Wait, I Have a Tumblr?
I guess I haven’t logged into this yoke for a long, long time.
The reason I’m back for this one-and-done blog is that rapscallion Nev Pierce has tagged me to take part in the Writers’ Blog Tour. (You can see Nev and his writing partner Jamie’s answers here: http://pierceandrussell.tumblr.com/)
Below are my answers to the four questions each writer is answering. I wrote this quickly so forgive me if it’s not as fun as it should or could be.
Over to me.
1. What are you working on?
I’m usually working on a few things at once but I’m mostly writing one script at a time. I write fast so it’s not a problem but I can’t really give a project my all if I’m carving up my days and trying to juggle multiple worlds at once. I have nine projects right now that I’m juggling but I like all of them so it’s not the headache it would usually be. I’m doing revisions on a horror comedy script for my producer in the States. That will take me till mid-July. I have a few outlines I’m taking meetings on and doing revisions on right now too and I start my second draft on a different script for a director in LA at the end of July that will take me through to the end of August. I have a sci-fi road trip comedy project set up in the UK to write probably right after that, if it goes ahead.
2. How does your work feel different to others of its genre?
I’m not sure but I’ve been told there’s warmth to my writing, regardless of the genre. I just like to find the joy in whatever I’m writing and I enjoy stories that are clever and light on their feet. I like concepts that work as metaphors for something more meaningful, too. I guess silliness and sincerity would be my style - although I’ve written many scripts that aren’t like that - I’m probably known for being irreverent and earnest in how and what I write.
3. Why do you write what you do?
Simplest of answers: I love movies, and TV. I have a cheesy but honest answer to this but you’d need to buy me a few drinks before I can share it.
Over the years the more I’ve learned the less qualified I feel to give advice to other writers but the one rule I’ve yet to break and has stood me well thus far is to ‘always write what you love but never be in love with what you write’. I write what I want to see, plain and simple. Everything else, like getting to work with creative people, very different to me, is fun and rewarding on its own but I really write what I would love to watch.
4. How does your writing process work?
Usually, although it can vary, I start with a concept – the originality of which is key – and then I find characters that are in conflict with the concept. The characters usually dictate the theme and the theme mostly helps me make choices and shape the story.
I’ll usually write a detailed beat sheet (a to-do list) – breaking it down into turns and reveals and act breaks – and I’ll cram that document full of ideas and moments I want to see. Sometimes, if I’m not writing a spec, I’ll write a very detailed outline that will oftentimes run ten to twenty pages. I’ll take maybe a month or so to break the story in that form and then I’ll write a first draft very quickly, usually in under a week or two. The fastest I’ve written a draft was three days but those drafts are mostly just for me. They’ll have scenes that are unreadable but they act as reminders for what I’m intending to have happen. I’ll polish that first draft over another week or two, then share that draft with a few people I trust, and who know what I’m capable of writing when I’m really digging deep, and then I’ll do an official first draft based on their notes, which I share with my reps (if it’s a spec). My reps will have a more comprehensive response to the script at that stage and I’ll either write an official second draft or put it down for a bit and work on something else – starting the process all over again.
And, I guess, that’s me done. Will this do? It’ll have to. I’m up the walls. UP THE WALLS, I TELL YOU.
Maura McHugh is a writer living in Galway, Ireland. Her short stories have appeared in magazines and anthologies in the UK and the USA, and she’s written two collections called Twisted Fairy Tales and Twisted Myths, which were published in the USA. She has written the comic book series Róisín Dubh, and Jennifer Wilde (nominated for an Eagle Award and a British Fantasy Award) for Atomic Diner Comics, and has co-written the mini-series Witchfinder: The Mysteries of Unland with Kim Newman for Dark Horse Comics. She’s also written part of a horror anthology play called The Hallowe’en Sessions, which was staged in London. Her web site is http://splinister.com and her twitter handle is @splinister.
Mark Stay is currently working on a number of script projects, and recently co-wrote Robot Overlords with director Jon Wright for Piers Tempest’s Tempo Productions. This is now in post-production and is due for release in 2015. He has also completed the novelisation of Robot Overlords, which will be published by Gollancz at the same time as the release of the film.
Den of Geek Interview
Grabbers has been nominated for four IFTAs! If you’re not aware of the IFTAs, they’re the Irish Film and Television Awards, similar to the UK’s BAFTAs. We’ve been nominated for Best Film, while Ruth was nominated for Best Actress, Bronagh was nominated for Best Supporting Actress and I was nominated for Best Feature Script. I’m thrilled.
The awards take place on February 9th and they’ll be broadcast live on Irish TV. Here’s the full list of nominees for 2013 IFTA awards.