Tuesday, 14 March 2017

Well ain't that a kick in the head!

Hello there.

It's been just a wee while since I posted anything, but this is as much for my own process as it is the hope that it will provide me with some accountability.

Anyone who's read previous posts on this blog will remember that I often liken receiving story ideas to being smacked in the back of the skull. Well, it's happened again. It's a glorious moment when it happens, I still find it totally overwhelming and feel rather undeserving of it, but it is such a high. Until the "oh shit" sets in.

It would seem that a couple of recent articles I've read have been fermenting at the back of my mind. One article was regarding the debate over ethnic representation in a current West End musical, the other was about lesbian representation in current TV shows. I have been actively thinking about the TV article for a couple of weeks. The oversimplified gist of the article was there aren't enough lesbian (or GBTQI) characters on tele. Plenty are hinted at in subtext but never make it to main-text, and too many that are acknowledged main-text get killed off. I've been pondering how to write a tv series that isn't as sensational as the L Word, a show where someone's sexuality is simply one aspect of who they are. I was considering going down the Black Mirror route, episodes of independent stories of women who just happened to love other women. (BTW, massive thank you and IT'S ABOUT BLOODY TIME to the writers of the finale of Call The Midwife!)

Then on Sunday night, it kicked me in the head.

I was knitting while listening to BBC radio 4's Home Front series, set in WWI (no, I'm not convinced I'm only 30 either), and evidently, Isabel Graham's ambulance driver story line struck something with me. But then I realised, bugger, Sarah Waters already did that. Until I remembered my favourite Waters quote, not that I can find an original source for it anywhere! 

I'm sure all writers are basically the same: 
we're like Wombles, picking up stuff here and there – 
some of it our own stuff, some of it our friends' - 
but putting it to new, occasionally peculiar, but hopefully
 highly imaginative uses. - Sarah Waters

I'm sure she wouldn't mind if I created a drama series along similar lines to hers. However, I want mine to be broader. I want to start 2 days before the Blitz and see how the Auxillary have to scramble to cope with their new circumstances, I want to see how different subcultures and ethnicities interact in these most terrible of events, I want to tell the most bizarre stories that actually happened in that time.

And now the "oh shit". Research. 

I suspect I'm going to need to steep myself in this one, just like I did for The Pirates Daughter, but oh boy is this one broader. I'm going to have to start with novels and memoirs I suspect and then work backwards to find source material. Today's research unearthed a nice little article with Deborah Burrows, author of Ambulance Girls, which sounds like a brilliant place to begin. But this whole research thing really isn't going to be easy. There's so little record of working class gay culture in the 1940s, or about ethnic minorities in London during the Blitz, that just finding a solid place to start feels like a daunting challenge in itself. 

If anyone can offer any help, please please please do!