Jamie Mathieson
 

writing

So in theory a place to talk about various aspects of writing for a living. In practice a catch all area for short stories and articles which don't quite fit anywhere else...


THE OLD BOYS NETWORK

'My script would definitely get made, if only I knew the right people. It's all just who you know. I just need to break into the old boy's network, and then I can be a success.'

I used to believe some version of this. Used to think that I already had the talent and the only thing stopping me succeeding was the right contacts. Because the alternative was unthinkable. Namely, that I wasn't good enough yet. And might never be.

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shelves of the trade

I think The Singing Detective was the first screenplay I actively sought out and bought. It was probably a bad example in some ways, for brilliant though the TV series is, Dennis Potter wasn't exactly skimpy with his stage directions. He was directing from the page, a habit I can still sometimes fall into.

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spec scripts are your friend

(Firstly, a definition for the non industry types. 'Spec' is short for speculative, and basically means you're writing something that no-one asked for and no-one is paying for. You simply had the idea and decided to write it.)

When you start out, everything you do is spec, because you are either trying to entice an agent, or you've succeeded and the agent is trying to drum up work, both activities that require proof you can write. Thus, specs.

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short story: my dad, the doctor

We were walking Biscuit when we found the sunglasses.

The air was cold enough to sting a little when you breathed it in, coming out in clouds of steam that made us all look like dragons. I was busy breaking icy puddles with my new wellies when I heard Dad laugh.

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writing 'my dad, the doctor'

Now I'm going to bang on a little about writing it, no doubt using more words than the actual story. Mainly because I love reading that kind of thing from writers myself and thought it might be fun.

The first thing to say about the story is that I didn't want to burn through an idea that could be used in the show. Having an actor pretend to be 'possessed' by Capaldi would be a real risk in live action, but in your head, the impression is pitch perfect, making the conceit work well in prose. Also, much of it goes on the child's head, all thoughts that would have to be vocal in life action, making it potentially clunky.

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2000ad square.jpg

2000ad and me

Judge Dredd. Rogue Trooper. Slaine. Halo Jones. Nemesis the Warlock. If you are of a certain age and geek status you'll just know. From the age of nine onwards the comic 2000AD and these characters, this attitude, were a massive part of my mental landscape. Buying the comic on Saturday became a magical ritual. The stories and characters are seared into my memory. Thirty years later I can still quote swathes of it verbatim. My shelves groan with comics and geek ephemera, all of which sprouted from that weekly fix.

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