When we read, we stat at the beginning and continue until we reach the end. When we write, we start in the middle and fight our way out.
— Vickie Karp
Writing requires discipline, but disciplined writers are not necessarily prolific. Most good work gets produced over time, sometimes many years, allowing the writer to grow with the material, to allow her world, her command over craft, and her psychological maturity to coalesce at just the right moment to produce something of value. This process often involves dreadful periods of not writing, or, worse, periods of writing very badly, embarrassingly badly.
As time passes in a writing life, the writer learns not to fear these arid periods. The words come back eventually. That’s the real discipline: to train the mind and heart into believing that words come back.
Be willing to wait. In the meantime, write when you don’t feel like it. If you can’t write, read.
— Monica Wood, The Pocket Muse …
Whenever you feel that sense of urgent doubt nibbling at your bowels like a gut-load of rats, know you’re not alone. Somewhere out there some other writer is feeling it. A writer yet unpublished. A mid-lister, a self-published, a Stephen King, the ghost of Marcel Proust.
We are all bound to one another by the ropes of our uncertainty.
Sharing that frequency of heebie-jeebies and jittery jangly nerves.
The best we can do is help one another dispel those fears.
Or, at times, just merely to commiserate.
— Monica Wood, The Pocket Muse
…via our buddies / production partners at Tandem.
There was an informal “guessing pool” in the office as to what the first night’s ratings of Die Nibelungen on Germany’s Sat.1 would look like. The target (“most desirable”) ratings group is 14-49s. In that group, 20% is acceptable. 25% is pretty damn good. Rola (one of our producers) was holding out for 28-30%. I confess to having chickened out, suggesting 26%.
This morning’s result:
30.2%. The highest result Tandem has ever achieved in its home market for a TV production…and generally just an astonishing number.
We’re still waiting for the Swiss results (Sat.1 has a “daughter” channel in Switzerland). But in the meantime, Peter and I are sitting here and feeling so, so vindicated. All that hard work…all those late nights…have produced the desired result.
…the Ring of the Nibelungs, that is.
Its story is far older than Wagner’s version: it was one of a number of factors which inspired Tolkien’s greatest work. It appears first in the ancient Volsungasaga; then it became a part of the Nibelungenlied, the Song of the Nibelungs, a story which became embedded in German culture.
In 1999 we were at a media convention in Germany and met some people who were involved in the earliest stages of work on a filmed version of the Nibelungenlied. One thing led to another, and they hired us to write the script. Two nights ago, after five years of work, we attended the premiere in Munich, saw the film introduced by the Chancellor of Bavaria, and at the end of it all heard the place go up in a roar of applause that was … something more than satisfying.