms said...

Pitch? It's what BBC3 was MADE for. They've been waiting for this. All we have to do is pick up the phone.

Si said...

Capital. I suggest Stuart does it. It's his story after all.

Stuart Perry said...

Just watched the first episode of Survivors, and come back to find a much more entertaining opus being written here: great stuff, but Si: seeing as we're talking about it here, do blooger.com own the rights already? Get on the phone to BBC3 quick!

Stuart Perry said...

Or even blogger.com

Si said...

Bugger. Better do it now. Just call them and say "Hi. I'm Stuart Perry. I'm gonna give up writing and this other guy Jason is going to kill me and himself in a petroleum frenzy. Another guy is going to try and stop him but he'll probably burn to death too." Don't forget to add that you think 18-25 year olds will find it funny - that's key, Stuart, absolutely key.

Lee said...

Don't back down, Dark Arrow!

Phill Barron said...

Mr Perry, if you've still got that attitude by the time you get to the pub on Tuesday, I'm going to kick you in the nuts so hard the squirrels won't find them until next Winter.

If you're lucky I'll do it after Jason has set fire to you.

Stuart Perry said...

Lee - but the dark arrow is the *master* of backing down - it's kinda my thing, y'know?

Phill - thanks for your kind words. Alright, I may as well come clean: I only posted this so people would rally round and threaten me with violence, I admit it.

David Lemon said...

Hi Stuart
bit of a late-comer to the love fest. Was hoping to embed Kate Bush and Peter Gabriel's 'Dont Give Up' into the post, but I'm too much of a luddite.
If it's any consolation I know the feeling. I'll admit that things have picked up a tiny bit post-faintheart, but it was only last year that I started writing full time and jacked in the 'fly on the wall' camera doc work (not that I'm not proud of some of the stuff I did).
It's true that when your mates and fellow bloggers make a break through you feel both happy for them and horribly envious. As RTD said in that big Who book 'it IS a competition' (or at least feels like it).

As well as novel writing (I'm hoping to have a crack next year myself; an urban fairytale for children)have you considered web drama? The budgets at the moment tend to be lower, but there aren't quite so many 'gatekeepers' (yet) and possibly more of a willingness to go with as yet untried talent....

Helen Smith said...

You silly sausage, my response was genuine. You get to feel important and creative if you write a novel - no-one judges it but you and there's no time pressure.

You write very well so you should give it a go. Poverty is the likely outcome but if you really mean it, if you do it for love, you'll probably be pleased with the result. The secret to writing a novel is to finish it. That's all. Most start, few finish.

Don't give up writing scripts, though, in case Jason should make a conflagration you. Simply combine the two. Scripts bring money, novels bring contentment.

So anyway, are we going out next week? I hope so xx

Stuart Perry said...

David - thanks for the thoughtful comments, as always. Yes - like, probably, everyone I've got an eye on the web drama / comedy possibilities. We shall see.

Helen - apologies for misreading your first - and very funny - post. Of course, I shall be there next week, and I'll be buying too!

Paul Campbell said...

What a silly fellow you are!

Writing stuff isn't something you can "give up". It won't let you.

See you tomorrow.

Stuart Perry said...

Thanks Paul - looking forward to seeing you tomorrow. I never said I was going to give up *storytelling*, just her painted Jezebel of a sister, Screenwriting: and even she's tempted me back.