Thursday 31 December 2009

Happy New Year!

Best wishes for 2010. Art by Georgia.

I'm writing this now, because I won't see a pc until 1st Jan over on the other side. I'll write a list of 2009 Year Out achievements and 2010 Year In Goals, as soon as I can.


Wednesday 30 December 2009

Blog Takeover Day x Two

Remember the last Blog Takeover Day? Miss Havisham paid a visit.


See older posts for more.

Well it starts again on 1st January 2010. You can choose whoever you like to take over your Blog for the day, could be a character of yours, a famous character, or just anyone real or fictional.

If you can't start on the 1st, don't worry, start whenever you like.

For more info see Quiller's Place.


Tuesday 29 December 2009

Twitter Play - Actress Kiki Kendrick Plays The Character I Wrote!

Remember the Twitter radio play? Here's a reminder of when it all kicked off:


Kiki Kendrick plays @fragharpy, or Francine Harpur when she aint Tweeting. They've recorded ALL of @fragharpy's tweets, and now on to the next four characters.


Update here:



Monday 21 December 2009

Happy Christmas!!

I'd just like to wish everyone a Happy Christmas, and a Wonderful New Year 2010.

Hope you all get what you want from Santa. Eat drink and be merry!! May your stockings be full, and your bellies without griping pains.

Monday 23 November 2009

Have your name immortalised in print by Kate Long

Read all about this fantastic charity: The Quintessentially Foundation supports charitable activity worldwide that improves the health, education and welfare of disadvantaged communities...LINK HERE

Novelist, Kate Long (writer of The Bad Mother's Handbook and more) will immortalise your name in her next novel. You need to be in it to win it, so go do your BIDDING!


Kate Long's Website: LINK HERE

Sunday 8 November 2009

Writers' Retreat - Criccieth

I'm off to Criccieth tomorrow, yippee!! It's the writers' retreat, tied in with the Masters degree. We have to read a lot, write a lot, and take it in turns to cook once a week. I am so looking forward to this experience, though feel strangely nervous/excited. Hell, if I can move to Uni lock stock and barrel, I can do this little thing, eh?

I will report on my return.

Thursday 22 October 2009

Novel Talk

Well, I'm finding out more about the novel as I write it. I'm now doing a pov from Grandma's perspective. Her Granddaughter goes to visit Grandma often, and lets her talk about the old days.

I'm writing Grandma's memories in a kind of monologue at the moment, and I'm hoping that works. I say monologue because after an initial short para when Granddaughter goes round to Grandma's, the rest of it is Grandma talking about her memories.

The way I'm writing this novel now, with Grandma's monologues, I'm able to release information about things that might have played a part in making the MC behave the way she is. Of course, we can only rely on Grandma's memory of what took place, so that, in a sense, makes it unreliable, though still, hopefully, believable.

Friday 16 October 2009

Hmmmm, Time - for New Novel

I've written the first chapter! Or thereabouts. Now, because I'm submitting my novel extracts to the MA workshops, I have to have stuff in and ready, so I'm being MADE to write it.

This is good in some ways, yet I now find myself not knowing enough about the novel I now want to write. Or should I say enough about how the plot might evolve. So with that in mind, I plan to do a bit of planning over the weekend.

I'm going to miss out on subbing some work for next Thursday's workshop, which is fine to do every now and then. I do have something already subbed for next Tuesday's workshop, so while I think and plan I'm still going to get feedback on what I've already written. It'll just give me that bit of extra time to try to find meaning to what I'm writing, a shape or a form, might be a start. I also want to think a bit about story and character motivation.

Monday 12 October 2009

New Novel

I'm thinking about what to write in a new novel. Over the last few years I've had a few novel ideas, started them, and always, enthusiasm for the idea has either petered out, or it hasn't seemed like the novel I really want to write.

I don't know why this is. I think I need to really look at what I want to say, at the style, content, genre. I want to think hard about this over the next week or so, because I could write this novel as part of my Creative Writing M.A.

I love reading about families, how they function, or not in some cases. It's a good idea to write about what you like reading about, I think. So...thinking...thinking...

Sunday 11 October 2009

University Blogging

I've finally managed to open the elusive DOCx files. After spending far too many hours on trying all sorts of ways to open the documents, I finally downloaded File Format Converters.

It won't work with Internet Explorer, but it does work with Firefox. Now, I don't know if that's because of the UNI server, or what.

Anyway, I can finally open everyone's docs, which is good news. I didn't want to have to keep asking people to send me the old word doc files, or paste into the body of an e mail, which one kind student did for me.

