Monday, June 22, 2009

nearly July

Jings and help ma bob, where does the time go? I just realised that it was June 2nd when I posted that I was waiting on notes from the big agent. The exciting news is that I'm still waiting. Not that I can complain much as the wait is due to a medical glitch resulting in hospitalization. [the agent, not me] Though truth be told I did complain - silently to myself, you know the kind of thing , why me? If it was raining soup I'd only have a fork, etc.

I'd like to think that the reason for my apparent initial lack of sympathy was due to the pressure of holding off another agent who has offered representation and not just because I'm a selfish git. But there is another reason why time is important. As my mate Dublin said, and I paraphrase, 'They all fuck off for the summer' Actually I didn't paraphrase very much of that.

You see, Dublin had pretty much finished his 'going out' draft about this time last year but his agent told him he may as well take his time because there was no point in it going to publishers until September when they were all back from their summer jollys in the fleshpots of Margate or trekking in the foothills of Butlins [I hear times are tough in the publishing world] I figure his agent must have been right due to the amout of zeroes in Dublin's deal when it finally went out in September.

So this delay seems to me to pretty much mean for certain that at best the book won't go out until the nights are drawing in. At worst it won't go out at all of course and that will be another story.

Bearing in mind I began writing the book last September, that's a whole year of my ever shortening life gone for a Burton. That might not seem a lot to you, but I enjoy my earthly pleasures to such an extent that I think the old 'three score years and ten' is wildly optimistic in my case.

What's more to the point is that it looks like I will have to put on a suit for the first time in fifteen years. Yes the time has come when I have to get a proper job. Man cannot live by bread alone and I am doughless. Having concentrated on the novel over the last year and become tired of the whole TV game to the point where I can't be arsed writing for it [and to be fair the feeling is probably mutual in that they can't be arsed employing me] money has become an issue. A few months back I put feelers out in my old career, mainly to please those riding the alimony pony, not really thinking it would ever actually come to the point where I had to do anything about it. But this latest delay which will now turn into months has forced my hand. I've been offered a consultancy job for an initial three months, which suits the time line down to the ground. I figure it'll take them that long to discover I'm crap by which time the book will hopefully have sold.

This is as close to a back-up plan as I ever get.

So that's how things roll at Chez English. The next expected news is next week when I should finaly get the notes I've been waiting for. Coincidentally the week where I should be donning the old whistle and flute [ if it still fits]


Janice Okoh said...

I love reading your foray into novel writing.

Is the holiday thing the same in television?

English Dave said...

Hi Janice, glad you're enjoying it. It isn't quite the same in TV. In publishing it seems that for genre fiction especially you need the big decision makers at their desks at the same time to generate some auction buzz. Auction buzz doesn't tend to happen in TV.

Anonymous said...

You forgot crivvens.

I'm in a not dissimilar boat. A longterm TV writer who's finding it hard to find gigs. This last week I've had two rave rejections - ie, we love your work to bits, but we're offering you sweet FA. That's on top of a series I've put loads of time into for ITV
not getting commissioned. So I'm now starting to wonder if in a business where ITV is commissioning next to nothing and you simply don't have a hope of work for the BBC unless you're an academy writer its worth persevering. Oddly enough, I think we might have worked together on a show - you referenced elsewhere a certain film director's son who I recognised. Anyway, all the best with the book.

English Dave said...

Crivvens!! you're right, god bless the Sunday Post circa 1970 lol

It's a small world anon and clearly we both know the show and the script editor in question.

I guess the trouble with TV is that the avenues are extremely limited. For original drama there are maybe 4 decision makers and if you don't tow the line or your face fits you are pretty much fucked.

For mid level writers the Academy is a bit of a disaster as far as serial drama is concerned. I shared a car on the way to a conference with the exec producer of Doctors who had the same view.

Anonymous said...

I think a disaster is putting it mildly, ED. Its made it all but impossible for a lot of people who've spent years working on those shows, and frankly often doing a very good despite some witless producers and script eds (and, to be fair, some dramatically clued up ones too) to earn a living. And if its hard for us, its even more impossible for new writers who don't get on the Academy. Its interesting that you've had people in that department observe that a generation of mid level writers has effectively been screwed by JY. There are lots of producers and script editors who'll privately express the same opinion. The people who would have to work with me want to hire me but the execs only let them hire Academy writers and graduates.

