Prodigal Son: "You know I have to find my birth mother. I have to know who I am."
Egotistical Maniac: "What? And that's given you some right over my life? Screw you. I'll do what I want."
Stubborn Woman: "That's not my story I'm trying to get you to tell. It's my story, you're just the means by which it gets told."
How did I get myself into this situation?
It was in those early years of my writing career that the idea of Family Secrets developed. A series about a family with secrets and the things they'd do to keep them secret. Sadly, the radio series I wrote all those years ago was not destined to go anywhere. Reading those original scripts I can understand why. Not my best work. Mediocre at best. Thankfully I've since had twenty years in which to hone my skills as a writer and create the colourful and detailed story lines people have enjoyed in Season 1 of Family Secrets.
With no real demand for radio plays and serials in Australia (where I now live), I shifted my focus to television and novels, burying my love for radio, so to speak. Until one boring day in July when I did a aimless search on Facebook for people I might know.
I accidentally stumbled across the Facebook page of a well-known South African author. Granted, only well-known if you hail from there. Growing up he was my writing idol. Whatever he wrote (books, short stories, serials for radio, series for television), they all become a success. On his Facebook page I saw he had a link to a radio station in South Africa that has been broadcasting radio plays and serials for decades. Jumping onto their website I discovered they had podcasts for the current radio serial available for download. Curiously I downloaded and listened. Oh boy. It was like a bear waking up from a two-decade long hibernation! The writing-for-radio-bug bit again.
Just like television, there is a common format to the scripts, though each radio station has their variances to this format. I messaged the author on Facebook to find out where I can get samples of scripts. A couple of emails between myself and the head of drama at the radio station in South Africa later I had sample scripts and what their criteria is. Within days I was using every free moment in my workday to plan and develop a series for radio. Three months later and I'm on the last couple of episodes. And here's where things got unstuck. I've got everything packaged and tied up with a nice little bow. Problem is, these three character don't want to play ball and get from where they are to where I need them to be at the end within the last three remaining episodes.
So, what am I going to do with my prodigal son, egotistical maniac and stubborn woman? Once thing I learned when writing Family Secrets is that as the author, you're just the vessel used to tell the story - your characters' stories. Sometimes it's better to sit back and let them get on with it.