I didn't want to have to go to the library either, not when I have my own pc and printer set up here in my flat. It really annoyed me, the thought of having to go to the library. I mean, I work three full days each week, too, so it's not as though I have all the time in the world.

Computer related stuff really does my head in sometimes, especially when I can't get things to work. But hey, I can now relax in the knowledge that I CAN OPEN ANY DOCUMENTS I LIKE!!!

Saturday 10 October 2009

University Blogging cont...

Had my second workshop on Thursday. Very good! I was a tad confused about which students were submitting work on which days. See, Tuesdays we have workshops with both full-time students and part-time students. Thursdays it's just for full-timers. Part-timers, plus one of the full-time students (to make up the numbers) were asked to submit their work on Wednesday.

I was under the impression that the full-timers didn't have to read and critique the part-timers' work, but we do. To add to that, the full-timers who have a workshop on Thursdays, have to submit their work on-line by lunchtime Friday, ready for the following week's Thursday workshop. I work Fridays, so had to get it in on Thursday evening at the latest. With me so far? No, I'm not surprised.

The worst bit is that I couldn't open quite a few of the docs that had been submitted, as they were in Docx format, apparently the latest in Word.

Anyway, I e-mailed to say I was having problems and some of the students have re-submitted to me in the 'old' Word doc format, but some haven't yet got back to me. I have to have six critiques ready for Tuesday morning. I work all day Monday, so that leaves, just Sunday. Sigh.

Tuesday 6 October 2009

University Blogging - First Workshop

I've had my first workshop! It went really well, and I'm going to love it! Even managed to write something and read it out. It was interesting to get a flavour of what the workshops will entail. We studied a photograph and wrote our own take on the pic, from either the person in the photo or the person taking the photo, or any other way you liked.

I could not believe that three of us were late for the FIRST EVER WORKSHOP!! We were told Meeting Room One. I followed the signs to Seminar Room One. They're one and the same, right? WRONG! Three forlorn students stood outside this room for five minutes. One of the students then said something about engineering. I looked at the guy standing across from me. I'd seen him at the welcome meeting so knew he was part of my group. "Erm, aren't you in creative writing?" I asked the other guy. He said, "Nope, engineering."

We hot-footed it up the stairs, where we found yet another of our brood (also late) and found MEETING ROOM ONE, the class already underway. Luckily for us the tutor was very understanding. Still, I felt very silly and stupid. What's the motto? Research your venue!

Later, I'm going to my first lecture, 5 pm until 6 pm: The Writing as Practice Lectures (inc Plaigiarism) with George Green.

There's Friday lectures too, 12 until 1 pm. But sadly, it's a working day for me, so I'll miss them, unless I'm on annual leave or flexi day, then I'll try to catch the odd one.

But, it's underway folks. Uni life really has begun. Here. Right now.

Friday 2 October 2009

University Blogging - The Accommodation

Did I mention our accommodation at Uni? No? Okay, well, do you know, I'm pleasantly surprised. I thought it was going to be much scruffier, with ancient fixtures and fittings, but no, it's very clean and modern. Having said that, this particular flat and block, and the few blocks adjoining are just over a year old.

We struck lucky I think, because the part of the Uni I initially requested to be housed in, is quite a long way from where my workshops are held, and further away from the main body of the Uni, and the inner spine which seems to lead to everywhere once you get used to it.

We arrived on the Saturday, found the porter's lodge with the help of a nice young girl in a blue 'helper' tee shirt. We got the keys, went up a few flights, opened the door...there was a surprisingly large double bedroom, with wet room en suite. Another door...da da! The living space, which if I'm totally honest threw me for a minute. I was looking for another door that might lead to a larger is quite small, but it has a two seater settee, desk where the tv stands, and under-ped, another desk for pc and a kitchen area.

The flat has all mod cons, ya know, like toaster, microwave, iron, a cupboard out in the hallway that houses a mop and bucket, an ironing board (not used one of those for yonks) oven, hob.

Overall, once we'd got used to the small living area, it's a loveley flat. Do I detect a hint of optimism here in my scribblings? Am I almost saying I feel comfortable and fine with it all?

Not quite. Not yet. But I feel in my bones that day might come.

University Blogging

Well, Freshers' Week is coming to a close. Not that I've had an awful lot of involvement in it, just that it will be good to get into a routine, as I'm sure some of the other students would agree.

