I’m going to start my blog by talking about an approach to writing a certain kind of novel (one with a lot of action). I stumbled on this approach by accident. Many years ago (around 2008), I thought I would capitalise on the approaching 2012 London Olympics by writing a comic film script. So I wrote the film script – an interesting exercise in itself – and tried to interest someone, anyone, in it. No takers. So two years passed and I realised I was going to miss my moment if I didn’t do something about it. I decided then to turn the film script into a novel. When I started doing this I found that most of the core problems had already been solved. I didn’t need to imagine new scenes. I had already imagined them – and much of the dialogue. I wish this story had a happy ending but it doesn’t. There was as little interest from agents as there were from film companies – so I self-published, got a good few reviews from regular amazon reviewers and sold maybe (and I think I may be exaggerating) about 20 copies.
So, now that I have a new blog, I am going to compare my film script to the same scene as written for the novel.
EXT. BALINESE STYLE GARDEN. DAY
The garden is a serene space with a carp pool and lotus leaves spread on the surface. In this tranquil place of great natural beauty, ROWAN JONES is at work, writing poetry. The effort of his cerebral work is manifested by his facial contortions. A fish breaks the surface of the pond and then swirls away into its depths. The poet looks with a vacant bleakness at the camera and shakes his head.
The carp in the pool swirled in a sudden frenzy for the crumbs of dried bread that the man scattered over the surface. He watched them tumble and slither over each other as they battled desperately for the little parcels of food.
‘Perhaps, that is how it is with us,’ thought the man. ‘The gods scatter fairy dust and we swirl and tumble in a desperate desire to grab it. To the winner, the spoils. To him who comes second, nothing.’ He sighed. ‘Truly, it is a cruel world. The creation of cruel Gods.’
The bread was quickly gone but the surface of the pond still rippled with activity.
‘We care not for the next man.’ He shook his head slowly as if weighed down by the heavy burden of his thoughts. The ways of the world were not his ways. He was a poet. Poets did not swirl with the rest of personkind. Poets did not swim with other fish, did not share the need for earthly goodies. Poets could go hungry if need be. Which reminded him. It must be about lunchtime. He wondered what little goodie his dear Bronwyn had prepared. He looked down again at the pond. The surface had returned to its smooth pre-frenzy state. Having stirred up the pond with their swirlings and having eaten all the little sodden morsels of bread, the carp had returned to their solitary grazing on the pond bottom. The calm after the storm, he thought.
It was hot and somewhat steamy here in this little Balinese corner. The open brick gazebo was surrounded by a jungle of deep dark green leaves. This was how he liked it, though it was damned expensive to maintain in this appalling climate that he had been born into. Fortunately, Bronwyn was heir to a reasonable inheritance and could maintain him and his Balinese fancies for a few years to come—or so he assumed, never having enquired into the state of their joint finances.
Rowan Jones—for it is he, the almost famous, up-and-coming, Welsh, modernist bard himself—sat down once again and picked up his pen and notepad. Once again he entered that semi-trance-like state necessary for the swirling of words to emerge on the surface of consciousness from the dark liquid depths of the mind, there to be scooped up and placed in the frying pan of his poetry. Do words, he wondered, like carp, battle to be the biggest, fattest, beastiest one in the pond? Do words have souls? Do carp?
These are questions that only the purest souls will ponder. Rowan Jones was the purest soul he knew. As far as he knew he was the purest soul in the whole universe. It gave him a little thrill to know that he was unique.