Struggling with detail

I have mentioned, somewhat in passing, that I am working on a radio play. This is not something that I have done before, although I have played around a bit with scriptwriting. But I was drawn in by the BBC International Radio Playwriting Competition. I enjoy listening to the drama that BBC airs (well, I enjoy some of it, others I just berate the computer as it streams), so it seemed natural to see how this would go.

I decided to take part of what I wrote for Nanowrimo this past November. That (short) novel was an ensemble type piece, with several groups of characters alternately taking the focus of the story. There were actually five separate story lines (yikes) that alternated. So, for this radio play, I decided to take one of those story lines and expand/alter it to suit a radio drama format.

So far, so good. However, one of the things that I had done, while writing the Nano novel, was to throw in one-off story ideas that I had been keeping in a file whenever the plot started to get stuck. The result of this was that nearly everyone in the novel has some wild back story (parents dead in a murder/suicide! sibling dead in tragic circumstances as a child! parent a notorious sex murderer! — hmm, I guess there’s a bit of a pattern there). As I have been working on the radio play version of the one story thread, I have been reworking the really outrageous stuff to make the story more plausible and have the plot actually, you know, make sense.

One of the details that I had thrown in, that did not include violent death, was the discovery of a pair of antique metal fighting gloves. I can’t quite remember now where this idea came from, because it turns out they are more than a little obscure. My first thought, when I started shaping the radio play, was to just delete all mention of them and leave it at that. However. The character who finds them doesn’t have much in the way of actual personality at the moment and this has the potential to give him something (how he reacts to them, what he does, etc). And subplots aren’t a bad idea. The play needs to be about an hour long, but I think there is still space for some breadth (especially if it ends up relating back to the main plot). So, I’m back to keeping the discovery and trying to work it into the story in a nice, neat way.

Of course, I have also pondered turning the fighting gloves into something else, but I am at a bit of a loss as to what. So, instead of working on the play, I’m writing this post and trying to figure out what to do.


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