The Writing Blog Tour

Writing is not a mystical process involving tea leaves and libraries of how-to books. At least, not in my (somewhat limited) experience. However, the choices individual writers make about what they write and how they write it can often seem inscrutable. I've always been interested in how other writers go about their business, mostly in the hope that their words of wisdom will somehow improve my own attempts. So, thank you, Mysterious Person Who Began "The Blog Tour". You are the reason why I am writing this post today. Because I am a glutton for punishment, I agreed to be tagged by Phill Barron, screenwriter extraordinary, and become part of The Blog Tour before passing the dubious honour of baring their writing souls to two more unfortunates - I mean highly-privileged writers. But first, let's talk about Phill. Phillip Barron is a UK scriptwriter who's had nine feature films produced. In addition to movies he's written for BBC3's BAFTA and Rose d'Or nominated sketch show,...
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The Writer’s ADHD

I was a hyperactive child. My parents are very polite about it, but I suspect I was an absolute nightmare and the surviving video from that era bears out my suspicions. When I discovered reading, I calmed down and learned to channel my energy more creatively. However, I'm still easily influenced by orange juice or a sugar high, and I probably talk more than is strictly necessary or desirable. When it comes to writing, I often struggle to focus. Not on time = words = pages particularly, but more on chasing my next project instead of actually finishing the one I'm meant to be writing. (As evidenced by the fact I'm writing a blog post instead of adding pages to my latest screenplay...). But this even bleeds into those two writing basics: Format and Genre. It's the first words of your pitch - "a half-hour TV sitcom" or "a ninety-minute science fiction feature". More recently, perhaps: "a two-minute horror web series" or "bi-weekly fantasy...
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2012 in review

This time last year, I looked back at 2011 and made some resolutions: "So, in 2012, I will: - Final FINAL draft Steampunk Assassins and send it to producers - Edit my Cyber Crime Sleuth (NaNoWriMo) novel and send to publishers - Finish my Asylum pilot, enter it in Red Planet Prize, and send it to producers - Make a short film - Get an agent - See Realm Pictures take Raindance 2012 by storm - Get married XD" Let's see how I got on: In January, I was given the opportunity to write for Persona and started developing my story. In February, I started developing a short film (which unfortunately came to nothing) and learned that I can take notes. In April, I adapted a screenplay into a stage play with Jack Ayers for the Brighton Fringe Festival, and I signed my first professional contract (for a project that went nowhere). In May, Persona aired, Small Chances was performed in Brighton, and I heard that Bryn Celli Ddu was being made...
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50 Kisses: Quaking and Breaking Hearts in 2 Minutes

So, I made the 50 Kisses longlist along with 507 talented folks! Thought I'd take a few words to talk about my script... Firstly, two-page scripts are a bugger to write. With Virgin Media Shorts and the generation with too many distractions to watch five minutes of anything on the internet, the two-minute short is gaining in popularity. At any given time, I have two or three of the things in a drawer, waiting to answer a script call. The problem with them is that you still have to fit a whole story into two minutes. Writing for Persona, with its 90-second appisodes, honed my skills with brevity but it's so tempting to write a vignette or a scene from a much larger story. Or, with Persona, to take an appisode off where they just go for coffee and talk about books (I wish my life had more appisodes where that happened...). Secondly, every script you write - every damn one - has...
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Going Pro

April is an exciting month for me! Persona Season 4 airs on Monday and rehearsals are starting for Small Chances. I also signed a contract for my first paid feature. While I'll admit to being a little nervous, I'm mostly excited. The project is currently under wraps, but I hope to get more information out in the next couple of weeks. In the meantime, I'm getting my teeth into this treatment and seeing where the ride takes me. Of course, unless I'm suddenly inundated with requests for specs and the BBC banging down my door (dream on), I still have the day job and this is just one more step on a very long journey. Still feels awesome, though....
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2011: My year with writing

