One question that came up in the Getting Published forum this week was How to Put together and Publish a Coffee-table Book, and it elicited a fantastically helpful and detailed answer from WriteWorder MPayne, who in her day job writes, edits and commissions exactly that kind of book.
In Film, TV & Radio Reviews, longstanding WriteWords reviewer Zettel posts his review of what really mattered in this year's Oscars
, and as so often, the conversations developed all sorts of interesting ramifications - Art Deco cinemas, Man on Wire, and whether Les Miserables is a man's movie.
And in the Technique forum a question came up about what "rip-roaring" actually means, and a quick hunt tracked down this, among other gorgeous quotations: "1845 J. J. Hooper Some Adventures Simon Suggs x. 127 And I seed the biggest, longest, rip-roarenest, blackest, scaliest..allegator."
There's no denying that giving yourself plenty of time to draft, re-write, revise, edit, polish, catch those pesky littly slips, and remember to take your name off your competition entry, all takes time. So it's usually a good idea to leave plenty of that time if you want to enter a competition.
On the main WriteWords Jobs and Opps page you can search the database by the type of writing you've got - non-fictionfiction, theatre, film/TV/radio - and by the kind of opportunity you want - competitions, seminars, workshops, paid jobs, residencies... If there's a deadline, it will be listed, and you can make sure you allow plenty of time to get your piece in tip-top shape.
On the other hand, if you haven't dropped in for while it's easy to miss a competition or submission deadline for something that might be just right for a piece of yours. Or maybe you've forgotten a piece you wrote a while ago, or which didn't meet with success somewhere else? It might only need a quick wash-and-brush-up to be ready to try its luck in a new place.
The main Jobs and Opps page doesn't just have links to the latest additions: it also has a Deadline Approaching link, to alert you to what there's just time to get to. For example, you've got till this Wednesday - 27th February - to submit here:
Call out for original new theatre scripts by South Asian women for a new writer support programme
and you've got the luxury of a whole twenty-four hours more to send something here by Thursday 28th February:
Exciting new talent search for TV comedy scripts featuring transgender characters and/or themes
The York Literature Festival Poetry Competition
So why not give it a try?
say Rae Earle (otherwise known as WWer CabbagesAhoy) in her new interview for WriteWords, here.
Not only did Rae's novel My Mad Fat Teenage Diary make a hugely acclaimed and talked-about move to television as E4's My Mad Fat Diary, it's been announced today that after sensational reviews and excellent viewing figures, E4 have commissioned a second series.
And although the E4 commission was an adaptation of Rae's book, there's lots on WriteWords for drama writers. Just keep an eye on Jobs & Opps to find out more.
For example, just to mention the most recent entries, the BBC Script Room window is open now till for 28th Markch, and if you're more of a playwright, have a look at the Kings Cross Award for New Writing, sponsored by the Courtyard Theatre.
The second Greenhouse Funny Prize is the latest addition to Jobs & Opps, but it's also being discussed over in the Competitions Forum. Mind you, it could equally well be in the Getting Published forum, as it's being offered by a well-established agency for Children's books.
That's the thing about writing, of course - we separate out the different parts of what makes up a writing life (hobby? habit? history?), but in the end they all twist themselves back together again.
So a thread in the Technique Forum on using a "proper" voice started with a question about changing the voice of a character in revision, but shifted to explore how to express the energy latent in a character who's outwardly prim and proper, and then got into unreliable narrators, and why a Scottish author might be told her novel "isn't Scottish enough" by a sassenach!
And a thread on how and why we enter competitions moved on to explore the question of how and how much it's sensible to spend on the business of becoming a writer, but no one so far has mentioned how the list of competitions has a decidedly culinary aspect: Fish, Bridport, Biscuit, Dundee ...
Meanwhile the two newest groups embody two very different sides of writing. The Whole MS read-swapping group does just what it says on the tin: it's set up to help WriteWorders who've written a complete novel or non-fiction book find another WriteWorder who would like to swap a whole manuscript with another WriteWorder find good matches of taste and interests.
And if this roundup started with children, it's fitting that Older Writers is full of members who want to share ideas, information and research about times which they remember but not all of us do. But they're not just doing it for fun - they're also talking about markets for writing about those times.
"Once I’m up and running with something, I have a routine that means I have a three session working day i.e. morning, afternoon and evening. I rarely write after about 9.30 in the evening because by that time I like to have a glass of wine or two and I don’t write when I have been drinking. I write both in my office and at home." - Willy Russell
"A page-turner keeps me excited – a gripping story that I can’t put down – this can be humorous, emotional or quite dark. Our challenge if we have a book at Poolbeg Press, is to try and get that message across to the public" - Paula Campbell, Poolbeg Press
You probably noticed the interview with Michael Rosen, which went up on the Home Page a few weeks ago, but did you know that WriteWords has a huge archive of such interviews?
That's not so surprising, since it holds over a decade of interviews with the great, the good, the interesting and the downright odd among novelists, poets, playwrights, editors, magazines and agents.
