On Writing: Ode to a Lady

In the big scheme of life and love, a piece of writing doesn’t rank that highly in terms of what is important, and what should get us riled up and upset. Recently, I read several posts from fellow writers expressing their disappointment on receiving the dreaded ‘rejection’ letter from the Film Board. My empathy was with all of them, as I KNOW that each one of them possesses immense talent, drive and vision. And I also know that for those projects to progress, the only missing ingredient was the development money to forge ahead. I didn’t comment on any of those posts, even though I had also received one of those ‘not for us’ letters, and for a project that I have consistently worked on to improve since 2007, when the initial spark had been first ignited for me to write LADY BETH. I am constantly asked about this one. Where it’s at, what’s happening in its development. It has attracted many talented people to it over the years, but obstacles, mainly of the financial kind, have hindered it in going further.

And so, to 2014, and as this was not the first rejection of it from the IFB, I decided not to comment, and not to react, and instead, waited for the Readers Reports to come back, and I read them, and read them again. As much as I wanted to be indignant, to pick fault, to have a rant, I read between the lines of what they were telling me. The notes were articulate, thorough and fair. They said lovely things about the script, and of my writing, and they had some criticisms also. I understand that all art is subjective, there is stuff out there that I love or loathe, and in equal measures of opposition from the tastes of others. LADY BETH is a script that initiates debate from those who read it. Shortlisted for the best feature screenplay award at the London Independent Film Festival, 2013, I have a catalogue of commentary on it. I’m sharing the positive, and not the negative, because that is where I CHOOSE to be with the long hours of work I’ve put into it to date:

“I was hooked from page one, and read it in one sitting. I don’t have any criticisms, it’s ready for development.” [Gill Dennis – Screenwriter in Residence, Galway Film Fleadh 2011]

“Investigating and pursuing the truth of her son’s death makes for a compelling story. There is a twist also that brings us into the story in a real way. There is a real honest quality to the storytelling.” [Austin Film Festival 2012]

For now, I’m going to leave the LADY to breathe a little. I will work on other stuff and let all the feedback percolate. If I can improve on it, I will. If not, well, I’ll quote Thomas Harris, from the Silence of the Lambs. “…creatures who cried themselves to sleep stirred to cry again…” and leave it at that, for now.

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