2007 Writing Journal – Part 7

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I’m taking a blog break to do another Project October. In place of my normal blog posts during July, I will be posting in nine parts a writing journal I completed as the major assessment piece of my final master’s subject called The Writerly Self.

This is Part 7.

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26 April 2007
I spoke to my father today and he asked me, as he periodically does, what the latest was on the big screen adaptation of The Lone Ranger. When I checked the website, which had previously said they were working towards a 2009 release to coincide with the 75th anniversary, it said that plans for the movie had been shelved. Dad was devastated.

A little idea started forming in my mind that maybe I should have a go at writing the screenplay for it. I have all of Dad’s old Lone Ranger comics and I know the stories so well, especially the foundation stories of how he became the Lone Ranger. It’s a great story, too, a real hero’s journey, and there is lots of potential to give the old story some new life. I’m not sure I understand why they’ve shelved the plans to make the movie.

Writers always say that it’s important to have a lot of projects going all at once. I think it was Carmel Bird who said she usually has fifteen things she juggles at one time. I’m starting to feel a little like that. I’m 80% of the way through writing my novel, I’ve written 12 episodes of one television show, I’ve developed a detailed concept for another, I’ve got two or three ideas for film screenplays already on the boil and now here’s another one. But my limitations in being able to bring them all to fruition frustrate me a lot. Sometimes I feel that I’m losing focus. Or not focusing on the right project, the one that will catapult me up the ladder a little, the one that will be my foot in the door.

A novel seems like the most obvious choice for someone as unpublished as I am, but my best work is in my television and film script writing. That makes sense when dialogue is my strong point. I’m not great at prose and necessarily a novel is full of it. I think when people read my novel they are going to find it very filmic.

Anyway, that frustration I wrote of is at quite high levels at the moment so even though I said I was going to put my novel aside while I was doing this subject, I just need to go back to working on it. It’s like receiving chocolate at Easter and deciding not to eat it until Christmas. I probably should have known I was never going to make it. Writing and chocolate are good analogies for me. Two things I can’t do without for very long.

30 April 2007
Ironically, since this is the last subject I will be undertaking in the master’s degree, this week’s discussion thread question is about the difference between writing a thesis and a film or novel. I met Josie Arnold once at a book launch last year and when I told her how much I was enjoying the course, she said I should think about doing a PhD after I was finished. I’ve given it some thought. My understanding is that I would be able to submit 80,000 words of fiction and 20,000 words on a related thesis style issue. Considering I am writing action, an appropriate corollary might be an exploration of the portrayal of women in Australian action fiction. I’ll always remember a lady named Rosemary in one of my very first classes talking about Clive Cussler, an American action writer, and one of his female characters whipping off her bra to bind the wounds of the hero. We both agreed it would hardly be practical, considering underwire and fabrics. But that seems to be the sort of thing women written by men do in this genre.

But it seems like a lot of work, a lot more work, and I think I’d really rather just focus on finishing my novel and possibly starting work on a sequel, because it seems like you always have to be working on a second novel before a publisher will consider giving you a contract, just to prove that you’re more than a one book wonder. And really the portrayal of women in Australian action fiction would hardly be an important contribution to the field. I think I’ll leave the title of Dr to those in the medical and scientific fields.

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