Right I’ve been doing this:
Check it out and the other sillinesses that have been going on at the Lazy Planet Guides…
Go on. Go on.
And now this.
Which is 100% accurate. Guaranteed*
Hello! It’s been a while.
Well – it looks like its been a bit quiet up here at The Lazy Planet towers (basement) but we’ve all been very busy, haven’t we Brian?
Do you mean lazy? I looked them up in the dictionary and “busy” is a very poor desciption of what we’ve been. Especially you. You wouldn’t know “busy” if it punched you, nicked your adress book, then emailed you and all your friends repeatedly to let you know what a lazy f**k you are. Don’t publish that obviously.
While we haven’t managed to secure new funding, Stanley did manage to find some cash he’d “forgotten about” in our accounts. Plus our new office space has given us a new lease of life and is relatively cheap at 126 pounds a month as long as you remember to get off before Seven Sisters.
Sadly a positive upturn in the real job market meant Linneus and Bethan had to leave us temporarily which meant there was no-one to get the tea in. And staff morale was at an all time low with Brian producing over three hundred posts consisting of the words “all work and no play makes jack a dull boy” which I think is from a film or something.. It is with great joy however that I am able to announce that Linneus was fired for inappropriate behaviour and Bethan simply wasn’t as good as she thought she was, so they’re back! Add to that our plan to outsource content from people even less well informed than ourselves and we think we’re on to a winner.
Our New Direction: (Which is actually the old direction. Confused? Yes we were when we were told about it at this morning’s meeting in the car park but we were also told all will become clear so that’s fine, isn’t it?)
With our new lease of life we intent to re-focus our efforts on what we set out to do – bring you the world without actually having to spend any money, or time or effort basically going there and after the phenomonenonominal success of our FOCUS ON LONDON strand we’ve decided to look further afield.
But we have to say we couldn’t do it without you our loyal reader.s
Finally a big thanks to everyone who’s written to us offering to increase our web traffic and bring hundreds more visitors to the site! We’ve been touched.
Before we post again make sure you check out some of our favourite posts which are listed on the site somewhere. [Don’t forget to add the links]
On with the show!
Who’s doing the next one? Can you get on with it please or this could just be embarrassing.
Don’t know how much use this’ll be, but I thought I’d start putting down (up?) my thoughts on the writing process.
Everyone has their own process. Mine changes all the time. This won’t be a “how to” but rather an amble through the various things I do to get from blank page to polished script. Yes there are “rules” I follow. Rules get me over hurdles. Once I’m over the hurdle, I’m free to break them. But they’re also like the teacher that stands over you and says, “You’re doing it wrong”. Annoying, but the sooner you realise they’re right, the easier your life becomes.
As David Ogilvy famously said: “Give me the freedom of a tight brief”
So here we go, in no particular order, this is how I work…
Or at least how I’m working now…
…Well, don’t have one in the first place.
No, not a trite answer, despite how it sounds. The trick is to always have ideas. Always let the ideas flow. They’re like butterflies and you have to catch them. And then you have to squeeze them into little boxes to make them look pretty to other people so they’ll go “Hey that’s pretty neat” and not recoil in horror at the half-crumpled dead insect you have in your hand.
Okay, maybe I took that analogy too far.
Let me explain.
An idea for a show or a movie usually comes in two forms – an image or a “what if…” It comes out the blue, WHAM, and suddenly you feel like you have A GREAT IDEA FOR A MOVIE/TV SERIES. You SEE it in your head, or you imagine a situation – and your brain quickly extrapolates it out – you think “I want to see that movie!”.
That’s your butterfly. Catch it.
Because that is EXACTLY how you want people to feel when they read about your show in the paper or online. You want them to feel the way you did AT THAT MOMENT. Because at that moment it IS a great idea for a movie.
Basically in writing you start with a brilliant, perfect idea then stretch it into 30, 60 or 110 minutes without fucking it up.
But a great movie or TV show needs to do lots more than just be one great scene or image. A great script has to do lots, lots more. But, you need to catch your butterfly and WRITE it down.
