Back To The Mines

Went to bed early yesterday, phone off by 23.00 and up at 06.20. Banana and coffee for breakfast and then straight to the library. Result? One of the most productive days I’ve had in a long, long time. I’m even starting to quite like my Arts Council application (perhaps some sort of literary Stockholm Syndrome?), and can now see the path to its completion (which is tomorrow).

I started the morning by extending Free Fall a little, as well as putting an extra scene into Kaleidoscope, which brings that up to nine scenes. Free Fall feels a bit dangerous to extend, considering the story isn’t meant to be that big, and I wouldn’t want it to seem padded. So far, all I’ve done is given Andrea a little bit of character action at the start instead of placing her at the girder right away. I also switched out the baby’s photo for the baby’s hospital wrist strap. I hated that I’d used a photo as the symbol of her child. Photos in general feel a bit like cheating. Roland still looks at one of his kid in the final scene, but really it’s the phone that’s his surrogate there so it does’t register as a symbol to the audience (I don’t think!). There’s one moment I’d like to expand out in the middle, long, scene, but after that I think I’ll leave it well alone. I was trying to get it up to an hour, but I’d rather take it as a tight forty five minute piece as, I imagine, would an audience wary of bulked out drama.

With regards to Kaleidoscope, I’m not sure how long it’s going to end up being, but at the moment I want the scenes to be roughly of the same length, pivoting around a long middle scene. By coincidence, flicking through Cloud Atlas today, I see that it uses a similar structure, except in the book’s case, it “mirrors” around its central segment to create a structural palindrome. I’m a huge nerd for structural trickery in narratives, perhaps because I’m not particularly good at conventional plotting and so like seeing what other models are out there. You might perhaps know that Cloud Atlas’ structure was one of the reasons it was considered “unfilmable”. Lesson to all ye non-believers: Hollywood does not believe that anything is unfilmable. Someone will always give it a crack, and in this case it was the Wachowski siblings. Here are two articles discussing how the book’s setup was adapted for the screen. I’ve not been able to read all of either of them due to spoilers but, from what I did manage to get, the comparison is pretty fascinating.

Anyway, with today’s reading I’m forty four pages in now, which is one of the eleven segments (five segments split in two, with one in the middle), and I’m hooked. Can’t wait to set a few hours to plough through it, rather than just snatching thirty minutes here and there, in between my application.

All of today’s Hot Workin’ Action occurred in the LSE library, that Temple of Concentration that I love to worship at, as long as it’s not too rammed. Today I found myself a new favourite spot on the Second Floor – nice bit of space to the side of the desk, and a window view (admittedly, of bricks, but a window nevertheless). Quiet, but not too bleak. The lack of internet access means that I mostly stick to one task and get lost in it in a way that I don’t elsewhere. Often, if I’m at home, I’ll try watching a show in one corner of my screen whilst working in another, and I think I’m killing two birds with one stone, but really I’m just doing both badly. There was none of those shenanigans today and my mind felt like one that belonged to a proper person, not some distraction monkey.

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