This time last year, I reviewed where I was in my writing career. I thought I had written the penultimate draft of Steampunk Assassins. I was writing the first draft of The Greenwich Problem. I was planning to write a romantic comedy termed Baking Lawyer (which I abandoned due to fatal flaws). I determined that Military Monster needed a complete overall (which is still awaited.) And I put everything else on hold. And then 2011 happened. In January, I finished the first draft of The Greenwich Problem for the BBC's Laughing Stock competition. In February, Realm Pictures won the Raindance/Pepsi Max competition. This started them on the road to The Underwater Realm. In March, I was longlisted for Laughing Stock, which caused much excitement. In April, I attended the London Comedy Writers Festival, got some great advice and met some awesome creatives. I also wrote another feature script for Script Frenzy. In May, Realm House hosted the first UWR big production meeting. In July, Dave, Jon...
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The Importance of Relaxation to the Writer

I've done well this week. I'm on 48K of my 80K target for NaNoWriMo, which puts me bang on track. I caught up while working night shifts, despite the upheaval of being abruptly pulled off nights yesterday and thrust back into a day shift today. The neurones don't fire too good on four hours sleep mid-afternoon. I've also heard back from one of my Speed Pitching contacts from LSF, so I know my script has safely reached the hands of a reputable production company. This gives me butterflies, but We'll See. So, tonight, I'm going to kick back and watch Children in Need with an extortionate pizza. Sure, I could eek out another two thousand words of novel, but I have the whole weekend to write and I've earned my pizza and my Doctor Who trailer. When you work a day job, it's easy to feel pressured to spend all your free time writing. I firmly believe you should write every day, or you...
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NaNoWriMo Owns Me

I originally started this blog at the end of 2009, when I wanted to write 100,000 words of my Apocalypse novel in two months, Nano-style. That novel's word count currently stands at 18,041. That's because someone pointed out to me that the concept was exactly like 'Good Omens'. Disheartened, I shelved that novel and moved on to screenplays. However, I'm still passionate about the novel, and when I got the idea for an agoraphobic, techno-whizz detective and a streetwise ex-con fighting crime, how could I say no? And, oh look, it's November. And hey, I've won Nano twice before - 2006 (Vivid Images - never edited) and 2007 (Deus Ex Machina - partially edited, one of my favourite stories). So, I think to myself, I can do this 50k thing. Why not make it challenging? 80,000 words. That'll be a walk in the park. Yeesh. I'm only 5k behind schedule, giving me, at this moment, 21,859 words. Which, for those of you who can't count, is...
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Why the London Screenwriters Festival is necessary for London and Screenwriters

It's been one week since I journeyed from deepest, darkest Wales to attend the London Screenwriters Festival. I was nervous, I was anxious - what if I forget my loglines? What if I meet proper writers and clam up? What if nobody likes me? Thankfully, while I did ramble at one poor producer, I did meet proper writers without mishap (they had been drinking) and some people seemed to like me okay, or well enough to chuck their business cards at me. So, why the grandiose title, London and Screenwriters? Am I being absurd to call LSF vital to the hearbeat of the city and the screenwriting community? No, and I'll tell you why. I can honestly say LSF consisted of the three most valuable and positive days of my writing life. I gained practical, insightful advice from writers, producers, agents and readers - from those who attended as speakers and from those who were attendees. I honed my pitch in the sunshine...
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A Whole New World

I've been knee-deep in development work for my projects this past month, responding to some thought-provoking notes on Steampunk Assassins from Ste Russell at Loves Me Not Films and attempting to whip The Greenwich Problem into shape before sending it out to producers. However, three opportunities came along this week that had me dusting off old projects and exploring their potential. The first was a call for feature screenplays based in and around Europe, which required writing a treatment for said screenplay. This seemed like a perfect fit for The Local, my Script Frenzy screenplay about an English doctor joining Welsh villagers in their fight against a construction company. A very "local" European story! Unfortunately, I loathe treatments and I haven't done a pass on The Local for about four months, so I needed to re-familiarise myself with the ins-and-outs of Act 2 to try and sell my story. Still ongoing, but my personal editor is on it. The second is news of a...
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