The random witterings of Jonathan Morris, writer.

Thursday, 3 September 2009

Stuck Inside A Cloud

Couple of additional thoughts about Troilus & Cressida. In order to fix the ending, the battle has been built up into something quite impressive, even if it has few casualties; Troy overhearing Cressy flirting with Diomedes was performed as a sort of immersive eavesdropping, Troy and Ulysses being able to see and hear Cressy and Diomedes and chase them about the stage without Cressy and Diomedes knowing; and Pandarus’ rather perfunctory closing speech was expanded into a proper climactic full-on rant by incorporating reprises of his lines from earlier scenes. Good ideas all. But maybe not good enough to make up for a play which feels like it ends because Shakespeare ran out of writing paper.

Last few days I’ve been making up stories for things which, if the stories I make up are good enough, will be things for me to bore you about next year. It’s surprisingly hard work to be original. Do you want a narrow brief, with settings, characters and developments all stipulated? Or a wide brief, where you can write whatever you want but have no idea where to start?

It’s good to have a ‘shopping-list’ of things to include in a story, because then you have a starting point, a few bones of the skeleton. Then it’s about trying to fulfil the requirements in an interesting and original way.

But where to get ideas? Three places. One is the bottom drawer of ideas I’ve had for other things which weren’t used because they didn’t fit. It’s not an endless supply but it’s healthily bulging. Another is from reading, listening or watching to other people’s stuff; not to nick their ideas, but to get your brain into an idea-buzzing frame of mind. And the third is by going to Gregg’s and buying some coffee.

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