drama

20 July : What motivates me #wpad

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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

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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

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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.
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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

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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.

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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.

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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

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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

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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.

Must have writing book : Challenge 19

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If you’ve read any of my other blog posts, you will know how much I love books and stories.

I also value education. My learning style is that I respond better to hearing lectures, having ideas float around and then reading text books to reinforce all of those.

Training as a scriptwriter I have dozens of different books – you name it I have it. “Save the Cat”, “Save the Cat goes to the movies”, “Story”, “Writing for Radio”, “The little book of sitcom” and the list goes on for about a dozen more.

However, the one book which I think every writer should have is “The Woman in the Story” by Helen Jacey.woman in story

I am approximately half way through this text book, but it is an important tool when writing female characters as there are still problems with females on our screens in terms of their identity. Characters are usually the stereotypical dumb blonde or the aggressive female boss.

Give me Sarah Lumb (The Killing), Beatrice Kiddo (Kill Bill) and Nurse Jackie anyday. Believable and not cliché in their flaws, but these characters are few and far between.

The quest is on – I need to create my own unique, strong females. If I can do that I am pretty sure I will be one happy bunny.

It’s a difficult task to get the balance right when developing females. My current project is about a family of four generations of females, and I am struggling with one of them as I don’t want her to be a stereotypical gold-digger that she currently is. But, with the mix of the other three she needs to have flaws that will create conflict with the other members of the family. It’s a balancing act, and it’s a much more difficult task than I first though, which is why I bought this book.

Another problem I have, which I am hoping the book will offer insight into is how to make these characters humorous, as this is a comedy drama that I am developing.

Controversially I have ended up bring in a teenage boy as a possible love interest to provide the comedy for my teenage girl character. The reason for this? I couldn’t find anything funny about being a teenage girl in modern society. But teenage boys, well they are hilarious. I only have to sit in front of a group of them on the bus to know that their conversations are full of humour, which is why I love the Inbetweeners.

If any readers can give me examples of where there have been funny female teenagers on screen I would be delighted to hear from you. Please comment below.

This is a post for http://www.writesofluid.com’s blog writing challenge. One blog post a day for all of June – I’m behind already but determined to catch up #wpad
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Procrastination – challenge number 13

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The title for this challenge is ironic.

I have a deadline to meet for my masters degree. A script development portfolio which will be the basis for my dissertation, should I pass the final 30 credits for this year. Having spent approximately eight hours in the library yesterday I have got about half way through. However, what I should be doing at this precise moment in time is rewriting my step-outlines for episode one and six.
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What am I doing?

I’ve been watching Andy Murray play in the Queen’s Club Final on television, logging a postcard I received via the http://www.postcrossing.com project, writing this blog and browsing new themes as I am getting fed up of the design of my website http://www.thenorthernscribbler.com

If that is not procrastinating then I don’t know what is.

And why do I do it? procrastination1

I find social media addictive and I have to be up to date with everything that is going on in the world, everywhere at every time. Okay, slight exaggeration there. It’s a distraction from doing what I should be doing, which is the process of developing the script which is the least favourite part for me.

I find the process of writing treatments, step-outlines and pitch documents to be laborious. Yes I know it’s an essential part of the creative process, but all I really want to do is to write dialogue – that’s way more fun.

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This is a post for http://www.writesofluid.com’s blog writing challenge. One blog post a day for all of June – I’m behind already but determined to catch up #wpad