So National Novel Writing Month is nearly here. What’s it like to work through the goal of writing 50,000 words of your novel in November? Kristina Horner shows us her 8th year’s experience of the programme – in only 7 minutes.
This video is a kaleidoscope of emotions in the life of a young person. I doubt if George Eliot had a similar writing process. I am sure Virginia Woolf would have been horrified at the idea of 123,000 people viewing you in the process of writing. But after all, this is a reflection on how the world of communication – written and verbal – is so entirely different now to classical ways of writing.
The tone of this seminar at Xponorth2017 was very positive – some advice specifically for Scotland but generally useful for UK writers.
Main advice for new writers:
Look at the website BBC Writersroom for writing opportunities in BBC but also theatres
When there’s an open call for submissions, send in your scripts.
Keep sending them your work so they get a sense of your writing style and you are on their database for future reference
Easier to be a writer/performer (you already have your own audience)
If you get your writing onto podcasts or youtube videos or theatre or radio – it will be spotted by these TV producers
“The Break” is a great opportunity for new writers with no writing record
If you want to write for River City get to know the show and its twenty-odd characters so you can write quickly and appropriately for them
Write a sample script of an hour’s length – but make the first 10 pages fantastic – as these are definitely read
make and send videos to the BBC Social programme
find out the names of producers of TV programmes you like and try to contact them (they’re always looking for new content)
an upcoming script editor is a great person to show work to, as they will champion you as a writer if they like your work (there was an example given where this got a writer noticed)
be prepared to begin work in children or continuing drama (e.g. River city) as starting points, learning to write drama – many wellknown writers started out that way
even tiny bits of experience on your c.v. (e.g sold a comedy sketch) will count towards getting you noticed
the BBC Writersroom website has tons of resources – video interviews with writers, blogs, a script library with examples of layout – do use it(Lto R: Audrey, Keiran, Rab, Angela)
What are the BBC looking for in a new writer?
characters seem full and engaging
characters are fresh
you can write domestic (ie the ordinary) scenes well and make them exciting
a unique voice in the writer
you can write a full-length script for 30 mins drama
not derivative, something original
the reader instantly feels s/he cares about the characters
3 new major opportunities for Scotland-based writers:
from October, the Writersroom based in England changed to have separate writersroom in the regions – so more local knowledge and chance to become known
there is an upcoming new TV channel, BBC Scotland, which will need more content (begins broadcasting Autumn 2018) more on this at http://bbc.in/2m70MPf
there is a new scheme coming up in August for 4 writers to become Shadow Writers for River City (ie be given the same brief as the professional writers, and given a chance to do the same work, in a separate stream).
(notes from a panel discussion at #Xponorth2017 in June 2017)
Food critic, Jay Rayner‘s top tip for great eating experience?
“thou shalt choose thy dining companions bloody carefully. I am constantly asked to name my favourite dining experience but the truth is that it all depends on the company. Get the choice of dining companion wrong and even the most sublime cooking can taste only of ashes.” – Jay Rayner
From article “10 questions for the ‘world’s most feared food critic’ “by Lucy Clark in todays Guardian newspaper, 18 May 2017, section Life & Style.
Other great questions included:
“What’s the worst thing that’s ever happened to you in a restaurant?”
“Do you cook much?”
“Everyone thinks Restaurant Reviewing is the ultimate dream job. Is it?”
Case Study: Rupi Kaur. One of the most successful (ie most followed on instagram with 1 million followers, most read in published book) poet is Rupi Kaur whose use of Instagram is masterly – because alternates words and pictures. Her posts appear in rows of 3 squares – below is a screen shot of one such row.
Usually, the pattern is to alternate between a poem with her own hand drawn illustration and photos of herself (good self-publicity). In this row of photos, on the left is also a video – made of her publishers from around the world reading each line of her poem in their own language. The video was made for Women’s Day. From this, we learn that she is well published in many languages, she’s addressing a huge worldwide issue (women’s standing everywhere) – as well as the text of her poem.
The whole project of her poetry grew bigger and bigger – including at one point Instagram censoring her work – which was a turning point. From the start her work has tackled her life’s experience as a Punjabi woman and the essential womanly experience. This video tells the story in less than 5 mins. There is also a TED talk online.
In this video, poet Ken Cockburn and artist Juliana Capes describe the great hall in the Scottish Portrait Gallery to a group of people with sight difficulties. They use poetic descriptions as well as poetry in what seems to be a very successful fusion. This and other similar events are organized by Artlink.
This film is part of Artlink’s Investigate Create project, bringing artists and audiences together to create innovative, accessible work. investigatecreate.co.uk