Up until last Saturday, the only evidence that I had that “The Amazing Arnolfini and His Wife” had been accepted for
publication broadcast was one solitary e-mail from the producer at the BBC. Being the kind of twitchy person that I am, I was beginning to wonder if I’d imagined it all – that was until I received my signed contract. But if it’s legal, it’s real!
Yesterday, I received an e-mail from my producer (look at me, I said “my producer”) saying that she was casting and that she wanted to check the age of the protagonist. This of course only served to get me even more excited, and I’m desperate to find out who they’re going to be using.
Anyway, it looks like I won’t have to wait very long, because once a decision has been made, things seem to move very fast at the Beeb. The recording session is apparently going to be the week after next, and broadcast is scheduled for either the 17th, 18th or 19th of August (presumably the other two slots are taken up by the other “Opening Lines” winners).
Interestingly, a couple of other, far more sophisticated writers whose blogs I follow are having work broadcast on the radio soon. First up is Tania Hershman, who will have three whole 15-minute slots devoted to her work next week, so don’t miss that (she’s excellent). The other one is Emma Darwin, who has produced an exhaustive five-part description of the process of writing a commissioned work for radio (first part here). I found this particularly interesting, because it’s so completely different from the process that I’ve been through.
In my case, I simply looked at everything I’d ever written and picked the piece that I thought was most suitable, from the point of view of (a) length, (b) language and (c) sound world. (c) is the most interesting of these and what made me think about it was a presentation at the 2008 Winchester Writers’ Conference by Philip Glassboro, an experienced freelance radio producer.
Based on his advice, I thought that “The Amazing Arnolfini” might work well on radio because there are lots of contrasts between interior monologue and exterior dialogue as well several different acoustics. In fact, my immediate inclination was to turn “The Amazing Arnolfini” into a radio play, but I didn’t have the time (or the skills) to do that. But I am at least pleased that I managed to pick the right one to send them as a story.
Speaking of plays, my VWC colleague Julie Mayhew will shortly be having her first radio play broadcast – in August, too, I think. Make sure you watch out for that as well, because she is going to be huuuge.