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Sunday, 16 May 2021

Could it work 2? Well let's see

A plot would be much more detailed. This is a mere skeleton covering the initial section where the three main characters (Gladys, nearly 6 ft; Elsie, “shrill” and Sarn, “the fella”) are introduced and touch gently on each other’s worlds. All are from lower middle-class backgrounds; none has much money. The location is an unnamed Lancashire town. The time is the present.

Part one. Gladys. Gladys works in the packing department of a Pakistani online clothes and accessories operation. Her friend, Nasrin, is the oldest daughter of a Muslim family. Both long to be actresses and are members of a local ADS. Both face problems which are detailed. They set out together for a weekend at a Rural Acting School (ie, lessons in tents). Their lives unroll as they travel (by bus). During one session the audio system is at fault and, Sarn, the resident AV engineer is called in. Sarn and Gladys talk briefly and decorously. Gladys admits she is “too tall” to be an actress. Sarn says “concentrate on your voice”

Part two. Sarn. The job at the Rural Acting School pays peanuts, the equipment is aged and unreliable and Sarn is continuously busy into the night. But he’s happy to be away from his two-room flat in the unnamed town. More particularly to be away from his perpetually angry father a disappointed trade unionist who disapproves of Sarn’s freelance, non-unionised life.

Part three. Elsie. Her boss decides, ill-advisedly, to create a company video. But on the cheap and this becomes Elsie’s responsibility. Prices are way beyond her budget and the only solution is under-qualified Sarn who will also act – reluctantly – as director. The project is doomed but staggers on. Elsie blames Sarn but he absorbs her criticism amiably. The boss insists on speaking the narrative and makes a pig's ear of it. Desperate, but with no money to spend, Sarn asks Gladys to do a freebie.

8 comments:

  1. I suggest you just write it, Mr R. After a while don't the characters take over anyway and do their own thing?

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    1. Garden: In what I now consider to be the peak of my youth (from age 35 to 45) I wrote several novels with only one aim: to finish them as quickly as possible. One of them caught the eye of an agent and he took me out to lunch. Alas nothing came of it.

      In 2008 (aged 72) I decided to take novel-writing slightly more seriously: devising characters I felt I could develop, putting them into situations which interested me, occasionally exploring moral and emotional dilemmas, paying attention to the style of my writing and (quite often) taking time off to consider the needs of the reader - which resulted mainly in adding "he said" and "she said" more often than I'd first thought necessary.

      This is quite hard work but no more than planning and maintaining a garden. I did it because I felt the urge. Four novels have subsequently emerged. Latterly I've devoted most of my failing energy to learning to sing the classical repertoire and this has slowed down my novel writing. Novel Five is just over 56,000 words long, with another 40,000 to go. Progress is snail-like.

      In bed a week ago I was visited by another idea for a novel. One that would test the precepts on which most novels are based. I've been lucky with my blog in that some readers have shown a creative interest in what I've written. Might it be fun to invite their participation right from the start with a new novel? I did this with the previous post, Colette responded and this post is the next step.

      If it were just a matter of letting characters "do their own thing" then I'd have dropped novel-writing a long time ago. For better or for worse my novels must represent my present ability - or lack of it - to do new things with language. To imagine scenes and then - the really hard bit - to "animate" them. In the past I've regularly included short extracts of WIP. I intend to do the same again.

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  2. Procrastination is an evil Bitch...so I have been told time and time again, "Finish what is closest to being finished?" If a character is screaming at you, demanding to be heard, work him/her into your unfinished project. I think the sub-conscience tries to persuade in your best interest.
    Just a thought.

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    Replies
    1. Sandi: I know all about procrastination. The current novel (Rictanguar Lenses), presently stationary at 56,000 words, was launched in November 2015 For a time it progressed at the same speed as the other four, each of which took about two years to complete. But an unforeseen upheaval in my life occurred a month later; for reasons I still don't understand I decided to take singing lessons and they have absorbed me ever since. Writing fiction and learning to sing aren't similar activities: one squeezes the juices of my imagination, the other demands intense physical and mental concentration. Fiction is a solo effort, singing owes a tremendous amount to V, my teacher, and I cannot let her down. Don't want to. But both activities occupy me and at 85 my various powers are in decline. Hardly the time to launch another novel, you'd say. Time to take a risk, perhaps.

      Thanks for your interest.

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  3. It's working so far.

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    Replies
    1. MikeM: Characteristically brief; more than welcome.

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  4. They are starting to take shape in MY mind now. Let's see where they go.

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  5. Very interesting, Good job and thanks for sharing such a good blog and you can get it from here Touch Control Bedside Table Light.

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