drama

24 July : Write what you know #wpad

Posted on Updated on

It’s the easy option, isn’t it? Write what you know, but it’s always a challenge to write about what you don’t know.

I’m only just starting out as a scriptwriter so it makes sense at the moment to write about what I know. First hand experience about a topic is like a nugget of gold as it means that emotions, knowledge and it being realistic will be key to the script.

At the same time I would love to develop my writing further which I know will attract a lot of research going into it prior to writing.

Working full-time limits the amount of time that can be spent researching, and add onto that a part-time degree. But, it’s not impossible and the internet and books provide a wealth of information on all kinds of topics.

This blog prompt made me take a few minutes to dig deep and think about what I do know that I could write about. Like everybody else we all have experiences, sometimes positive and some negative that could be turned into a story.

My current project takes on a vast amount of my life experiences within the context of the six-parts. When the characters were created some of them were based on actors, characters in other dramas and real life people. Some characteristics in the three main characters come from myself, either when I was a teenager and to how I am as a parent to a teenager.

Writing for female characters is also less of a challenge than writing male ones for the obvious reason. But living with three males offers it’s own research as I often will pass bits of dialogue and plot between them and ask if “would that really happen to a man?” However, I can see the benefit of having a writing partner from the opposite sex as both points of view can come through in the writing of certain characters.

Back to my current project, write what you know! The set is based around my nana’s home when she was alive.

I loved the fact that everybody on the estate knew who my nana was. She never locked her door during the day and folk would walk into her house to see her.

I recall during my rebellious teenage years being “chatted up” (am sure it’s not called that now – I must ask the teenager). Anyway I was chatted up by a young man in a nightclub who lived on the same estate as her. It’s a huge estate in Preston, and he lived at the opposite end but he still knew who my nana was – the woman was a legend! I wish I had known that back then and appreciated her more.

The concept of being part of a tight community is what prompted me to write the project.

I couldn’t tell you the names of my neighbours where I live, yet back when I was a child everybody knew everybody in the area. It would be nice to live in a community like that again.

I guess most writing comes from writing what you know, and it sure is fun to make up the other bits.

This is a post for http://www.writesofluid.com blog writing challenge. One blog post a day for all of July.
thurnham road

20 July : What motivates me #wpad

Posted on Updated on

Everybody has varying factors which motivate them each day.

In a work capacity it’s surprising to note that for most people a high salary is not a motivating factor in their job role. During a workshop in my day job I was shown the following video which is worth a look, even if you’re not interested in the content of the discussion, watch it purely for how well the artist can draw.

As a writer I am motivated whenever I am around other like minded people.

I often attend masterclasses, talks or short courses as I find it motivating hearing about other people. I’m not the best networker but I am forcing myself to escape from my introverted shell and try to put myself out there.

The weekend just gone is an example of that. I attended Writing for Radio workshop organised by Euroscript which was a full day’s session in London. Not only did I learn a vast amount about writing for the radio medium but I also made some useful contacts with other writers. A number of them are attending the London Screenwriters Festival in October so at least I will know at least a couple more delegates than I knew last year.

The workshop tutor was also an industry professional so hearing firsthand experience from somebody who has been where I am currently really motivates me too.

This is a post for http://www.writesofluid.com blog writing challenge. One blog post a day for all of July.

16 July : Genre #wpad

Posted on Updated on

Most writers and authors fall into a genre, it’s difficult not to and I have the utmost respect for those who can cross the genres successfully.

Most of my ideas for stories for whichever medium it falls into generally follow a similar genre. Usually a female protagonist, usually gritty realism drama and I feel most comfortable writing comedy drama at that.

What I enjoy to watch on television are crime dramas and would love to say that I would be able to cross into that genre once I feel comfortable in how to craft one of those. What I wouldn’t give to write something as gripping as Broadchurch, Luther and Scott and Bailey.

For the time being though I will stick to what I feel comfortable with.