I'm also back to work next week, so it's work three days, workshops at Uni for two days, plus homework, peer critiques, reflective pieces, etc etc. Added to that, I have an interview for a new job next Thursday afternoon, which kind of interferes with one of the first-week workshops. Damn and blast! I will work around it somehow, as this new job would be better pay and a higher grade, so yes, I do want it. It's more my cup of tea, too. For the moment, Project Team Member sounds good to me, honey-pies.

I have my youngest daughter and Granddaughter coming to stay on Saturday night, so I'm looking forward to seeing them. I may take them for a Uni pizza, let Granddaughter see a different slice of life. Who knows, maybe she'll want some of this for herself, later on in life.

Thursday 1 October 2009

More University Blogging

Hey! I've now got my library card, my purple card, & a Uni parking permit is in the offing for hubby.

I can find my way to the Porter's lodge, the bank, the medical centre, the library, the security lodge, all cafes and restaurants (yum) and, ahem, all of the bars. Not that I frequent such places, la la la have no idea where my first workshop will be held next week! Oh yes I have, it's right across from my flat, so that is VERY good news.

I'm feeling much better about the whole move. Did I say how i really felt at the beginning? No? I think I was scared to...and SCARED is the operative word, because that's exactly how i've felt, really, about everything.

Honestly, slap my wrists please. It felt like the first day at, that's not true, because I actually can't remember the first day. What I do remember is the very large E I wrote on a piece of paper when it should have been a very small e. It covered the whole page, and I felt very scared.

Wednesday 30 September 2009

University Blogging

I must say I was very impressed with the registration arrangements at Uni today. I strolled into the library, was directed upstairs, asked if I was a Graduate, then shown to a very small queue, seated at a table, spoken to, and I.D checked, then shown to another table where a lady took my photo with a camera situated on her desk, and I was given a library card there and then (breath). Great!

Tuesday 29 September 2009

University Blogging

Well, here I am at Uni! Can't believe I took the plunge and moved on campus, along with hubby.

I arrived Saturday 26th September. We're in family flats, and they're only a year old, so are quite nice and modern, though small. Yesterday, I had the welcome lunch with the rest of the Creative Writing MA students, which was nice, getting to know the people I'll be spending creative time with over the coming twelve months.

We have a residential to look forward to at the beginning of November. A full week at the National Writers' Centre for Wales, at Ty Newydd.


How we get there is a different matter, as apparently from Lancaster it takes around eight hours on the train! Hope one of the other students is driving and I can car-share, or, maybe a few of us can hire a mini-bus or something.

But it's all new and exciting, if not a bit daunting.

Will Blog more later.

Monday 7 September 2009

Saturday 5 September 2009

Halfway through Story

I'v written over half of a Christmas story. Hoping to finish over the weekend and get it off to a mag. NOW is the time to send them Christmas stories.

Thursday 3 September 2009

Nice Little Cheque For Mag Filler

In May 2009, I sent a small filler to Prima Mag: My words followed the sentence: You know you're getting old when...

I found the call for these fillers on my mate Kath's WOMAG Blog:


Honestly, it was two lines long, so I'm quite chuffed to have received Twenty-five pounds. Well, we are in a recession, ya know!

Tuesday 1 September 2009

Yay - Written Beginning of Story

So, I said I'd record my progress here. Well, I managed to write notes, and a basic story outline. Wrote the first bit tonight. Pleased as punch. I can only expand on this great start. Tomorrow? More of the same.

Monday 31 August 2009

Need a Kick up the Backside

I really do need a swift kick. Just lately, I've been lax with my writing. I either haven't felt like it, or am too tired, or can't be know, the usual suspects.

Anyway, to make it more real, and to motivate myself, I'm ANNOUNCING on here that I will write SOMETHING every day for the next seven days. I will also chart how I'm doing with it...ON HERE! There!

Tuesday 11 August 2009

Miss Havisham - My Final Words - AND DID YOU KNOW?

My final words were to Pip, after he saved me from the fire:

"Take the pencil and write under my name, 'I forgive her!'"

But still I died, weeks later, and Estella became my chief beneficiary.

AND DID YOU KNOW? The condition "The Miss Havisham effect" has been coined by scientists to describe a person who suffers a painful longing for lost love, which can become a physically addictive pleasure by activation of reward and pleasure centers in the brain, which have been identified to regulate addictive behavior - regions commonly known to be responsible for craving and drug, alcohol and gambling addiction.

*The above is referenced on Wikipedia*


Miss Havisham - Film Adaptations of Great Expectations - Who Played Me?

