Wednesday, 1 July 2009

The Day They Tore The Dark Room Down - Part 3 of 3

I've posted the final part of my short story, The Day They Tore The Dark Room Down here.



'And as the flayed man stepped through the glass the reflection on the other side became even more distorted with parts of it shrinking and other parts, its head, feet and hands, remaining the same size. The thing that remained on the other side was not a man at all, but a tiny, ugly clown.'

I've put links to all three parts here in case you need to catch up:
As promised, here's a brief explanation for something I've been working on for a decade or so now. I wrote the script for The Dark Room out of frustration from writing other people's ideas and stories rather than my own - not because I thought my ideas were better, but writing had started to feel like a job rather than something I enjoyed doing. It was a project I'd been working on for years in one form or another and incorporates characters and storylines from aborted scripts or novels or short stories that were once really important to me and have since been abandoned. But whenever I revisited those old projects I always came away liking the characters, so I decided they should all get together in this one new project.

I wrote it as a script because I didn't know how to do anything else - I hadn't written any prose for years and even when I did I was never that great at it, which is partly why I started writing films. Also I figured it could make a nice writing sample - I've never really been under any delusions of it actually being made. So I wrote the draft in between other projects - I blogged about it occasionally if you click 'The Dark Room' label you can follow a brief history of the development of the script. You can also read the first ten pages here.

So I finished it and was pretty happy with it and gave it to a few people to read who gave me some really great feedback in return. Thoughts on the script were generally positive and a couple of people really liked it a lot. But I started to realise that I hadn't really got what I wanted out of it.

The difficulty with scriptwriting is that what you produce isn't finished until it's made into a film. That's something I understand and have learned to live with. It's all part of the process, but with The Dark Room I knew I'd written something that would never be made into a film, but I wanted people to take it as a finished artwork rather than the blueprint for something else. Obviously I couldn't afford to film it myself and even if I could, I'm not a director - it would be bad. I thought about getting in touch with an artist and doing it as a comic, but from working on comics before I knew how much time needed to be spent on the artwork and finding a great artist to work on something like this for free would be hard work. So that left writing it as a novel.

Going through my notes I found that I'd tried this a couple times before, but had given up after the first few pages. At least with the script I had a structure and a plot now but it still seemed like a massive project in a medium that I wasn't used to. So I decided I'd go back to short stories instead and see how things worked out from there - do they work, do I enjoy writing them, that kind of thing. The plan was to write three in a year, each one focussing on one of the main three characters. Given that it's taken me 6 months to finish the first one that might be a bit ambitious, but I'll see how it goes.

The whole thing is rather self-indulgent. There are things I should probably change - two of the main characters have very similar looking names, for example, and the title The Dark Room has been used for a billion other peoples' projects. But none of that matters at the moment. Ultimately this was a project that I used to remind myself why I enjoy writing.

Also, most of it was written when I was in no condition to handle the technical nature of scripwriting but wanted to write anyway- i.e. in the early hours of the morning or when I'd had too much to drink. That probably shows.

2 comments:

Ross said...

ANOTHER CLOWN???

Are you TRYING to kill me???

Kim Kasch said...

Oh....my son is working on a script. I'll have to tell him to stop by your blog.