Tuesday, 23 April 2013

Get Writing 2013

Back from Hatfield Uni for the Get Writing 2013 event, organised by Verulam Writer's Circle from St Albans. This year they even got the weather right with no rain or even snow. Smart move changing it from February to April.
After the opening address, Ayisha Malik, the managing editor of Cornerstones spoke about the merits of professional editing. It's something I will consider investing in very soon. Then it was time for the first workshop of the day, from journalist and self professed media whore Kelly Rose Bradford. Her workshop was called Being Your Own PR Machine. 
There is no room anymore for shrinking violets. Her message was to show off and promote the 'work me' than the 'normal me.' Adapt your profile to suit what you have to sell and promote yourself before you promote the product. I liked Kelly's confidence. She is a young woman who knows what she wants and knows how to go out there and get it.
Next was a seminar delivered by David Roden, writer, script editor, producer and director for the BBC. He brought along one of his proteges Frazer Flintham who had scaled the insurmountable slush pile of the BBC Writersroom and  has come through with several BBC radio and telly options taken up. David reads countless scripts and spoke about his frustrations about badly written or presented scripts and the joy of finding scripts with the required amount of dazzle. Lots of advice given which I eagerly copied down in my notebook, including don't blog... that's right he said DON'T BLOG. Why blog? he asked when you could be writing. Excuse me but I like my blog. It helps me flex my creative muscles, bounce ideas and network with some like-minded people.
Frazer Flintham held a workshop and got us writing about what we did yesterday. He succeed in drawing out of us reasonable accounts on what on the surface of things may have seemed fairly mundane and not worth writing about. All a bit soapish, but it works.
My last workshop was with crimewriter Lesley Horton who got us working when we had to plan a murder.
Great fun as you can imagine.
Two people who I was really happy to see was my companion for GW2012 and GW2013, Mike French, editor of a literary magazine and author of The Ascent of Isaac Steward and Blue Friday, recommended reading, and Ann Cleeves of Vera and Shetland fame, both of which have been televised. I cut short my lunch to buy books and sat down at an empty table to sit and read and who should come and join me but Ann. It was great to speak to her about her success, and then she delivered a talk in the main auditorium.

I didn't enter a short story this year, but I did manage to come third in the Twitter competition(no prize). The challenge was to write a story in no more than 140 characters and tweet it. I knew that VWC have a blog entitled  If Shakespeare... So my tweet went #GW13comp If Shakespeare... came back for one day, to attend a book signing at Get Writing: "Shall I compare me to Fifty Shades of Grey?"

Saturday, 6 April 2013


Work commitments have got in the way at the moment, hence Fairfax is on the back burner, and my Bloguctivity output has taken a battering. To safeguard against the last of my creative marrow being sucked out of my bones by too much work, I have been listening to The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy: The Primary Phase, Special Edition, whilst in the bath or driving to and from work.
As a writer I know when something is inexorably good, when I find myself fighting the urge to recycle some of Douglas Adam's prose for myself. Sadly Douglas Adams died at the very young age of 49 twelve years ago. I was born the same year as Mr Adams, and know that no matter how hard I try I could never catch up with his level of comedy fiction greatness within this lifetime. But perhaps that is for the best. I need someone like him to inspire me to stretch beyond my comfortable limits.

And while I'm on the subject of inspiration, on April 20th I will be making the short trip to Hatfield to make my fourth visit to the Get Writing. This year Ann Cleeves, the writer of ITV's Vera BBC One's Shetland will be there.
I will post a full report of the event including the workshops I will be attending. If you are able to get down there, it's a great day out for around £50.00 with lunch included. There is also some 'Facetime' slots if you feel brave enough to pitch your work. Here's the link, Let me know if you're going and I'll have a coffee with you.

Any day now, I'm going to put both Henley's Ricotta and Ushabti out for free for a few days again. Watch this space and I'll let you know.