So, how are other people getting on with their entries for the BBC Sharps competition?
With just over a week to go before the final posting date (entries have to be in by noon on Monday 16th June), I think I’ve finally got the content of mine sorted out in my head, though taking that swirly mass of ideas and actually getting it into some vaguely coherent string of words on paper is, of course, the big challenge.
I don’t know how other people work, but I usually like to scribble down all the bits I want to put in a story in list form, then once I’ve come up with the story idea or structure that I think fits it best, and hopefully allows me to put in all the bits I like, then I decide the order of the scenes by shuffling them around until it all feels kind of right. Sometimes this is on post-it notes, other times on bits of card, and if the stationery is in short supply, then sometimes it’s just the ‘what goes in’ list modified to some kind of running order.
I’m roughly at this stage now – I know who my main character is (her name’s Carol, since you asked), the opening and closing lines of the piece, and pretty much what happens in between, but I need to put more flesh on this skeleton. Given the way my waistline’s expanded in recent years, this doesn’t appear to be a problem in literal terms, but I suspect it’ll be slightly more work in a metaphorical sense (though both processes share the feature of me needing substantial amounts of tea and cake). I’m hoping to finish off the structuring bit of it by the end of today (Thursday), and that leaves me a week to pour the words and events out of my head, which I think should be feasible – they’ve been percolating there a while now, after all.
The above isn’t always the way I work, mind; it tends to vary depending on a whole number of circumstances such as time and availability of tools and of course the nature of the piece itself, but at the moment, this one seems to be functioning okay for me. I’d be interested to know what methods you folks out there tend to use – longhand, straight to screen, lists, post-its, or are you all geniuses like Mozart who can just throw it down on the page and it’s exactly as you envisioned without the need for any changes? Do let me know, I’m genuinely curious…
And finally (for now) on this subject, I was privileged this week to cast my baby clues over a draft of Chip Smith’s script for Sharps (with his permission, I’m not some kind of weirdo… well, all right, I am, but not that kind of weirdo), and jolly good it was too. The standard, methinks, should be pretty high (not least because of the fairly broad nature of the brief allowing some imaginative leeway), so I think I shall have to try to bring a game, rather like on the last day of term at school..
Oh, hold on, the phrase is ‘bring my A-game’, isn’t it? Ah well, I’m sure you know what I mean.