WriteWords talks to Laura Watson, stage, screen and radio writer|
Tell us all about your writing background- what youíve written, what youíre currently writing
I have written a couple of theatre plays (one of which had a rehearsed reading at Soho Theatre and the other was produced by Kings Theatre in Newmarket), an Afternoon Play for Radio 4, several episodes of EastEnders and an episode of Casualty. I also developed an original six part drama as part of the Lighthouse Screenwriting Programme in Brighton for which I wrote the pilot episode. Iím currently developing a single drama with an independent production company and Iíve just been awarded a Grant from the Arts Council to research and write a theatre play.
Other work besides writing; eg. Editing, dramaturgy, tutoring, and how it works/worked for/against your own writing
I run a Scriptwriting course for adults (either as an evening class or afternoon sessions) and this covers the basics of story, character, dialogue, plot, editing etc. encouraging the participants to develop their own scripts, on which I give individual feedback. I have run various workshops at events such as Cambridge Wordfest or for writing groups.
I also run various creative writing projects for schools or charities.
Spending time with other creative people is something I really enjoy and I find it very inspiring as it reminds me why I love writing. I also genuinely get a kick out of encouraging and enabling other writers.
Having said that, it is important to get a balance regarding time, otherwise I can end up feeling that Iím spending more time talking about writing than actually writing.
How, when and why did you first start writing?
I started writing when I was a child, mainly stories and poems. Then in my teens I became heavily involved in my local drama group and studied Performing Arts at college. It was during this time that I gravitated more towards Scriptwriting and this is something I developed further during my BA Hons degree in Writing at Middlesex University.
As for why I started well itís just something Iíve always done. Iíve always been excited about books, stories, imaginary worlds and people.
Who are your favourite writers/influences and why?
My favourite childhood author has to be Roald Dahl. His imagination and originality are second to none. The Witches was a great inspiration! In terms of scriptwriting there are so many people I admire, Paul Abbottís writing is brave, funny and powerful. Iím also a real fan of Peter Moffatís Criminal Justice (especially Series 1) and his ability to structure and layer a story over five gripping and intense hours. Iím currently into The West Wing and think Aaron Sorkin is fantastic, the episodes are witty, clever and moving. Abi Morgan, Tony Jordan, Sally Wainwright, Simon Ashdown, Jimmy McGovern, I could go onÖ.!
How did you get your first agent/ commission/publication? Can you tell us about the process/journey?
My first commission was for Radio 4. On leaving university I did a work experience placement at BBC Radio Drama. During my time there I wrote a one-act theatre play and a Production Assistant who I was working with suggested I expand it into a full-length radio play (with her as editor). I thought it would be a brilliant learning curve but nothing more. However the Production Assistant and I managed to get her Producer onboard and we then managed to sell it to Radio 4. It was produced as an Afternoon Play with the Production Assistant directing- all very exciting!
From that I wrote to a few agents and eventually found the right one for me. He knew I really wanted to get into television and so suggested I try and get into Script Editing which I did and I was lucky enough to get a job on EastEnders, another incredibly exciting moment!
What's the worst thing about writing?
It can be lonely at times and the work can be unpredictable.
And the best?
Itís amazing being able to play make-believe for a job and there are always new challenges on the horizon. Itís impossible to get bored.
Tell us what kind of response you get from audiences/readers and if/how this affects/influences your writing
People that know me often pick up on little things I put in my work which are personal in some way and thatís really nice. Itís great when people say they have been moved or scared or amused by what Iíve written, itís the most satisfying thing to feel that youíve made an impact. The play I wrote for The Kings Theatre was about a group of teenagers going through different things and the cast felt Iíd really captured what they themselves felt at times and that was lovely to hear.
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