+ Martita Hunt (1946)

+ Margaret Leighton (1974)

+ Joan Hickson (1981)

+ Jean Simmons (who had previously played Estella in 1946 opposite Hunt) (1989)

+ Anne Bancroft (1998)

+ Charlotte Rampling (1999)

If I could have, I would have played myself...just because I enjoyed the misery and mayhem that I caused, because of what had been done to me...though secretly, I wished for a happy ending...

'Believe this: when she first came to me, I meant to save her from misery like my own. At first I meant no more. But as she grew, and promised to be very beautiful, I gradually did worse, and with my praises, and with my jewels, and with my teachings, and with this figure of myself always before her a warning to back and point my lessons, I stole her heart away and put ice in its place.'


"Until you spoke to Estella the other day, and until I saw in you a looking-glass that showed me what I once felt myself, I did not know what I had done. What have I done! What have I done!"

Miss Havisham - What They say about Me!

I've been called some things in my time, and though I wasn't around when the general public spoke so much about me, here is some of what I now know people thought about me. You find out so much after you've left this world you know...

I've been called strange, grotesque, the wicked witch in the fairytale, passionate, proud, beautiful, headstrong, vengeful, a cross between a waxwork and a skeleton.

And do you know? They're all true.

They say I trained and used Estella to avenge society. No, I did not teach Estella to love, and there was, deep within her, something that responded to emotional fury. But was it society I wanted to strike at? No, it was myself.

I had power in the form of wealth. A spinster living in a run-down mansion with my adopted daughter, Estella. Did I use wealth to manipulate others to do as I wished? Why yes, I did. I used as I had been used.

Did being jilted at the altar ruin my life? Why, yes, it did.

Miss Havisham - a bit about what THEY said

Herbert Pocket speaking to Pip:

'The marriage day was fixed, the wedding dresses were bought, the wedding tour was planned out, the wedding guests were invited. The day came, but not the bridegroom. He wrote her a letter —'

`Which she received,' I struck in, `when she was dressing for her marriage? At twenty minutes to nine?'

`At the hour and minute,' said Herbert, nodding, `at which she afterwards stopped all the clocks. What was in it, further than that it most heartlessly broke the marriage off, I can't tell you, because I don't know. When she recovered from a bad illness that she had, she laid the whole place to waste, as you have seen it, and she has never since looked upon the light of day.'

`Is that all the story?' I asked, after considering it.

`All I know of it; and indeed I only know so much, through piecing it out for myself; for my father always avoids it, and, even when Miss Havisham invited me to go there, told me no more of it than it was absolutely requisite I should understand. But I have forgotten one thing. It has been supposed that the man to whom she gave her misplaced confidence, acted throughout in concert with her half-brother; that it was a conspiracy between them; and that they shared the profits.'

`I wonder he didn't marry her and get all the property,' said I.

`He may have been married already, and her cruel mortification may have been a part of her half-brother's scheme,' said Herbert. `Mind! I don't know that.'

`What became of the two men ? ' I asked, after again considering the subject.

`They fell into deeper shame and degradation — if there can be deeper — and ruin.'

`Are they alive now?'

`I don't know.'

Miss Havisham - What I said to Pip

`What do you think that is?' I asked Pip, again pointing with my stick; `that, where those cobwebs are?'

`I can't guess what it is, ma'am.'

`It's a great cake. A bride-cake. Mine!'

Blog Takeover Day - By Miss Havisham

How tragically pathetic I look...though there's a certain beautiful longing there, don't you think?


My Story is in 15th August Issue of My Weekly

My story is due to be published in the 15th August issue of My Weekly. It's called Sweet Taste of Success - not the original title, which was Two Shining Stars.

I'm chuffed they bought it, and liked it. All my friends and family can scoot off and buy a copy. I've only sent them one more story since they accepted this one, and that's been due to a lack of time, more than anything else. I WILL write more, and my next offering is going to be a pocket novel for My Weekly, so fingers crossed for that!!

I did mean to start it today at lunchtime, but didn't get round to it. Too much Caffe Nero coffee!!

Sunday 2 August 2009

Holidays Here I Come!!

Off for a well-earned holiday tomorrow, back Friday. Yes, you heard it here the coast I travel...oh, the spangled glitter and razzmatazz of Southport.

Be good while I'm away, y'hear...

