Like anyone who writes for more than passing pleasure, I have several projects on the go at the moment. And even more that would be on the go if I could only kick myself up the rear-end and get down to it.
My main focus right now is re-drafting Family Rules ready for publication later this year – as a way of keeping myself motivated through the re-draft, I decided to post it online while I was doing so. This had been suggested to me by my brother-in-law and good friend, Mark Henning, who makes beautiful music out of Vancouver, Canada (check out Combine The Victorious and Guilty About Girls). Since the first chapter was posted in March this year, it’s had a little over 6000 visits, which is very cool and, to be honest, many more than I expected. As always with a redraft, I’m bored, but enjoying the process of tightening things up; and falling a little in love with the story all over again.
I’m partway through my first original screenplay, working title Team Building, where Office Space meets Lost with distinctly dark outcomes. The original plot-line for TB was hatched in a bar in Ann Arbor, MI with another writer, Elton Greig. It’s been gradually brewing for a number of years, however I have no idea of whether it’s on the mark or not – screenwriting as a medium isn’t natural for me – story, yes… script layout, not so much – and I recently sent the current draft to my mate, Laurence Blyth, who since we were at school together has pursued a career as film cameraman and now DP. He liked it a lot, which gave me the kick to keep going and bring it to resolution – bring on the slaughtered goat!
[that’ll make sense when you see the finished movie]
Musically, version 2.0 of the Monkey68 live crew is about to play our first gig (hopefully) towards the end of the month. It’s a very relaxed set-up and we’re having fun. I’ve released a lot of tension that was locked into my playing style and am feeling the benefit. I have a number of songs in development, one in particular that is very close to being recorded – it’s about my dad (who has been very, very ill) and is pretty heartfelt. He is a strong man and has given strength to me – I love him. The song is untitled as yet, and should be done in the next couple of weeks.
Now we get to the fun bit – all the things I’m thinking about…
About a year ago, I launched We Are Story, a writing experiment – and was, for a while, pretty prolific over there. The idea of We Are Story is quite simple. Anyone can join (it’s free) and contribute to a central story, told in ‘pods’ – about 500 words. The only catch is that only 5 draft pods are in play at any one time, and any one writer can only have 3 reserved. This means that no one writer can dominate the story, and that threads can develop without being fully realized by one person. Oh, and once a writer reserves a pod, it’s only live for 5 days, then it disappears. It works much easier in practice than it does to describe it here. Now that I’m emerging from some pretty big life changes, I’ll be heading back over to We Are Story – there’s something about the David Lynch-esque story developing there that has me intrigued! If you write, and want to explore or simply practice, come on over and join me.
As I mentioned in my post yesterday, I’m going to experiment with recording some chapters of my already published novels: Do Sparrows Eat Butterflies? and Karaoke Criminals. I did a test reading yesterday of both and think it may work – though it’s a little weird speaking aloud what I’ve spoken in my head up until now. I’ve done my fair share of acting, and am always reading books to our girls, but there’s something very, very different about speaking my own words. It’ll be an interesting experiment to head down into the studio and record the chapters.
On the subject of Do Sparrows Eat Butterflies?, I’m highly likely to start working that into a screenplay before the end of the year. Jane and I were kicking around ideas and believe that it can be transported from its original British location to the North East US. So, the original’s Ramsgate becomes New London, CT and Certainty will either be out on Cape Cod or up in New Hampshire (undecided as yet). If you don’t know what Certainty is, you should buy the book!
The final major work that’s dancing around in the back of my thoughts is a business book, targeted at my former professional cohort, HR. It’ll draw together various strands of emergent neuroscience and management literature to challenge the function to rip apart all the stuff it’s introduced over the past twenty years, destroying the unwitting and counter-productive bureaucracy of the ‘modern’ organization. It’s working title is ‘Destruction HR’ and the first line will be ‘This book does not contain any best practices’ because HR is notoriously guilty of reading about ‘best practices’
[which, btw, don’t exist]
and blindly adding them into their own business – HR is guilty of being a relentlessly additive function. I’ve yet to decide whether Destruction HR will be written and published under my own name or my corporate alter-ego, BadConsultant. That decision will guide both the style and format – so it’s important to get it right up front!
I guess all I can say on all of the above is stay tuned.
[I daren’t say more, I have too much writing to do!]