Social media is something I have been looking to reduce substantially since deciding to continue writing my series. The hours I must spend mindlessly scrolling my Instagram wall, tweeting crap and seeing what my mates are up to on Facebook must be quite a substantial chunk of the day and time that’s better spent being creative. However, on the plus side it has connected me to so many inspiring writers and also to the many screen-writing groups on Facebook (which has become my latest addiction).
I’m mostly there just to lurk with the intent on learning something or to view the various discussions and colourful debates of writers. I fear I do not have much to add to them being a rookie and I’ve seen some very patronising comments to first drafts that have been uploaded for comment. The actual drama-fest that occurs in these groups puts most soap operas in the shade and is something of a mini-series in itself, but that’s another topic for another day. But one that I will be touching on again in the future.
Today I read a heart-felt post about a writer who had received such harsh feedback from an experienced critique on his short story that he felt totally destroyed by it. However reading further into this guys post, I couldn’t help thinking ‘you lucky fella!’. Why may you ask! Well, the critique took his story idea, spun it around, characters made different decisions, he subtly changed their behaviour and actions and made it into a more captivating story. After this experience the writer, by his own admission, stated he felt saddened as ‘someone can clearly do it better than me‘.
But, this applies to every situation in life if you think about it, especially in a new area but if you want something so much surely you’ll leave the ego at the door and soak up the priceless knowledge that an expert wants to impart.
To me this saddened writer should be jumping for joy… because someone gave him a unique gift, they want to work with his idea, they liked the foundations of it enough to evolve it within their knowledge and expertise in the industry. They know what works and what doesn’t and this sharing of knowledge in itself is like gold bullion being slapped in your hand. Surely he should be kissing the face of this critique rather than being destroyed, I doubt many others will be given this opportunity with their scripts or ideas.
BBC Writers Room this week posted on Facebook that ‘Of the 3,845 scripts received, 572 scripts have made it through to the second sift’ – the chances of my script being in that 572 are quite slim, well very slim to none really. BUT, if I got the chance to have feedback such as the saddened writer in the Facebook group then I would be jubilant.
Yes, we have all spent hours thinking about our characters, they are personal to us, like our own family in many ways. One thing we can’t forget though even if the whole story gets turned on its head is that they were born out of our imaginations and wouldn’t exist if we hadn’t put pen to paper in the first place. So there!
If I was lucky enough to be in that second group of the lucky 572, then in the 3rd or final sifting stages and someone wanted to change the story, characters and more, then yes that would be a little soul-destroying but wouldn’t it be more soul-destroying not to learn and grow from that opportunity and then create a better story!
What will I do personally if I get a clear rejection?
As hard as it is not to take any form of rejection personally we must also think of the reasons why a script may have been rejected… could mine be too weird for the BBC? would it be too risky for them for them to develop? Are they looking for something to appeal to children or more in the action genre. Does the one person reading my script prefer chick-flick rom-coms? There may be a multitude of reasons and it may be nothing to do with the standard of writing or creation behind it.
However after a lot of red wine I will go back to my script and change a few things around, firstly Bertie’s main goal, should I make this cool and calm character’s goal more desperate for him to attain.. make it harder for him to achieve in this first episode at least? Possibly… who knows. I just I hope I get the chance to develop his character.
The feedback that writer received would be so valuable, as you pointed out. Disheartening at first, maybe, but to have such customized advice would be fabulous.
Thank you for your comment 🙂