Friday, August 29, 2008

A visitation.

I was out of action for a couple of days this week past, having and recovering from minor surgery. I took Friday off work to stay in bed, but did a bad job of it. It's not often I get to be at home alone (child at creche) without feeling I should be doing something, and what do you know, with no guilt in my brain a new idea floated in unannounced.

Now, normally I would be very suspicious of a new idea while I'm at this stage of writing my novel, and frankly, I'd be a little worried too, as it would make me think my novel was going badly to be letting this usurper come a-knocking. But the big surprise was that it was an idea for a film, not a novel. And as I was having a guilt-free day of doing nothing, my mind was open and it just kept coming and coming in that delicious way that my (infrequent) ideas seem to do. It's one of those ideas that is so simple and obvious that it's unbelievable that it hasn't been done before. I even jumped on the internet to do a bit of research and all my ideas were backed up by real, live, juicy facts.

No, I'm not about to turn away from my job as a novelist and become a screenwriter - I have never really had those kinds of ambitions. But I would like to moonlight for a wee while. Indulge myself in tutu-ing away on something that has no deadline or expectation. I think I'll write a treatment and pass it on to friends and family in the film business and see what they make of it. If they think it has possibility, I might take it up as a project once the novel is finished. Or I might not. It depends how loud it gets.

I know how annoying it is to me when people say "oh, I had an idea for a novel, I might just tippy-tap away and see what happens," so I will acknowledge that screen-writing is every bit as hard as writing a novel and I shouldn't be taking it so lightly. I much prefer novel-writing for the control it gives me over my material. Screenwriters I know are bound by producers, film commissions, and that's just at the script stage; then there's the fact that in order for it to be fully realised, someone has to come along with pots of money, whereas if you write a good novel it is relatively inexpensive for a publisher to produce.

So it is not without a bite of humble pie that I am taking on my new little project, and acknowledgment that it's not as simple as it sounds. 

8 comments:

Gondal-girl said...

ooooo I love when an unexpected but fabulous way come along, a bit like the Alice and the Mad Hatter - he says 'no room, no room', but there is space for her nonetheless -

hope you are on the mend

Rachael King said...

Thanks - I have expanded the post since you saw it, I think.

Gondal-girl said...

I think if you are a story teller you can tell any story you want in any medium...what I am trying to say is Go for it, you obviously have vision and the gift of the gab, let nothing hold you back!

Table Talk said...

You cannot ignore an idea when it comes along, whatever it might be for. Besides, I often find that if I'm working on two projects at once, whatever they might be for or about, the one often feeds into the other.

Jim Murdoch said...

I agree totally. Do your treatment, get it out of your system, and then go back to your novel. I know it's not the same but when I was stuck on my third novel I got an idea for a sequence of short stories and I went with it and they just poured out me for weeks. When I was done I went back to my novel with a completely different head on me which is exactly what I needed. No, go for it.

whitihereaka said...

Ah yes, I've had the same suspicions of a few Johnny-come-lately ideas. I try to bat them away with a fly swot, but they always come buzzing back. I agree with what Jim Murdoch said. Sometimes the diversions do add to the "real" project; perhaps as a key to open up new layers, or just to give you a bit of practise so when you come back you're a better writer.
I tend to try and write what I need to down to get it out of my system and then come back to it. If it is a good idea it won't go off while you're busy on other things.

emmadarwin said...

These days I'm worried if I haven't got a furiously insistent idea for a new novel by about half-way through writing the previous one. I don't exactly bat it away, I indulge it to the extent of making notes and buying books but not writing. It performs all sorts of shape-changing while I finish and revise and revise and revise it predecessor, but it always does become the core of the next one.

Jim - interesting to divert for that long. I've done that after the first draft is finished, but not until then, when I can say the book exists. I'm not sure I'd dare, though I can imagine (because I can imagine?) coming back to the novel with a completely different head.

Good luck with your idea, Rachael, it sounds fascinating. Amazing how some ideas do just arrive, seemingly complete, if in miniature.

Rachael King said...

Thanks for all your comments. I'll continue to mull over it and work on it on teh days when the novel is falling flat, I think.

Novel-writing will always be my first love, but it's nice to have a go at something else! It's definitely a movie idea rather than a novel one - it centres around something that is very visual.