I got notes back on my treatment at the end of last week. Not bad. But they want some changes. And they themselves have made some changes to the storyline and the characters which means, in turn, that I have to make further changes to incorporate their changes.
And then, of course, there's the enormous gulf between the stuff you put down on a scene-by-scene treatment, and what you put into the script itself. As soon as you start thinking about writing those scenes you realise how hopelessly unrealistic your treatment was, and how unimaginative, and how... boring.
So, I've spent the last few days winding myself up to the point where I can take all that input (the treatment, the notes, the changes, and the realisation that it all needs more oomph) and channel it into an opening scene. And then I just hope to God that the momentum takes me forward and all the way through to the end.
Russell T, in his new book, talks about "the Maybe".
by the time I come to write, a lot has been decided. Also, a lot hasn't been decided, but I trust myself, and scare myself, that it'll happen in the actual writing. It all exists in my head, but in this soup. It's like the ideas are fluctuating in this great big quantum state of Maybe. The choices look easy when recounted later, but that's hindsight. When nothing is real and nothing is fixed, it can go anywhere. The Maybe is a hell of a place to live. As well as being the best place in the world.
Not that I'm comparing myself to the man himself, but I know what he means. As soon as you commit anything to paper, then you narrow down your options - the Maybe becomes a more restricted space. Every creative choice you make shuts off certain alleyways, guides the narrative away from... well, from who-knows-what? Who knows where the story might have gone if you hadn't made the choices you make?
The Maybe contains great stories. I mean really great stories. The best stories I or anyone else could possibly tell, the iconic myths of the future, are all contained in the Maybe. And every time you try to extract them, the result disappoints. It's prosaic. Boring. It doesn't live up to that vision of the story which floated around in the Maybe, goading you.
And that is why I procrastinate. It's why I'm writing this Blog rather than getting on with Scene 1. As soon as I write the opening words, I'm beginning the process of destroying the-story-that-never-was. Of course, I'm also beginning the process of writing the-story-that-will-be. It might not live up to my hopes and expectations, but it will actually exist on paper and, hopefully, on screen. The-story-that-never-was only exists in the Maybe, and it's the sacrifice I have to make if I'm going to produce this episode of Holby City.
But can you blame me for wanting to delay the destruction of something so beautiful, for the sake of something so flawed and mundane?