Wednesday, 28 September 2016

DRAGONS and FINAL DRAFT

Playing with images, I found this Chinese dragon, one of the many freebies we looked at (and rejected) as a base for a possible cover illustration for a story about a flying (well not flying exactly, more like gliding) kitten. This is the final cover of DRAGONCAT, designed by my techie expert David who'd never done such a thing before, but who was a very quick learner (unlike me). It was the only book I published without a previous publisher's blessing (the story was deemed 'too gentle', in spite of the fact it feaured a couple of knife-wielding thugs) - in other words, a selfie - and it felt like an achievement for both of us.

Publishers' blessings still mean a lot, and mine have not been exactly plentiful in the last few years. Being published is always exciting, even when it's happening on a regular basis - seeing what began as a few ideas dancing a jig inside your head turn into a physical book comes close to giving birth. But being published (by someone else) has a downside, too, because if it happens a lot, you come to expect it, so rejections, when they happen, hit a lot harder, and writing, once your lifeblood, begins turning into something like a mundane job situation - who's looking for this kind of thing? Does it work? - at which you're constantly failing, while younger, cleverer, more imaginative people are queuing up to take your place.

That's how it's been for me recently until something quite amazing happened - serious film interest in a book first published in the Nineties. The screenplay I'd been persuaded to write about five years ago - an interesting exercise, I thought at the time, but nothing more - now has to be expanded and translated into film format, so I've been told to download a screenwriting tool called Final Draft, on a one month's trial, and can't get my head around it. During my career, I've gone from scribbling on paper to typing, then writing, first on an Amstrad, then a Mac, and finally (and very comfortably) in Word, but Final Draft, so far, has defeated me. I tell myself that once I really get the hang of it, it might work for me in the way it apparently does for all those brilliant screen-writers out there who can't manage without it (it's supposed to be good for novel-writing as well) but it hasn't happened yet, and I feel like a not very bright eight year old presented with one of those mind-boggling long division problems that used to reduce me to tears (anyone remember them?) and then being asked to be creative. Comments more than welcome, but most especially from any Final Draft users.

Autumn - Keats's 'season of mists and mellow fruitfulness' is with us at last, and such a show it's put on so far, even without the leaf change which hasn't happened here yet. The colours in my local woods, due to the angle of the sun, are astonishing, and sometimes I have to walk right up and into them to prove to myself that they're real - silver, hot turquoise, gold. Inside my head is an Impressionist painter - well, several, actually. Oh, and that sky - all yellow-gold and burning orange at the end of the afternoon, with my street trees like silhouettes against the colour show. The last of my homegrown tomatoes are ripening on the windowsill - a perfect still life, and putting on a colour show of their own as they slowly transform from green through to amber, pink and finally, red. How I love this season.

There's a post that keeps popping up on Facebook, about what elderly people facing death most regret about their lives - things not done, challenges not met etc etc. I think my main regret would be my total inability to take myself seriously when I was in my late teens and had so many opportunities - all I thought about then was boys. 

4 comments:

Sandra Horn said...

Great news about the film, Enid!And sympathy about the bloody software. I am failing utterly with 'Sketchup' at the moment. Shrug off that regret, my friend, you were being a teenager and couldn't help it. x

Bill Kirton said...

Congratulations on the film, Enid. I can't help with the Final Draft issues, I'm afraid. I used Scrivener for my last novel and became a convert but I haven't tried any other writing programmes yet. As for the teenager 'regret', I suspect that I'm still acting as I did back then, the only change being for 'girls' substitute 'peanut butter ice cream'.

Enid Richemont said...

PEANUT BUTTER ICE CREAM , Bill??? To eat, or for other reasons (need input from Jilly Cooper here :) )

Bill Kirton said...

Enid, I have absolutely no idea what you're on about!