Japanese poem
Five syllables, then seven
Then five at the last

To be true haiku
A season must be invoked
Use a metaphor

Kigo, season word
Cherry blossom used for spring
Snow stands for winter

Now use a cutting
Haiku should be two pieces

For english haiku
Merely form will be enough
Five, seven, then five

I got your phone number written in the back of my bible

Right now I’m writing a proposal for a drama series, with a shiny spec script attached.

The cards are off the board, and it’s straight to script, no time for a treatment. The second episode, no less, because according to Katharine Way, writing the first or last episode is just far too easy.


Anyways, part of the process of creating a series is writing the series bible. A bible is a document setting out the stall for a series. If we give you the money to make this show, what will you give us in return?

Or to put it more succinctly:

  • Who are these characters?
  • What’s the series about?
  • What’s the story engine?

As part of my research, I’ve been looking up series bibles available on the Internet. Here are the ones that I managed to find:

Sheena – Steven L Sears

The Dead Zone – Michael Piller

Freaks and Geeks – Paul Feig

Star Trek Reboot – Bryce Zabel / J Michael Straczynski

Poltergeist: The Legacy – Richard Barton Lewis

With the exception of the Star Trek Reboot (which was written by two established showrunners just for the hell of it), each of these bibles was used as the basis for a TV series.



The UK version of Netflix is called Lovefilm.

Here’s how it works:

You tell them what DVDs you want to watch, and they post them to you. When you’re done, you post them back, and they send you another from your list to replace it. Easy Peasy Lemon Squeezy.

Just like Netflix, they have a convenient queuing system, where you rank your films by the order in which you’d like to watch them. When you’ve seen a film it gets removed from the queue. If all their copies are out, they send you the next one down your list instead.

Oh, hold on, no they don’t. They’ve just changed it to a much less useful system instead.

Why would they do a thing like that?

One possible explanation is that Netflix has patented the idea of a queue.

Which, in the US at least, means that no-one other than Netflix can offer this feature (without paying money to them) for another twenty years.

Software patents stifle innovation.

The Nature of Justice (some SoaP spoilers)

MaryAn Batchellor has a problem with the ending of Snakes On A Plane. Specifically the fact that Eddie Kim, the man who put the Snakes on the Plane in the first place, doesn’t get brought to messy justice on-screen.

One of the things I loved about SoaP is the fact that it *isn’t about Eddie Kim*.

He’s irrelevant. It’s all about the snakes, baby. When the snakes are off the plane, that movie is over.

Eddie Kim is not the villain of the piece – just a catalyst. He’s a one-man inciting incident. And that’s why we don’t need to see him die.

(Sure, you’re saying, tell that to piƱata-guy.)

I absolutely did not need or require Sam Jackson or SurfDude to go after Eddie Kim and shoot him in the head with a big gun. Because that always and only happens in action films.

The Mighty Bill Martell states in his marvellous wee book The Secrets of Action Screenwriting that “The audience that’s screaming for vengeance doesn’t want the villain to go to jail. They don’t want to see him sustain critical wounds and die later in the hospital. They want to see him annihilated.”

And dispatching the villain effectively can make a great end to a movie. Going back to the Daddy, Hans Gruber in Die Hard has a very satisfying end.

But it shouldn’t always happen.

Take for example Bad Boys II. At the end of the film, the bad guy has been captured. He’s guilty as hell. That man is going down for life. He’s being held at gunpoint by our two heroes.

So he then pulls a hidden gun out purely so that they have an excuse to shoot him dead.

I mean, really.

What the hell kind of plan is that?

It’s simply so that he can die on-screen for the benefit of the audience. He’s got no motivation to do that. It’s a stupid thing to do.

And, you know, sometimes sending a guy to jail for the rest of his natural is enough.

Even in films, justice doesn’t always have to come from the barrel of a gun.

Finished. (For the moment.)


The latest draft of Decaying Orbit (previously known as Persephone) is done.

This is the last of the heavy lifting (if I’ve done my job right). All of the characters are in place; all of the plot is there. Everything should make sense.

For this draft I went through every scene, line by line, from the point of view of one of the characters in that scene.

Making sure that their responses made sense. That they have something they want, and that they’re angling to get it. Adding new scenes when required for characters whose story was missing something. And deleting scenes that don’t move the plot along.

(Which means, sadly, that the last gratuitous sex scene has now left the script. Oh well.)

And then, when I finished, I went back to the start of the scene and did the same damn thing for every other character in there.

This takes a hell of a long time. I’d say in terms of hours spent, this has probably had as much time spent on it as Draft Zero. If not more.

I reckon overall about a third of the words have been changed in this pass. Pretty much every page on the printout I worked from is covered in unreadable scrawl. And now it’s been typed up and (glory be!) makes sense.

Only two more drafts to go before I can start sending it out.