The Craft of Writing

Question: Are you focusing more on novels or screenplays?

 

Irvine Welsh: I’ll probably do… I’ll probably do one thing, a big thing a year. I’ll probably try and do a film in one year and a book the next. And that will be… That’ll be the way I’d like to do it because, I think, with a book you get… you do get very lonely.

This is not probably conducive to your mental health to spend all these time with people who don’t exist. And I’m kind of actually quite a social animal, so it’s good to work with people and to collaborate, and I kind of think you learn a lot and grow a lot in that way, . But, then you get fed up with them as well, you’ve got to deal with them and all the kind of foibles and all that, so it’s much better… you want to just get back on your own and sort of play God again. I do need kind of elements of both of them in my life, I think.

 

Question: Does being a novelist help you write screenplays?

 

Irvine Welsh: It’s weird because I’ve started off I got into film obviously through writing from a novelist I kind of got asked to do screenplays and write screenplays and I find it very, very unsatisfying because, with a novel, you’re creating the whole thing. There’s a whole [kind of art] to it that goes out there, whereas with screenwriting you’re just really putting the foundations down and somebody else kind of builds on them.

So I think that being a kind of a writer-director in cinema is much more like being a novelist than being just a screenwriter. And so, yes. It just feels much more kind of part of what you’re about, really. I just… It just seems you’re just using… instead of using psychic materials, like what you’re constructing in your head, you’re using you’re kind of using physical materials like actors and [plan] and all that kind of stuff. But you’re working with people to enable this thing to be physically staged rather than kind of staged unto a bit of paper.

I’ve done a couple of plays. I’ve done one called “You’ll Have Had Your Hole” which was kind of… This was so badly received that I can actually enjoy it, and this is [IB]. I kind of believed in that play. It’s like it was so badly received by the theatrical establishment in Britain. I think it must be really good, . The other one I’ve done, I did with partner Dean Cavanaugh, screenwriting partner, called “Babylon Heights” which was basically about four of the dwarf actors in “The Wizard of Oz” and they were then living together in this kind this small room in Culver City kind of roach motel, basically.

So it’s about their relationships with each other and the kind of… they were kind of put into a different hotel, all these, these kind of small people were put in this different hotel from the big people who were who were regarded as the proper actors. So it was that kind of a [part] going on. They were basically under house arrest in this place. So we did this play about them and we’ve shown it in San Francisco and we’ve shown it in Dublin and we got plans to do it in next year’s Edinburgh Festival, to take it to the UK for the first time.

 

Recorded on: September 8, 2008

 

Irvine Welsh explains the interplay between novel and screen writing.

LinkedIn meets Tinder in this mindful networking app

Swipe right to make the connections that could change your career.

Getty Images
Sponsored
Swipe right. Match. Meet over coffee or set up a call.

No, we aren't talking about Tinder. Introducing Shapr, a free app that helps people with synergistic professional goals and skill sets easily meet and collaborate.

Keep reading Show less

Can the keto diet help treat depression? Here’s what the science says so far

A growing body of research shows promising signs that the keto diet might be able to improve mental health.

Public Domain
Mind & Brain
  • The keto diet is known to be an effective tool for weight loss, however its effects on mental health remain largely unclear.
  • Recent studies suggests that the keto diet might be an effective tool for treating depression, and clearing up so-called "brain fog," though scientists caution more research is necessary before it can be recommended as a treatment.
  • Any experiments with the keto diet are best done in conjunction with a doctor, considering some people face problems when transitioning to the low-carb diet.
Keep reading Show less

A world map of Virgin Mary apparitions

She met mere mortals with and without the Vatican's approval.

Strange Maps
  • For centuries, the Virgin Mary has appeared to the faithful, requesting devotion and promising comfort.
  • These maps show the geography of Marian apparitions – the handful approved by the Vatican, and many others.
  • Historically, Europe is where most apparitions have been reported, but the U.S. is pretty fertile ground too.
Keep reading Show less

Want to age gracefully? A new study says live meaningfully

Thinking your life is worthwhile is correlated with a variety of positive outcomes.

YOSHIKAZU TSUNO/AFP/Getty Images
Surprising Science
  • A new study finds that adults who feel their lives are meaningful have better health and life outcomes.
  • Adults who felt their lives were worthwhile tended to be more social and had healthier habits.
  • The findings could be used to help improve the health of older adults.
Keep reading Show less