Sunday, 14 August 2011
Action! Catherine Johnson
This is a happy blog. I have had a good year writing wise, although my finances are in ruins there is plenty of hope on the horizon with a lovely TV commission which I must get writing now.
I've always done bits and pieces of screenwriting and think the parallels between this sort of writing and writing Young Fiction are legion. I thought I'd share, but I do hope you're not all going to go and start writing incredibly brilliant TV drama and leave me standing...
It's obvious really, when we write for young readers we have to tell our stories through action, through drama, rather than simply sitting inside our characters heads. We want our readers to know our characters by what they say and how they say it, and what they do and how they do it, not by streams of consciousness or acres of description.
We need to be able to do good dialogue, to hear our characters speak so our readers can hear them too.
All those little nuances of emotion and tendernesses, all the ways our stories hurtle towards their conclusions, have to be shown and not told.
Every scene has to work really hard, to be revealing as much of the story as possible, to be revealing more stuff about our characters and worlds without once telling the reader or hitting them over the head with exposition.
That's it really, externalise, dramatise and show. Easy.
So I'm off, in my head, to South Tottenham in 1971, (I know? prescient or what!). For a feel good, rags to riches, hard hitting, roller coaster story about the birth of now (the birth of now? Did I just right that? Have I had enough of pitching to TV companies....)
Anyway, there's a great soundtrack, from Ride a White Swan by T Rex, Knock Three Times, by Tony Orlando (and Dawn) to Rougher Yet by Slim Smith http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rTxFJsc1gms if you don't know it.
And of course it may never get made, but hey ho, that's life....
Photo is by Colin Jones