Wednesday 29 July 2009

CBBC Shortlist Names & Script Titles

Just in case anyone is interested, here are the names of those shortlisted for the CBBC comp, and the lovely, interesting titles. A bit about the Masterclass, too:


Monday 20 July 2009

CBBC - Link to Writersroom Blog About Recent Comp

Paul Ashton says: "We did receive a fair proportion of scripts that showed promising writing and writers - but that just didn't really connect with the brief and the potential audience. In fact, we received a lot of scripts in general that didn't have central characters below the age of 12, that were unsuitable for a 6-12 audience, that weren't particularly imagined and told from the child's point of view. We also received a lot of scripts covering very similar precincts and ideas. For example, school - first day of school, bullying at school, geeks at school, weird conspiracy/sci-fi/alien/monster at school. We had a lot of portals into other dimensions, plenty of time travel, a fair few goblins/monsters/aliens."



Tuesday 14 July 2009

Do you Outline or Not?

I was looking over at Scott Myers' BLOG, which always fascinates me. He's discussing outlines, and links to a post he wrote a while back: LINK HERE TO HOW PAUL SCHRADER OUTLINES, THEN RE-OUTLINES

Personally, I tend to write lots of notes about my idea, then write a short story of sorts, and then start the script. Sometimes, I don't need to refer to my notes, because the actual writing of the notes, then the story, has fixed things firmly in my mind, and I then feel free to write it in script form.


Writing Neuroses ... mine are rare, yours may be legion

Writing Neuroses ... mine are rare, yours may be legion LINK

I loved this post when i read it on Kay Sexton's Blog, which I discovered through a link on my mate Quillers' Blog. LINK TO QUILLERS' BLOG

Saturday 11 July 2009

CBBC - Well done to the Twenty - On to the Next Thing

I didn't hear anything from CBBC, so I'll take it that my script didn't get to a second reading, though I know two people whose scripts DID make it through to a second read, so WELL DONE to: LINK TO BANG2WRITE'S BLOG AND: SOFLUID'S BLOG

ALSO, there's mention of MATT SINCLAIR who DID make it through: LINK TO JEZ FREEDMAN'S BLOG

Well done to the above writers, and onwards and upwards onto the next project. I mean, there were over 700 entries, so that's absolutely brilliant to have made a second reading.

I'm thinking about what to write next, and my idea that I mentioned earlier, is still fermenting, so, that's the objective for today - think some more, start with notes, take it forward.

Thursday 9 July 2009

CCBC - Anyone Heard Anything?

The suspense is killing me!! I feel all jittery and strange. Hope that's a good omen.

I know on one bit of the Writersroom rules it said: Will hear BY Friday, then somewhere else it said bluntly: Will hear ON Friday.

Come on! Get in there!

That's a cheer for ALL OF US!

Monday 6 July 2009

New Idea

I have an idea for my next project. It's a tv drama, but veering towards comedy/drama, so maybe a black comedy? Heck, I dunno.

Anyhow, I have the idea, though not yet written notes, which is always my first job. But it got me I know what i'm going to do with this at the end? I always like to be working towards something, writing to some purpose. So, first off, I'm going to scout around some of the deadlines calendars, and seek out an opportunity. Once I've found something that might be suitable to send the script to, I shall begin my noterly scribbles.

Friday 3 July 2009

CBBC - Over 700 Entries to the Comp


Wow! That's a LOT of entries. If we, fellow Bloggers, get through to the shortlist, we deserve a very big pat on the back. That is a large amount of scripts to sift and sort, but hope still reigns supreme.

Sunday 28 June 2009

CBBC Script Finished & Ready To Go!!

All I can say is Phew!

I have to thank Michelle (Sofluid) MICHELLE'S BLOG and Paul PAUL's BLOG for crtiquing my first draft. The critiques were enormously helpful and I then embarked on a re-write. I ditched some of it, added to it and overhauled a lot of it.

I now think the script reads like an action packed, children's tv script, rather than a story that lacked oomph.

Anyway, it's bagged and tagged and ready to go to the BBC tomorrow morning. It's cutting it fine, but it should get there.

Hope one of us is successful.

Monday 22 June 2009

Saturday 20 June 2009

CBBC - First Draft Finished!

It's late, but I had to post that I've finished the first draft. It's been quite hard going today, but worth it.

I'm pleased with it, although it needs tweaking and a good going over, to check facts, and edit, edit, edit, then I may just have a decent script to send in to the comp.


Friday 19 June 2009

CBBC - Over Halfway There...ribbon in sight...

I'm feeling better about this project. I'm really into the flow now, and am over halfway there. More writing tonight, then once finished, tidy up and chip away at unnecessary evils.