This is a post for http://www.writesofluid.com blog writing challenge. One blog post a day for all of July.

13 July : Editing tips #wpad

Posted on Updated on

One thing to have been drummed into me throughout my journey as a student on my scriptwriting MA is about editing, or “rewriting” “redrafting” etc.

It’s probably the main gripe of writers because we feel so precious about our stories to then look at the plot, characters and conflicts and starting to trim the fat from the script is a tough ask.

But, it is an essential part of the process. Writers look at their scripts with rosy coloured tinted glasses on. Those characters are like family to us and of course we don’t want to have to admit that they are not currently perfect, have we pushed our protagonist to the point of them pulling their hair out? Does the theme show in the script?

With all of my scripts whether they be radio, stage or TV there are three things that I ask as I am going through the editing stage.

• Does this scene advance the story?
• Is there conflict in the scene – who wants what, why and who is getting in the way?
• Does the scene add exposition?

Because there is no such thing as the perfect writer, then after the first draft there will be two or three yes’s in there. Time to rewrite the scene and press that delete key.

Another tip for scriptwriting is that each scene needs to start as late as possible and end as soon as possible, even better if there is a cliffhanger which will stop the audience from hitting the change channel button.
notepaper and pen

This is a post for http://www.writesofluid.com blog writing challenge. One blog post a day for all of July.

10 July : Where I write #wpad

Posted on Updated on

Every writer needs their own space in order to get their bum on a seat and put words onto a screen.

I’m no exception.

I’m fortunate enough to have a converted loft room which houses my desk, chair, music and book shelves. There are two sofa beds and a TV too, as I am frequently joined by my youngest wee boy when I am up there.

Not one to normally brag about things, but I do have the best desk ever. It is designed specifically for people with back conditions which I have suffered with in the past. The desk is a hydraulic powered one (I think that is what it is called anyway), so when the back is playing up I can just press a switch and it will rise high enough that I can write while standing up.

Computer1

Computer

The best venue that I have written at is Gladstone Library http://www.gladstoneslibrary.org I spent a couple of days there last year when I was working on my script for the end of my first year masters.

Walking into the library, I felt like I had walked into Hogwarts. Single desks with lamps are scattered across the library and there is a real sense of creativity being made in the one space. I’ll be booking a few days there again when I start work on my final project in the next academic year.

IMG_2023

IMG_2018

IMG_2019

IMG_2020

IMG_2021

IMG_2022
This is a post for http://www.writesofluid.com blog writing challenge. One blog post a day for all of July.

1 July : What I write #wpad

Posted on Updated on

Firstly I have decided to take on the http://www.writesofluid.com blog challenge again for the month of July. I participated in the June challenge right up to day twenty-five and then due to what I can only describe as pure exhaustion from not only the busiest month at work, but also a deadline for my MA, I couldn’t force myself to switching on my laptop for a few days.

After a weekend of what can only be described as pure relaxation I am ready to get that brain into gear and those fingers engaged again. Having a daily challenge is just what I need and the prompts for July look rather stimulating. And, of course every new follower that I get for my blog gives me a few minutes of feeling good about myself – and everybody should have something in their lives that makes them feel thankful.

Onto challenge number one What I write? Let me tell you that whatever it is that I write, it’s always a lot easier when I have done some of this – see photograph of me in Florence……….Adventure in Europe 2012 527

What I like to write are scripts, as I enjoy writing dialogue and thinking of ways to show the audience what is going on in a story without having to write dialogue for it. That isn’t always easy. Creating characters is always exciting, as you start out with perfection. A name, age and sex of a character which you then start chipping away with flaws, hang-ups and obstacles until what is left is a fully rounded person who is going to drive a story through those flaws rather than having them happen. It sounds simple, but getting the characters right for the story is taxing.

I wrote a radio script late last year which I really enjoyed as writing for that medium is different from television and stage writing. Radio writing is something that I intend on going back to after I have completed my MA project. I’m attending a one day writing for radio workshop in London in a couple of weeks and am hoping to get some inspiration for a future project from there.