Yes. Have a notepad with you. Or something like Evernote. Or iOS Notes. Capture what you thought.
Now you need to fit in the presentation case, or if the dead butterfly with the pin in it analogy is upsetting you, you need to create a lepidopterarium, or butterfly house, and yes I did have to look that up.
I’ll talk more about that in the next post… but in the meantime, here are the key takeaways.
If you’d like to have a pocket guide to carry around with you, then please check out the App
Here’s the truth: No-one does.
As brilliant screenwriter and guru William Goldman once said – “No-one in Hollywood knows anything”.
People think they do otherwise they wouldn’t spend millions of dollars/pounds/bitcoins making what they’re convinced is a hit movie or TV show. They just wouldn’t. Every penny invested in making a movie or TV show is done so because someone thinks it’s going to make them lots of money.
You’ll have realised that “making lots of money” isn’t the same as “being a great TV show”. And there’s the problem. Unless you have an idea that someone thinks is going to make money, it isn’t going to get made. This is true of publishing, theatre or any other form of writing.
So if no-one knows anything, how do you give your brilliant idea the best chance of getting made?
Well, here is the curious dichotomy of the creative world. And it all comes down to the following:
Originality vs Forecast
I’ll unpack that statement.
One one side, audiences (and producers and commissioners) love originality. Who doesn’t? A new character we haven’t seen a million times before, a new setting, a glimpse into a world that we have no idea about, a new moral lesson about the world we live in now, a fresh perspective. We yearn for new experiences. The novel (as in new) is exciting! If you are going to write – YOU have to write. You have to write AS YOU. You have to write ABOUT THINGS YOU CARE ABOUT, about places YOU KNOW ABOUT. Your job is to come up with brilliant new ideas and stories from your imagination. NEVER FORGET THAT. This is yours.
On the other side, if someone is going to lay several million pounds on the table to make a TV Show or a movie then they better have some idea it’s going to work.
How can they possibly know that?
Well, this is where formula and forecasting come in. And here are the main rules:
And the rest is marketing. Stars are marketing. Big posters are marketing. Don’t worry about that now.
So suddenly your best chance of success is to be both amazingly ORIGINAL and DEEPLY PREDICTABLE. Or, if you prefer, RELIABLE…
It starts with the idea. The idea needs to tick a few boxes to even get of the starting block. Here is what it needs to do:
In one line.
For this one, I’m going to turn to the experts…. You can read about it here.
Writing is simply starting with a brilliant, perfect idea then thrashing out 30/60/90 pages without fucking it up.
Welcome to the Little Writing Apps blog.
Thanks for visiting.
I expect you’re wondering why I brought you here. Well, the fact is, one of us is a murderer and I intend to find out who it is.
Sorry, force of habit.
I expect you’re more likely wondering what the devil Little Writing Apps are all about.
Little Writing Apps came about because I write – and there were a handful of little shortcuts and ideas I came to rely on in my own writing. When designing a cast of characters I would reach for the Enneagram so I could be sure I had a diverse group at my disposal. When coming up with ideas for episodes and stories I would always turn to the same universal Themes for ideas. To structure, the Hero’s Journey would help both fire my imagination and keep me sort of on the right track.
I wanted these things with me all the time, so I could tinker with my ideas and capture them. And I thought others might feel the same.
The result is a combination of this blog and the apps. The apps let you have these shortcuts with you at all times in a fun and interactive way, this blog explains the thinking behind them, and for what it’s worth, how I use them.
As it takes less time to create a blog post than it does to write an app ( now there’s an understatement), I expect the blog will be somewhat ahead of the apps… So if you like a post and would like to see an app – let me know!
I don’t claim these ideas are all mine, and I will let you know where they’re from so you can check them out first hand if it helps. I don’t claim they’ll help you make brilliant stories, with vibrant characters who have clear things to achieve in the rich worlds they live in, which you’re able to convey to the reader with an eye for pared-back detail that brings a scene to life through a few choice words and promises conflict and emotional journey. That’s your job. But they might help that journey be more fun.