There’s not much on the tele’ these days, is there? I know I told you all to watch War & Peace but to be honest, there’s a bit too much ‘War’ in it for me and when that horse got killed in the first episode, that was IT! (I didn’t mind the incest but the horse death was too much).
Anyway, because of the lack of anything good to watch, we have returned to an old favourite: The IT Crowd.
I think it’s very funny (and in these gloomy times, I need funny), BUT you might not, so don’t blame me if you watch it now and hate it. (But it may appeal if you’ve worked in an office with lots of weird people).
There’s an ‘extra’ bit on one of the DVDs, in which the writer of the series, the very talented Graham Linehan (who also wrote Father Ted and Black Books), talks about ‘how he does it’ (these could apply to a novel too but if you’re particularly interested in writing a sit-com, you might find these tips on the BBC Writers Room website useful).
Before he starts to write a new series, he writes any ideas he has for a situation – this can be an idea, a word, a line of dialogue – on a card. By the time he sits down to try to do something with those cards, he has about 100. He then spreads them out in front of him and tries to make connections. How can he put them together?
Then he writes the first draft and he admits it’s ‘painful’ and what he writes seems childish and the characters don’t seem like themselves. But he looks on the first draft as really ‘just a bunch of notes to work with’. And you need something to work with, or you’ll get nowhere.
It’s good to know that someone as successful as Graham Linehan finds it hard going at times. Writing is hard work, isn’t it?
Which is why I have a stash of THIS.
As I’m in the middle of writing my serial for The People’s Friend, which is set in a chocolate factory, I think it’s only right to eat some of the stuff, to get in the mood. And in case you’re interested, I submitted Part 2 to the editor, Shirley Blair, last week and she came back with a few suggested tweaks, which I have now done and I’ve just sent the revised version off to her. So, we’ll see what she says. Hope she doesn’t say, ‘Actually the first version you wrote was better…!’ Eeek. So scary.
This lovely little book ‘Still Writing, The Perils and Pleasures of a Creative Life‘, which is like sitting down with a good writing friend and having an inspiring chat.
A lot of what author Dani Shapiro says, really resonates with me.
This, perhaps even more than The IT Crowd, I can recommend! Ooh, and I’ve just discovered that Dani Shapiro has a blog, so I shall be reading that too.
Come on, share! What are you watching, eating, writing and reading this week?
PS: I have a new laptop! It’s BLUE. But even better than that – it has a ‘B’ key!