I write plays, although I can’t really call myself a playwright yet as I haven’t actually finished one yet. I have two plays which have been performed in a read through by actors, but finding the time to complete them is another matter.

I write theatre reviews for http://www.publicreviews.com and http://www.thegoodreview.co.uk

Reviewing for theatre has enriched my life more than I could have expected. I’ve been only doing it for six months but I have experienced some wonderful shows, and some not so great. I have met actors, writers and other reviewers through it. It’s a great way to see lots of different shows and not have to be a financial burden. Through this I have discovered the Manchester fringe scene which I wasn’t really aware of before, and it has given me the incentive to firstly try and write a complete play of my own, and to also get it put on in Manchester. Reviewing shows is also gold for a writer as it enables you to see many stories being told and be able to analyse why some work and some don’t. Hearing other writers voices also helps with having your own voice.

Finally the blog http://www.northernscribbler.com although it is often hit and miss whether I post anything.

For now though, my focus for my writing is for my MA in Television and Radio Scriptwriting. Passing the course is my priority for 2014, after that who knows where the scribbling will take me.

This is a post for http://www.writesofluid.com blog writing challenge. One blog post a day for all of July.

Self-promotion : Challenge 23

Posted on Updated on

It’s all well sitting behind a screen and dreaming that one you’d like to see your play on a stage being performed by actors, or listening to a piece of radio that you wrote etc. This will only happen once you get your name out and the internet is a great place to start.

The goal is visibility. Name recognition can lead to industry awareness, respect, paid writing assignments, and greater creative control over your career. That would be a nice goal to aspire to, but I still need to pay the bills and working full time in the day job will be a reality for years to come. Somehow, Hollyoaks or Corrie aren’t going to come knocking, unless I can go to them with some credits to my name.

The first stop was to get some work published online so I sent off my CV and examples of written features. Two e-zines took me on as a features writer so long as I could contribute three articles per month. The first time I saw an article that I had penned published online with my name next to it, well that was a nice feeling. Always great to see your name next to something that you have put heart and soul into.

The next piece of advice I was given was to start a blog. Having no idea what I would write about, the only thing at the time that I felt confident writing about was running. My first blog title Sweaty Betty was born. I wrote in that for approximately nine months. Due to a serious back injury which affected my running, I neglected this and felt that I wasn’t in the position to blog on that subject given the current circumstances with my health.

I don’t know about other people, but thinking of a name for a blog is not the easiest of things to come up with. I rattled my brains for weeks to think of a catchy title, that would not only sum me up, but also be a reference to what my interests were. I wanted the blog to reflect my journey as a struggling writer, and then The Northern Scribbler was born.

The blog has only been live for nine months, but already has over 1800 views, and I’m pretty sure they are not all from my mum and the other half. It’s always a massive compliment when a complete stranger decides to follow my blog, as they don’t know me and they have taken the time to sign up to an email notification everytime I post something. I currently have 42 people who have signed up to following my blog and I appreciate every single one of them.

I’ve been taking part in @sofluid June writing challenge this month. I decided to participate as my entries to the blog were very sporadic and I wanted to spark some life into the site. As a result of doing this challenge the creator of http://www.writesofluid.com wanted to feature me in an interview about the challenge. This was a really nice request, I’ve never been interviewed for anything before – except jobs, and quite a compliment to be featured next to “proper published authors”.scribbler

Finally, in order for me to gain a greater knowledge of stories and structure I decided to become an online theatre reviewer. It’s a great way to see live shows and Manchester is rich in the arts industry, both with our fantastic The Lowry, Opera House and the Royal Exchange Theatre, but also it has a large fringe theatre scene which seems to be growing. Being part of this is such a privilege, and is also a cost effective way to see lots of exciting plays.
This is a post for http://www.writesofluid.com’s blog writing challenge. One blog post a day for all of June.