Let's Pretend

Firstly, good luck to all the 2008 Writers Academy hopefuls being interviewed this week!

My Holby episode is filming over the next month. Transmitted in September, I gave it a bleak autumnal feel at the end - characters battling home against the wind and rain etc. Only we couldn't have rain (too expensive) and as I write this, the sun is cracking the flags and bringing my petunias into second bloom. Who'd be a scheduler/director eh? Having to contend with small things like continuity and the British climate. I hope they're all having a good time - I hope my script isn't causing them too much angst or pain. I may go down and watch some filming next week - it's an interesting episode, I'm intrigued as to how some bits are going to be filmed!

Did you ever play Let's Pretend as a kid? My guess is, if you're reading this blog then you probably did. If you're a writer, actor, director then Let's Pretend was probably in the genes. My kids played Let's Pretend ad nauseum when they were younger (not so much now alas, unless it's a form of Let's Pretend they'd rather I didn't know about..).
We would have to pretend a situation - trapped fairies in a witches castle, roles would be assigned arduously (non-negotiable), costumes imagined or actually accrued, and a loose plot line pencilled in so that we knew where we were going.
Let's Pretend could last all day - I would invariably, as the witch/queen/mother of poor orphans, have to prepare tea/run baths in character. It was exhausting.
Not unlike writing.
I do not sit and write in costume mind you.
Switching off is incredibly hard. I have stood at the school gates in odd socks with a glazed look over my face recently, trying desperately to get a Casualty story to come together in my head. I have spent whole evenings supposedly with my family when in my head I have secretly been with Charlie and Toby in the ED.
I used to tuck my kids in bed all tuckered out still in their fairy costumes with blissful smiles, I take myself to bed now, worrying over Dixie and Jeff..

It's the start of the 6 week school summer holiday. I have to juggle writing with child care, it's the most creative I get all year. Thankfully my local council runs free summer courses all through the holidays - my two girls have opted for 'drama' and 'fashion and photography' so I won't have employ a nanny. This is one of the joys of being a writer who writes from home - flexibility. My day can start as early as the crack of dawn or finish at the crack of dawn - whatever works.

I have a wonderful bolt of fabric on the washing line and a new 50's inspired dress pattern - yes I'm waiting for notes again - and will probably have the dress cut out by the time my editor phones me from Bristol.
I could spend the time watching more Holby DVDs as these are now coming thick and fast through the letter box each week. It's a way for regular writers to keep up with the show - a glut of Holby eps back to back can really help move a script on - I get to see the characters walking and talking, can hear the cadence in their voices. It's important.
However it is also important to make a new summer dress whilst the sun is actually shining. I have found an ally in the Casualty story department who knows a thing or two about interesting fabrics and the cut of a good frock - something I hope to discuss with her at the next Casualty story conference on Monday. Along with ideas for the show of course.

I'm waiting on 2nd draft notes for my Casualty episode. Sometimes the leap from draft 1 to draft 2 can be one of the biggest. We completely excised one character from my last Holby script by draft 2. In draft 1 he was thoroughly involved, had a lovely story arc - by draft 2 he was gone. He was holding the action up.
Ruthless eh.


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