The list runs from 42nd Theatre company and A L Berridge to Zoe Williams, by way of MBA Literary Agency and WritersRoom BBC. Here, you can browse by name, by category, by date added or just pop in to see what's been added recently.
But what's even more fascinating is that we've asked some questions of lots of interviewees, and then collated the answers.
Click through to find out what writers like Sara Maitland, Michael Ridpath and Claire Allen said when they were asked for any tips or trick or things to avoid
And what did Zoe Fairbairns, Jenny Eclair and others say when they were asked "How did/do you handle rejections?"
Meanwhile, industry professionals from agent Andrew Lownie to Paines Plough theatre company answered the question, "How do you find writers?"
It still counts as New Year, doesn't it? Have you had a moment or several, lately, when you took stock of how your writing's going, and where you'd like it to go, and decided to do something about it?
And what if that something was one of WriteWords' one-to-one courses? It's the perfect opportunity to do focused, detailed work your own particular strengths and weaknesses, with the help of a professional.
The courses are taught by many of WW's Site Experts and authors who are professional writers and teachers. They cover all sorts of genres and markets, from Writing Fiction for Women's Magazines with the enormously experienced Geraldine Ryan, to Writing for Children with award-winning Leila Rasheed.
Playwright Anna Reynolds offers two courses - Writing for the Stage, and Get Creative. And that's only a few of what's available.
All the courses work by email, so you can go at a pace which you and the tutor agree between you, and, unlike a "terrestrial" course, it doesn't matter where in the world you actually live.
Go on! You know you want to... Just click here.
It's busy in the Forums today ...
In Ethical Issues, feelings are running high about whether novelists should be allowed to judge short story prizes.
Over in Technique, the question's come up of what you do when you know where your novel ends, and you've worked back to decide where it would start ... but now you're actually writing it, you're finding it's not coming out at all how you expected. Are you a planner, or a pantser, or is none of it as simple as that?
In WriteWords Forum, a new group's being proposed. Are you interested in writing fiction or memoir set in the 1950s or 60s? Do you want to swap memories or ask questions of people who were actually there? Click here, and join up.
In Film, TV and Radio Reviews, WriteWorder Zettel has posted an in-depth review of Les Miserables, which has sparked a fascinating discussion not just of the film, but of all the issues it raises in terms of storytelling, opera, musicals, great novels...
And from grand cinematic and musical spectacle, to the fine-detailed attention that any writer also has to pay. In the Technique Forum again, WriteWorder Sharley is asking what doesn't quite work about the sentence: ' “Can I have a go?” Josh asked. He hung back by the bedroom door, his voice unexpectant.' This thread unpicks the issues, and - as ever, on WriteWords - ranges more widely too.
and finally, in Newcomers, where most of the welcoming goes on, a new member has not only been welcomed, but has bumped into an old friend.
This morning it really is impossible to ignore the fact that it's a New Year, a new start... If you had a good break over Christmas, this time of year can be daunting, but it's also refreshing - like a splash of water in the face after a long, hot laze on the beach. So what's around on WriteWords, that might help you to get moving?
In GROUPS, Fast First Draft is - um - drafting their first drafts fast. It's the NaNoWriMo approach for people who don't want to stop and edit-in-depth as they go along, but instead "build without tearing down". So the group doesn't critique the work (it would be like trying to critique the spots on a passing cheetah) but just support each other, chuck problems into the ring for discussion, and generally help to grease each other's wheels.
In the FORUM, there's a very New-Year-ish and inspiring conversation about how to increase your productivity. And if your New Year's Resolution is to finish the damn novel, but you're not sure where or what that longed-for finish will be, a chinese box of a thread with links to other threads, might help.
And if you think giving yourself a brief and a deadline is the way to get yourself going, then have a look in JOBS & OPPS; there are two new one-act-playwriting competitions for the New Year, as well as a host of others which are still open. Good luck!
As you'll know, if you've put your head round the door of WriteWords before, Groups are at the heart of the site. A group can be centred on a particular genre or market, or be about process - it's up to the members.
Members of a WriteWords Group can share writing, get feedback from people who've got to know your writing and what you're trying to do, set up prompts or competitions, pass on tips and information, have a Yay or a Boo about what's going on in your writing with friends who know what it's all about ... or do anything else that seems likely to be useful, enriching, or just plain fun.
The Groups home-page is here:
You can see the range of groups, apply to join an existing group, or show interest in a proposed group: once four people join, it goes live.
And now Site Expert Anna Reynolds has suggested a new group for WWers who are interested - or experienced - in all forms of scriptwriting. Scriptwriting isn't just for people who think of themselves as playwrights or scriptwriters - there's a fascinating cross-fertilisation that happens when you start thinking about forms you're not used to working in. Some WriteWords members have been working in dramatic forms for years, others are just giving it a go for the first time.
So, if you think that might be of interest to you, pop along to the thread here:
and have your say!
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