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Chris Slatter

My Blog


The Early Morning Sun

Tags: writers tv canada movies 

After my triumphant, some might say hubristic blog of last December I have been suspiciously quiet. As one or two of you may be wondering why and what I’ve been up to in the last four months, here’s a brief description. But firstly, let me reassure you my silence has not been because I was banged up in intensive care after a liver transplant (in spite of what you think, Matty), or that I had been kidnapped by the FARC splinter group that operates largely unknown in the New Forest. No, nor is it because I had been whisked away by JLo to a tropical paradise in the Bahamas to film her new music video in which I played the part of the enigmatic, leaf-wearing bongo player. It was none of these things; my silence was due to the fact that I have been trying to turn myself into that most respected person, the professional novelist.

Of all the roads that we choose for ourselves in our life-long journey, writing must be one of the most thankless. And before you leap from your hard-won seat on the Tube, frothing at the mouth in outrage, I should reassure you that in arriving at this conclusion I have not considered sewer maintenance, animal dentistry or television production.

Writing can’t be so hard, I hear you cry, (hearing voices is a quite common trait in writers): arising late in your picturesque thatched cottage, tapping away for an hour or two before lunch, then a nap before dinner after which you peck away for another hour stimulated by Uncle Courvoisier. Then an hour in the garden watching the sunset completes the writer’s day, unless a phone call from your fawning publisher interrupts your reverie.

It sounds good, doesn’t it? Of course, you know what’s coming now: the reality and if you don’t want to know, then stop reading. I won’t bore you with what time I arise, but I can let you know that the sun rises really early at the end of April in London. After a wistful glance at the Tesco’s medium sweet Amontillado, you open your computer.An hour or so of procrastination follows because there is so much to learn. Google News must be scoured for every bit of goss, likewise the BBC News website. And if you are fortunate enough, as I am, to have friends who live at the opposite end of your day in Australia, then your email inbox is a trove of distraction.

When you look up from these pursuits, you are astonished to find that it’s nearly eight o’clock and time to have breakfast. Of course, you are far too busy to make anything substantial so, after another lingering gander at the Tesco’s medium sweet Amontillado, you return toast in mouth to your work. This is where it gets hard. If you are one of those writers who specialise in digital thingies, sport, food or travel then you may have magazine clients who will commission you. If you don’t, I strongly suggest you find one or two before you embark on this journey. If, like me, you choose to write books, or drama, then your road is more uncertain.

As I wrote in my previous blog, ebooks have provided a much awaited outlet for writers and the number of novels and non-fiction books has leapt skyward since epublishers have launched this opportunity. Even so, most of us struggle to find an audience. My first royalty cheque was for £26.05 after six months of sales.

Recently, I had an idea for a TV drama set in Brighton while in the shower. Every writer has his or her favourite place where inspiration seems to gush from a tap. Many times this place will be the pub. Perhaps it’s something to do with flowing liquid. This script was to be the pilot for a series,every writer’s dream because it comes with a regular and sizeable pay check. Having completed it I duly sent the outline off to the leading 15 drama production companies in London.

There was no reply from any of them. Then an email arrived from one of the company’s business managers which said, in essence, that they do not read submissions. In fact they throw them away and how dare I send them my work and I was not to do it again. There was an implied threat. The company is well-known and its productions are broadcast widely. I suspect many writers receive similar emails.

I have now re-written the script and made it a telemovie set in Vancouver, because there seems to be a market over there. I like it better I have to say, perhaps because I’ve imbued it with hope, without which no writer can survive.

But now it’s time to watch the sunset with a glass of Tesco’s medium sweet Amontillado. I’ll let you know how I get on with the Canadians in due course. Until then, cheers.

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About Me

I have been an advertising copywriter, film director, teacher of screenwriting and a television producer. I have worked for some of the world's largest advertising agencies in Australia and the UK before attending the London Film School for two years.

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