Wednesday 14 July 2010

Take Fifty Two

Last week I had to put together a two minute video clip for the Brits Unpublished on the background to my novel, what it’s all about and who I am.  Hmmm.

I know exactly where the idea for my novel came from.  It was the picture in the newspapers of the driver who fell asleep at the steering wheel and caused the Selby railcrash. 

I know exactly what gave the idea substance, another dimension. It was the mother of one of the men who died during the London underground bombings.  She spoke of her forgiveness for the perpetrators.  I found it immensely powerful and thought provoking.

I can catalogue the books I read about coma victims and remember every conversation I had with people who cared for loved ones when they were in a coma.  I recall all my discussions with paramedics and lawyers as well as every detail of my visit to the local law courts. The research process was fascinating and invigorating and I felt very honoured to be able to do it.

I can talk for hours about the story which resulted and could probably précis my life if anybody felt inclined to listen.  What I couldn’t do was condense it all into two minutes.  In the space of half an hour I was down to five and a half.

Three days later I had cut it down to three.

By day five I was wondering if they’d really notice that the link was ten seconds longer than two minutes.  

Day six, I checked out the other video offerings; they were all two minutes or under and very professional.
I tried speaking more quickly.  I tried pausing for less time.  

By day seven we were back up to two minutes forty five seconds.

So I cut the part about me.  It’s obvious I’m from the North when you hear me speak – a perfect example of ‘showing’ not ‘telling’.  I cut the description of the story line down to one sentence – they’ll just have to buy the book.  And I cut the piece about the mother of the deceased and that’s just a shame.

One minute fifty four seconds.  I punched the air then played it back.  Apart from the moment when I turned the camera back around to face me in order to switch off recording and it captured the tea-stained coasters, over-filled in-tray, broken pens and post-it notes curling at the edges - it was OK, acceptable, at least.

“Mummy,” my daughter gasped when she saw it.  “You look so ugly in it.  Can you record it again?”

Children!  Don't you just love 'em?  You might need to avert your eyes, clearly, but if you're brave you can see it here:
And I won a competition this week. It's not quite the Bridport but hey! it made my day, anyway.

Have a great week.

1 comment:

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