Friday, 10 October 2008

Time’s a’wasting

Any writer will tell you that time is something that can simply be frittered away and scattered to the wind like petals after rain. Write using a computer and there are so many additional ways to allow time to dissipate. Add broadband and the possibilities are endless. Add children to the mix and sometimes you wonder that you get anything done at all.

Why this musing on time?

Well I’m very good at wasting it…

Also... a friend pointed me in the direction of Scrivener the other day. Scrivener is a Mac-based software programme for writers. I’ve seen it reviewed elsewhere and thought that it sounded interesting. My friend is testing it out at the moment and I’m hoping for a review from a trusted fellow writer.

I’m not suggesting that such software is time wasting. In fact it may be a valuable timesaver. After all, I already have problems keeping track of some of the details of my writing. Did I give that character a child? How old was x when I introduced him? When and where did y and z meet? Computer software can solve such issues very quickly and enable you to keep track of all those piles of notes. I think though that you may need to use them from the beginning of writing as retro-engineering your story into the appropriate format might take a lot of work.

Reading over the specifications for the software I noticed that a new feature had been added since I last looked – a page layout feature “which is important for screenwriters who judge time by a minute-per-page.” I read this over and wondered if it was a minute per spoken page or a minute per page written? In a week where I have miraculously written several pages in spite of one day where I managed two paragraphs before the demands of the day crashed into me, a page per minute written sounds impossible.

I’m not sure whether to panic or scoff so I am simply turning my thoughts to the demands of this weekend. The annual Black Snake Creek Festival is upon us although today’s rain may have other ideas. I am meant to be on the school food stall tonight so if you want to catch up with me I’ll be the one trying, and failing, to tally up your tab in my head.

1 comment:

Vivi said...

As I understand it (I took a class in screenwriting once, but it was a long time ago) a page is a minute no matter what's on the page. It's a rule of thumb, but a pretty accurate one.

It seems accurate to me for dialogue, (including reaction shots) but action scenes? Maybe you're supposed to write the action out pretty explicitly.

I've read about established tv screenwriters who always leave the action scenes until last because they are hard, and boring, to write (it was writers for either Buffy the Vampire Slayer or Farscape, both shows with lots of action scenes).