Swanwick Day 2 – #swanwick65

Firstly, I must apologise for being so behind in replying to your comments. I’ve got a couple of free hours on Tuesday so will catch up then.

I was up early, as ever this morning, so I sat on a bench with my cup of tea and did some writing πŸ™‚

My first session this morning was with James Moran (can you tell I’ve got the iPad working now lol) and was a session on Screenwriting. So many people have said to me I should consider writing scripts, but I’m scared shitless! πŸ˜‰ James makes it sound so easy. His class was very informative, and he’s a man after my own heart, believing that, when you’re writing don’t look back over what you’ve written, get to the end before you start editing!

After a short break for tea it was off to a class in Literary Fiction with Alexa Radcliffe-Hart where we did a fantastic exercise that stemmed from a prompt we were given. I ended up creating a character who was paralysed in a hospital.

Lunch (roast beef of course!) and then more Screenwriting followed by a workshop with the lovely Marion Hough entitled Promoting Your Work. Ok, so I’m not published, but I still found it interesting! I didn’t realise Waterstones (here in the UK) will take your self published books but take 40% of the sale price as a fee. Worth it or not I wonder?

A FaceBook party on the lawn was the highlight of the day…putting faces to names was wonderful πŸ™‚

Fish and chips for dinner and then a talk by Syd Moore who was absolutely fascinating as she explained her inspiration for her books and gave us background info on her research. I love the idea of taking a real life event and fictionalising it.


Right, I’m off to the Buskers night in a sec….it goes on until 12.30, but I’m not too sure I’ll make it to the end πŸ˜‰

10 Things I Learnt From A Scriptwriting Workshop

Ever tried scriptwriting? I’ve dabbled, but not seriously lol

Last week, writer, Linda James came to our Writing Group to do a talk/workshop on scriptwriting. But a lot of what she said would be valuable advice to all writers, regardless of their genre or medium πŸ™‚

I made lots of notes, but here are the best 10 things I wrote down (IMO obviously) πŸ™‚

1. Transform your story into pictures/images – i.e., when you think about a setting or a character, visualise them in your mind. Your reader needs to be able to see these things, from the words that you use.

2. Include body language – When describing what a character is doing, include body language, don’t tell your reader your character is depressed, show them.

3. Open your story in the most interesting visual way possible, introducing key characters right at the start. – You need to hook your reader from the very first page.

4. Make sure you have clues on the first page (Linda calls them seeds) – Throughout a novel the writer must drop clues for the reader. Make sure you start this on the very first page. The reader needs to have questions that they want answered.

5. Practice writing monologues, to get inside your characters head – The more you know your character, the better they will come across in your work.

6. Every scene must have a telling detail – Each scene needs to reveal something about the character or plot.

7. Use symbolism – If there is a crucifix on the wall it will tell your reader your characters religious beliefs. like wise if there is a Buddha statue on a coffee table.

8. Use local dialect sparingly – Your reader doesn’t need to know exactly how a person with a broad accent sounds, too much and they won’t understand it.

9. Use work by authors who were writing fiction at the time your story was set for research – If you’re writing historical fiction (even if it’s set in the 1950’s!) read fiction by authors who were publishing work in that era. You will get a feel for the time and be able to see what words and phrases were common.

10. Research the way film directors use “mood” to convey a scene – You wouldn’t have a severely depressed man skipping through a field of daisies would you? πŸ˜‰

I’m a bit of a film addict, and sometimes I will sit with my note book as I watch a film, so a lot of what Linda said made perfect sense. Obviously, I just had to buy her books πŸ˜‰


That’s 2 more to add to the collection *snigger*

Our homework for next months meeting is to turn a short story into a script, which should be interesting, I’ll stick mine up on my blog when it’s done πŸ™‚

So have you ever tried your hand at scriptwriting?

Writing Tips

I’m always fascinated by tips that fellow authors give. Yesterday, I stumbled across some tips from David Ogilvy and yes, I know he wasn’t an author…..but, they’re still good tips πŸ™‚

Write the way you talk, naturally
Use short words, short sentences and short paragraphs
Never use jargon words judgmentally. They are hallmarks of a pretentious ass
Never send a letter or memo on the day you write it. Read it aloud the next morning-and then edit it.

Now these tips are referring to business writing, but, as far as I’m concerned they could just as easily be adapted to fiction.

It was Valentines day yesterday so hubby took me out or a lovely meal. I didn’t think it was appropriate to take my notebook lol…..but I especially liked the comment I overheard from the guy answering the phone. Someone was ringing to get a table and was told it was Valentines day. The caller obviously wanted a table for one as he was asked “can you not find someone to be your stand in wife?”…..hmmmm….there’s definitely a story there πŸ˜‰

Oh, I was talking about films as inspiration the other day wasn’t I? Well, author and screenwriting tutor, Brad Geagley has put on his blog his list of essential films all of which have extremely strong stories. Out of the 84 film listed, I’ve seen 23…..that’s not great really is it. Think I need to raise my viewing standards πŸ˜‰

Watch films, read, write, learn…..there just aren’t enough hours in the day lol

I didn’t do very well with yesterday’s prompt as I was faffing about making myself gorgeous for my meal out. But I did start it, a romance set in a library lol….don’t ask me why a library, I just couldn’t think of anywhere else where it would be inappropriate to whistle lol. Today’s prompt is write about animal dreams and I’m a bit apprehensive to say the least lol


I managed to get another short story written yesterday, around the ashes prompt. A happy little tale about a woman in her car on the motorway, crashing into the back of a Sainsburys lorry *snigger*……I’m so sadistic πŸ˜‰

Today’s prompt is you’re in a courtyard

I’m hoping I can come up with something a bit happier this time πŸ˜‰

A friend of mine pointed me in the direction of The London Screenwriters Festival web site and I’ve signed up to be on their mailing list. The first e mail they send you is a link to a video that was filmed at the festival last year, entitled 50 Ways Into The Business. After watching that video I’m not so sure I’m cut out for script writing, it all sounds so scary lol. I took 2 pages of notes during the 1.5 hour video….some very interesting information that can equally be applied to other forms of writing.

I don’t know who the guy is who’s leading the panel, but, I love his theory….. The Success Triangle πŸ™‚


He says the more you take action, the luckier you’ll get and your experience then grows. Those 3 things working in harmony will get you to the top of the triangle…..and to success πŸ™‚

Tonight we’re going up London to see a play…..I’ll tell you all about it tomorrow πŸ™‚