Thursday, 9 October 2008

I love concertina computer paper

I am a literary luddite, and fairly happily so.

From my first sketch for Newsrevue in 1983, through sketches for radio and TV, via stand-up material for a couple of stand-up comedians, through episodes for a radio sit-com to a script doctor job on a screenplay, my physical act of writing method has not changed.

My desk contains.......
An A4 pencil – HB or H – which is regularly sharpened by my invaluable Westcott iPoint electric pencil sharpener. The pencil is always topped off with a perfectly weighted waving Jesus. When the pencil is sharpened down to about 3 inches it is then discarded. Definitely NOT biro or gel-pen and never straight into a computer!
A rubber eraser – preferable long and thin, which is now difficult to find. Definitely NOT a plastic eraser!
A stack of (used/scrap) A4 paper. And NEVER prisitine double-sided blank A4 paper.
A smaller stack of A4 concertina computer paper.

For me, born in the 50’s, there is something very early-years about writing in PENCIL on PAPER.
I started using concertina computer paper when I wrote my first, optioned screenplay: as the story unfolds so the story unfolds chronologically unfolds on concertina paper to reveal a wavy flow charting plot, characters and some snippets of dialogue. As the days and weeks stretch out a very ‘rough’ draft of concertina paper is replaced by a more ordered draft of concertina paper. And so it goes until I might have discarded 3 or 4 drafts. The final draft will then be used as a template from which to write the script.

Whereas the plotting stage may take 6-10 weeks, the first written draft of the script may take only 4-6 weeks. This may go through 3 or 4 improved drafts before transposing the script to computer using the best screenplay software - Movie Magic Screenwriter; though, in this case, for the novel, I’ll be using Microsoft Word software.


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