Stuff and More Stuff

Last week was pretty much a write off for me. I was off work with a bad migraine on Monday; Tuesday and Wednesday were fine, then, of course, it snowed on Thursday and I was one of only 6 out of thirty foolish enough to turn up at the office. Then I was off again on Friday with a stinking cold which wrecked my weekend. Still, at least I answered Des’ last min call for stories for the Valentine’s issue and got a story accepted. And I got paid by Ruthie’s, which is always a bonus. Oh, and our work syndicate won £1800 on the lottery on Wednesday, which is about £60 each. Now, do I buy the wife something nice or get the new hard drive I’ve been promising myself for six months? Who said we have freedom of choice? We all know what I’m going to spend the money on, don’t we?

“Little Miss Movie Star” is still taking up most of my creative energy. I still hate the title and will change it eventually, but I’m really enjoying writing it. It is, however, nearly 20000 words at the moment and we’re not yet at the real ‘meat’ of the story. I have no idea how long it will end up.

One interesting thing that has happened in writing this piece is that this weekend I’ve had to stop work on the plot and look at the ‘backstory’ instead. In particular, I’ve had to make notes on Chloe’s history. Chloe is a film star and has been all her life, well, most of it. And as such, many of the other characters have mentioned some of the films she’s been in. I’ve been fairly offhand with the references, and this weekend I had to make a list of them in order to keep track. I think it might be worthwhile as the story progresses, if I go into a little more depth and semi-formalise this list so that I don’t make any stupid errors—such as having her play a divorcee at 16 or something. I’ve also had to make a list of her ‘famous’ friends, and how she knows them-again just to keep track since most of them are mentioned in off-hand moments and I don’t want to contradict myself.

I think ‘backstories’ are important when writing longer pieces. You need to have the history clear in your mind as a writer, even if you don’t give that history to the reader. It helps you ‘know’ your characters better which in turn makes them more realistic. I had to look into the backstory quite a lot with “Charlotte’s Secret”. Just about the time I get ready to write the climax, I had to sit down and work out exactly who did what to who and when so that all the dates married up at the end. Then I had to go back into what I’d written and make changes to match up with the newly created history.

This weekend, I’ve also started the arduous process of splitting “Movie Star” into chapters. I don’t like doing it, but it does have to be done. I like to keep my chapters to about 3500-5500 words and the story is lending itself to that length, which is fortunate. I’m currently on Chapter 5, although, the chapter breaks are rarely fixed and I won’t be surprised if they move before I’m through.

Since I’ve teased you, here’s a list of the films that Chloe has been in, or is going to be in.

  • “Don’t say Goodbye” had an awful script, but Chloe “showed what she can do” (according to one of the characters) in “To Eternity and Back”. She was also very good in “Until Midnight” – which may have been an action movie, but I haven’t made my mind up.
  • Chloe played “Jakki” the sexy shop assistant in “Charlotte’s Secret” and was voted “Sexist female” by readers of “Fame” magazine as a result. The DVD sold over two million copies on its release in the summer before the story starts.
  • The film that brought her to prominence was “High School Hell” a teen-drama which she made when she was just fifteen.
  • Her latest movie is “Reunion”. She plays Kelly when she was at school, some twenty years before the ‘reunion’ of the title. It includes her first screen kiss and (tasteful) topless scene.
  • She’ll be making a low-budget drama called “Tutoring Sophie” during the summer vacation. Or at least, she thinks she will.

I’m looking for one more film title. It will be a big-budget Hollywood blockbuster. A part she simply can’t turn down. I have an idea, but I need to speak to Mr Berry about it first. (That’s a giveaway if ever there was one.)

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