Meantime, this would all be acceptable if there was a visible improvement in the shows. To me there isn't, far from it, but then I'm biased. However, the numbers say I'm right. These shows are basically there to deliver big audiences to the BBC now and, certainly with Holby and Casualty that hasn't happened. They've lost millions of viewers in the last 3 years.

Oh, and I'll say this about the script editor... he was actually, in my experience, a really nice guy, just not cut out for the job.

On the positive side, I've got serious interest in three original series at the moment, so back to work!

Wolfy262 said...

Hi Dave

My name is Robert Moss but you probably won't remember me but we met a couple of times few years ago, usually in the company of Bill Martell... who, funnily enough, will be over for Raindance in a few weeks.

Will you be available to meet up again? It'd be good to catch up and pick your brains... beer provided of course.

I was the tall guy who - with my co-writer - told you about a romantic comedy set in 1940s Hollywood that we were working on.

That probably doesn't help much. Anyway, drop me a line if you can and let me know if you're up for meeting Bill some time.


Robert Moss (

English Dave said...

Sorry Rob, I screwed up on the techincal side. Hoppefully you now have my email.

English Dave said...

Or a correct spelling at least.

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So the Mayans say we're all going to die this year, but for tradition sake I decided to write up goals just in case the Mayans were wrong.

So I present my goals for 2012:

1) Read. A lot.
I was able to get 57 read this year and I hope to come close to that again in '12. I don't think I'm going to try and top 57 though. If I do, fine, but I'm not going to kill myself (see goal #8). I just want to try and read some every day.

2) Finish edits for Beneath a Broken Sky.

This one is actually very achievable, because I'm almost done. I just wasn't able to get it done in December. This makes a nice easy thing for my list too :-) I like easy.

3) Edit Dagen's story and get it out to beta readers

I really need to come up with a title for this story. The first draft of it is done. Hopefully in the revisions I can find the perfect title.

4) Finish writing 1 1/2 - 2 more novels

I've already got an idea for a sequel to Dagen's story and I possibly have another I can finish. I don't want to commit to getting 2 novel length stories done because I always seem to run into NaNoWriMo and it breaks my stride.

5) Survive NaNoWriMo

And speaking of NaNoWriMo, unless thing's change, 2012 will be my last NaNoWriMo. Both as an ML and as a participant. I love NaNo. I think it's a wonderful idea and it attracts lovely people, but to tell you the truth I think I've out grown it. I've written a couple novels outside of November, I know I have the discipline to write everyday on my own. I don't need the pressure of NaNo to get me to the finish.
I also like my pattern of writing/editing. I write book B while book A is sitting cooling. Then when book B is done, I go back and edit book A. Then I write a new book and the cycle starts all over again. In the last two years NaNo has fallen out of step with my cycle. I really don't like writing two books back to back. I find it draining. I like going back and forth between editing and writing. To do that I need to be on my own schedule, and November just doesn't fit.

6) Stop fussing over the &@^! blog
I like this blog, but it's driving me a little crazy. Sometimes I just can't come up with two or three posts a week to put up here. And I refuse to put up "filler" stuff. I'm sick of fretting over that. It's just not with the time I spend fussing over it (see goal #8). Especially when I could be spending that creative energy working on my next story.
So I'll be putting up posts when I feel like it. My tentative goal is two or three times a month. I might do more. I might do less.

7) Clean the house more then once every three months
Actually my house isn't quite that bad (mostly). This is more of a balance related goal. I tend to get so focused on one thing that I totally forget everything else. So this year I want to try and keep my life more balanced. I've already started doing this, but I want to continue it through the next year.

8) No Stress (This should really be #1)
This is my over all goal. If a certain activity/person stresses me out, I really need to evaluate if it/they are worth my time and mental energy. The answer will probably be no. Life is just too short to put up with people and things that stress me out and drain my energy.

And I think that's about it. I'm sure I'll come up with something else later, but this is enough for now.

Happy New Years everyone!

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