I’ve been very busy working on Mary Rose Unbroken.
This week I’ve had to relook at the overall structure. I like to work in word tables, so that I can move section / scenes around really easily. But this leads me to some bizarre acts in chronology, and even though this piece intertwines two time periods, both still need to be chronological for it to work.
I’ve sat down and re-read one of my sources to check whether what I have ended up with is what I wanted it to be when I started. Needless to say, in my enthusiasm of combining timelines, I have gone awry. This has entailed a lot of fixing which has helped with deleting extra scenes.
I am aiming for a 60 min first act, 45 min second. At the moment my poor audiences’ bottoms will be falling to pieces. Both acts are way too long.
In order to help with time, I killed off a character this week. It’s a shame, I really liked her, but she added nothing to the story which couldn’t be worked in another way. She was light relief if you like. So she disappeared, as did her 1,000 words or so.
I find killing off characters quite stressful at times, and there have been more than one instance when I’ve had to go back to a previous draft and bring someone back to life.
Today I’ve been looking at the Battle of the Solent. This is where Mary Rose (spoiler alert) sinks. The scenes around this hadn’t worked for me, or others who have been privy, so I’ve sat back and thought about what I could do instead. What I don’t want to end up with is a whole lot of people slumping to the floor with a giant aargh. It needed to be much more subtle, and given the number of people who lost their lives, moving.
Today I’ve used a description of the battle from the shore. Originally this was contained in a performance poem I wrote in 2013 (or thereabouts) when I was Henry, overseeing the day’s machinations. I loved the language and rhythm of the piece, but it was far too long for this new piece of theatre, and also, Henry has enough to say all ready. I’ve given the majority of it instead to Catherine Parr, his much younger wife of the time. I’m really happy for this solution at the moment. Tomorrow – who knows?
Check, check and check again
My final task of the day is to look at the blue highlighted sections throughout the piece. I leave markers where I need to go back to as, for example, I need something to pull the timelines together, I’m not sure of a fact, or the pace drops. I’m hoping to clean-up all the factual queries by the end of the day, which should give me a clear run tomorrow at writing a different battle sequence which needs more work (there’s a theme there!).
I also need to get my facts together as best I can as I have arranged for an expert eye to start fact checking for me, one of the original divers no less! More on that to come . . .
And, also today, I went for a lunchtime dip in the sea.