Monday, December 29, 2014

Pictures and plot

This post is in two parts – first the pictures, and then a piece for those of you who are interested in plot and story.

This was our lane the morning after Boxing day when we went out for a walk…


And here is the gate on the next lane…the one we used to lean on, on summer evenings, and wonder what Isaac and family were up to way out west…


You may as well know that I hate the snow. Yes, it’s pretty, but it interferes with my life.

Part 2:

Wanting to write another screenplay, I got out my notes for a novel I started a couple of years ago. I have the three main characters fully developed, I have the main trajectory worked out, and I have the first three chapters written. But.

What is the but? The agent who was very keen on BUT I TOLD YOU LAST YEAR THAT I LOVED YOU, but who in the end decided not to take it on, said “it won't be easy to sell this quiet, delicately nuanced novel in which nothing much (other than Life!) happens in our current horrible publishing landscape.”

The same could be said of my current work in progress. I feel as though I need some big big big things to happen to make it acceptable as a popular TV serial. The trouble is that my brain does not produce BIG things. It produces reflections, insights, interesting characters, quiet everyday emotional dilemmas, funny dialogue.

I’m wondering if story-telling genre is genetic. Neither Gil(8) my grandson, nor his cousin Lux(4) my granddaughter, like watching films with baddies in. They don’t like being scared. And I’m talking about age-appropriate films here. e.g. Gil went to see Paddington with the family at Christmas, and he had to leave in the middle because he didn’t like the baddie. Zoë (his mother) tried to explain to him that it’s just a story and a story needs a baddie, and why it needs a baddie and how it all works out happily in the end. Gil is a boy who likes to write stories (his last two works were  Jaims Bond [sic] and The Zooming Chickin!!! [sic] ) but he was not convinced. He said the film didn’t need a baddie because it was bad enough that the bear didn’t have a home. 

When I was on the screenwriting course in August I secretly wrote on the kitchen blackboard “Plot is a necessary evil” and the next morning, someone had written underneath “Evil is necessary to a plot.”

Seeking inspiration, I just googled “dramatic plot ideas” which produced an entry on Wikipedia called The Thirty Six Dramatic Situations, and listed things like Crime pursued by vengeance, Vengeance taken for kin upon kin, Pursuit, Disaster, Falling prey to cruelty/misfortune, Revolt, Abduction.

Could you see any of these in a Sue Hepworth production? Thoughts, anyone?


Anonymous said...

I'm the same, won't watch or read nasty stuff these days. It worries me that there is so much of it about in films, TV and books - real life appears to be nasty enough. And I know I'm not alone. There are still good, gritty stories told in print and film that don't have this sort of evil in them. They have conflict, drama, problems to overcome etc. and we (the reader/viewer) feel much better for taking the journey with the characters. Don't let the 'evil is essential' brigade stop you - I'd imagine it's all about clever, pithy dialogue and excellent characters rather than action, action, action. Good luck.

Sue Hepworth said...

Thank you. I am encouraged.

Anonymous said...

Sue: with this post in mind I've been watching holiday TV looking for wonderful stories that don't feature evil. My delights of the season have been Mapp and Lucia (didn't see it when Prunella Scales and Geraldine McEwen starred but Miranda Richardson and Anna Chancellor were fabulous) and Esio Trot, written by Roald Dahl and featuring Dustin Hoffman and Judi Dench. The Telegraph critic gave it 5 stars and mentioned 'nuanced' which I know you favour... it is possible to write something wonderful without involving evil, don't let anyone tell you otherwise!!!

Sue Hepworth said...

Thank you! I intend to watch Esio Trot tonight on the iplayer as I don't have a telly. I did try Mapp and Lucia, but wasn't in the mood for it, so will try again while it's still available.