August 2023 Archive

Progress Report August ’23

Time ticks away… The current WGA strike is now well over a hundred days long – longer than the last one – which has of course brought all writing work on any US-based film and tv to a screeching halt. The writers have now been joined on strike by the actors, which really has killed most development progress even on existing scripts, and naturally this includes the film adaptation of Best Served Cold as well as a few other bits and pieces I’ve got going on. Hopefully enthusiasm is undiminished and things will pick straight back up as and when the strikes are over, but people have other commitments that start to back up and push schedules down and inevitably there’ll be casualties. Fingers crossed the AMPTP dip into the bottomless well of their executive bonus pot soon for the thirsty writers and actors who create the wealth in the first place (and I’m not talking about me – the books pay my bills – so much as young guys trying to get a career going).

ANYWAY, I am fortunate to have a day job on the book side. It’s an ill wind that blows no one any good, and zero progress on other projects means solid progress on The Devils. I’ve now got what I feel is a pretty decent second draft – the right scenes in the right places, the major tweaks, adjustments and improvements done, some steady cutting and fettling. I no longer feel this book will be a career sinking disaster (hey, others may very well disagree when it comes out, but at least I’m getting to like it), which is something I think about pretty much every book as I’m writing it. It’s gone back to editors for a quick read and response, just to see whether they’ve got any concerns with the direction it’s taking for me to bear in mind as work continues.

Then we’re into the more subtle rounds of revision, first of all taking each point of view character in turn, trying to set up and payoff arcs, and also to get as much individual voice into each of them as possible. For that I’ll take things out of order, and look at the chapters from each point of view together, trying to get consistency and distinctiveness into each one. As usual, some of the less frequently used and more intense points of view work pretty well already, but the more ordinary ones that change the most and therefore carry a lot of the weight of the story still need some work. After that round’s done, it’ll be time to look at setting, and maybe to get the detailed line edit out of the way. Still hoping to have a close-to-finished draft by year’s end.

With any luck, the next couple of months shall see a resolution to the strikes. Time will tell…

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