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They Shoot Writers Don’t They…


For Sale:

  • 1 slightly overused brain
  • 1 previous owner
  • Suggested un-diagnosed case of terminal procrastinationitis

So last week I needed to come up with a short film idea for a screenwriting course I’m currently doing. I tried to figure a new one out but couldn’t come up with anything that held my attention. I considered doing a portion of my outlined screenplay idea, an episode of my web series, I also considered writing a short film about a writer who had to write a short film.

In the end I turned to a novel idea I had, which I was considering adapting into a TV show pilot. I ended up not actually deciding on that one either because I couldn’t figure out how to do it in the short time I had been allocated.

I eventually decided to adapt a short story I wrote when I was about 14 or thereabouts. It’s working out quite well.

But I have a problem. Yes, I know it’s hard to believe but a problem I do have.

I appear to have woken the characters from Divinity Inc up from the ice cream coma they were peacefully drowning in. Not that I’ve woken them up with the idea of writing them a TV show. It’s the novel that’s raised it’s head.

Tonight on the train coming home from work I wrote not one but two brief outlines – back cover blurbs I guess would be more accurate – for another 2 novels set in the world of Divinity Inc. That takes the back cover blurb count up to 5. Not too bad for an idea I thought I had the legs of a snail.

I’ve tried for the better part of a week to ignore the blatant push to write the novel. My problem isn’t so much that I want to write a novel. It’s that I do this all the time. Novel, screenplay, thank you note, shopping list, menu, novel, screenplay etc. No matter what I do I spend more time deciding on what I want to write then I do writing. And when I finally do decide that I’m writing a novel or screenplay, the opposite idea pops up and I’m off and running for another couple of months doing nothing but outlining.

I don’t know if it’s procrastination, lack of faith in myself or simply another rather lovely level of self destruction that keeps me drifting between the two, without actually doing a thing.

I’m hesitant to say “I’m now writing a novel” if only because turning around in another month or two and saying “now I’m writing a shopping list” is going to drive me insane.

The only problem I have with any of this is that nothing gets done. It’s been like this since I was a kid. Perhaps part of it is that if I don’t do anything, I can’t finish anything and therefore can’t fail at it. Or perhaps it’s just that I’m much more used to the back and forth dance that I’m damned if I know how I’m going to cope if I do attempt one or the other.

Bah and humbug and poop.

I’ve had this song stuck in my head all day, every day for the last week or so. It was the song I heard one day randomly about a year ago that gave me a “vision” that lead to a back cover blurb that led to the birth of the Principality of Dallensford, that led to an unemployed God, a newly crowned Prince, a perky Vestigial Virgin, a Global Recession and a tavern called the Pig ‘N’ Spit.

That’s how all my writing goes. A song fragment, a “vision” of something random and the story line just sort of tumbles onto the page.  What’s made this particular story so different from the others is the one’s that have followed it. Royal engagements, butterfly hunters, werewolves starring in a dog show, trainee assassins who want to wear a bit of colour, directionally challenged dragons, wandering Gods, and I can’t even think who else have wandered across my mind in the form of images, back cover blurbs etc.

I guess the point to this post is to sort my brain out more than anything else. I’m tired of being tied to this merry-go-round. I either need to figure out what I’m doing or get off it before it makes me any more dizzy. I don’t know if I’m going to write a movie or a novel anymore. But frankly I need to make a decision. If I ever get there I’ll let you know.

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