Fallow – update

Yesterday the “yet-to-be-renamed” writing group that I belong to met, and they very kindly read the draft of the radio version of Fallow for me.

Having the work read aloud is the easiest way to figure out if the piece works; I am always grateful when my fellow writers lend their voices to my work and then lend their minds to it as well.

Luckily, there was a good mix of people. Some who have read and seen Fallow from the first sketchy scene I wrote in the group many years ago. Some who have seen the stage production in 2005. Some who had read the latest draft of the stageplay, and one who had never heard the thing before.

And of course me, the one in the middle of the woods looking intently at the bark of one particular tree, wondering where the forest has gone.

Thankfully, the story stood up. The Fallow virgin understood what was going on and those that have read it (and read it…) found something new. A success in my book!

Of course there are the holes I need to fix, and there’s nothing like someone reading to make it glaringly obvious – the clunky lines, the visual parts that will not translate to radio and the problem with the flashback.

What problem? How to make it clear we are in a flashback – particularly because they occur only a few years in the past – hardly enough time to make the voices of the characters different. How do we differentiate the past from the present?

Cameron suggested the flashback technique last used in Wayne’s World. Hmm, maybe not…

Although if you think about it is the technique that they use in Lost – the roar of the airplane leaves not doubt that we’re in the past.

So I’ve been thinking I need something like that…but not that.

At first I thought a piece of music that would play in someway in the flashbacks – on the radio etc. But I thought that might be difficult to assign a particular song to a few years ago. Unless it was the cheesey novelty song of that year. Probably not what I’m looking for, and potentially expensive to get rights.

Then nature, this morning, provided the answer. It is late summer, in the real world and in the world of Fallow; and the sound of summer to me is the chattering of cicadas. They instantly make me think of the sun when I hear them. So I thought for the present day scenes cicadas would be present.

The flashbacks occur sometime into the University year – at the very least early autumn and more likely winter.

On the bus home today, a cicada was stuck inside the bus. It clicked and sizzled in the row behind me, near my ear. I have accepted it – cicadas are in.

Perhaps with a side of music as well!

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