Ian Drury - Sheil Land Associates Ltd. - 52 Doughty Street - London WC1N 2LS

Tuesday, 10 August 2010

The Stories Unfold

Okay, here's where we're at.

I've sent off my latest drafts of the two premises or pitches for TV Drama. One is kind of a local story - contrasting village life during war time with the same village today - and the other is a political thriller.

These are my third run-throughs of the ideas. To my great surprise (and delight), both ideas in their original forms (two sides of A-4, slightly double-spaced, each) appealed to my executive producer contact (ex-colleague), and at my meeting with her in London we were able to chat over these ideas.

Redrafted versions of the two story ideas were submitted just before I went away on holiday (about which, more anon). Rightly, my exec spotted a few weaknesses in both, and I've now expanded them. The first, about the local village (two dramatic periods in the lifetime of one ageing farmer), I would see ideally as a three-parter. The idea now runs to four pages on that one. The other - what happens when high-profile 'fat cats' start being murdered - I would love to tackle as a five-part serial.

My exec expects to get back to me within a week or so. If these ideas are strong enough, she'll take them to the next level. Basically, she'll be bidding on the basis of these for the go-ahead to commission treatments - detailed plans for each project giving character information, episode storylines and other supporting material. So, if one or both of these projects goes to treatment stage, I'll be a BBC employee again, for the first time in twelve years ...

It's been odd, trying to readjust after the holiday. What I've come to feel is that the research trip to Ulva was symbolically the end of the road for my Arthurian studies. It was on the nearby Isle of Iona, my spiritual home, that I resolved to write my Shakespeare and Arthur books, fully four years ago.

Since then I have researched both subjects at great length and in considerable depth. I have acquired a leading literary agent, lost him, and picked up another. I have tested the material out on 'Authonomy', and in both cases scored something of a hit with the international writing community. And, okay, so, we've hit an obstacle. Publishing is a rabbit frozen in the headlights of economic uncertainty, the advent of e-books, competition from other sources, etc., etc. Nothing seems to be happening.

But the Divine Kim (who's not all that well, just at the moment, sad to say) has given me permission to investigate self-publishing. So I can work on my Arthur book, having visited the spot where the story ends, writing it my way, in the knowledge that even if we don't get a publisher on board in the New Year, I can still go ahead with a publishing arrangement.

So it's all systems go ... sort of.

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