Writing for children isn't as easy as it sounds. You have to first of all think about the budget, amount of lines children can cope with, fitting adult scenes in to break it all up, speak from a child's point of view, have plenty of action and less dialogue. Yes, it's not at all easy, but then, if it was, we wouldn't need to work on our scripts like we do, and really, that's half the fun, or angst, whichever way you look at it. Bit of both for me, actually.

I read some useful info from fellow Bloggers about the CBBC Q & A session held recently in London, so here are the links to those posts & those brilliant Blogs:




Monday 15 June 2009

CBBC - Deadline Looming

I really am trying, I am! I keep going off on tangents, creating new ideas, making things so much more difficult than they should be. Or am I? Isn't it meant to be difficult anyway, this process of putting ideas and characters into a readable, gripping format??

I'm nowhere near finished, but I do like working this way, with not much time left. It kind of forces me to keep on, to make sure I puff and pant my way to the winning post, break the ribbon, shout Hurrah!

Just letting you know, I am trying.

Monday 8 June 2009

CCB Script - So Far So Good

Well, I've started proper. I scribbled an outline, filled it in a bit, then started thinking about characters - who they are, what they like etc. I've now started writing the body, and have been offered a script exchange with Sofluid, so that's given me the impetus to get it right, because somebody will be having a look at it. Yeah!

Friday 5 June 2009

Brussels Film Festival - Film Story Competition

Well, I saw the link for this on BBC Writersroom, promptly posted it on Twitter, then somebody informed me that the deadline was next day (today - Friday). Must pay more attention in future. Of course, I didn't have time to write anything new, but seeing as they seemed to be looking for a story premise rather than a fully fledged script, I sorted through my story files and sent two to them last night.

The prize is a free place on a Script Factory course of your choice. That would be quite nice.

I don't think I'll have a chance, but hey, at least I sent something, and you never know.

Wednesday 3 June 2009

Newsjack - BBC New Topical Sketch Show

It's open to everyone to write for. Newsjack takes a comical look at the week's news stories.

Check out the BBC Writersroom Link below


Tuesday 2 June 2009

Meet Head of CBBC in London Re: CBBC Script Opportunity

To tie in with the launch of the CBBC New Writers competition to find exciting new writers for Children's Drama, BBC writersroom is proud to present the new head of CBBC Drama Steven Andrew in conversation with Kate Rowland.


Monday 1 June 2009

Know Any Young Fiction Writers?

Here's a fiction writing comp for ages eight to eighteen:


Credit to Womagwriter, on whose Blog I found the link: LINK TO WOMAGWRITER'S BLOG

Saturday 30 May 2009

Script Call for UK Horror Film

Found this on Danny Stack's brilliant site:


Wednesday 27 May 2009

Lancaster University - MA - Open Day

Today, I attended the open day for the MA in Creative Writing:

Just got back. Phew! I stupidly wore boots with heels (why did I??) and by then end of the campus tour I was hobbling like a good un.

It was great, very informative, with some distance MA students and some campus based MA students. One lady from Dublin, who is taking the distance course, a lady from Liverpool, also on the distance course, and a lady from Coventry who will be living there like me. There was a youngish bloke who is finishing his undergraduate course in English & Creative Writing. There are also overseas students who were unable to make it today.

Graham Mort who is one of the distance learning tutors was there and a few others, like Pete Farley, who is a campus based tutor.

We had a buffet and coffee to start, listened to what the course will involve, then listened to existing students. Tour round campus, back for a Q & A session, where I found that two thirds of applicants were turned down for the course. There'll be ten to twelve students in the group. In November, we will be going on a residential intensive writing course for a week, either at Lumb Bank or Cardigan Bay!

I'm very excited and drained (because of the hobbling) and looking forward to the whole experience.

Saturday 23 May 2009

CBBC Children's Drama Opportunity

This is what it says on the Writersroom Opportunities page:

Do you have stories to tell that we've never seen before?
Can you create characters the audience will fall in love with?

We want to find the next generation of CBBC writers with fresh perspectives, original voices, and the ability to create unforgettable characters.

This opportunity is open to any writer who wants to write Children's drama for the 6-12 age range. We are looking for 30-minute original TV scripts of unmissable and infectious storytelling, offering fresh cultural perspectives, tales combining authenticity with hope and joy, stories from a child's point of view, characters that will engage and surprise the audience, scripts that are powerful, emotional, and contemporary, shows that will work for the CBBC audience and channel but can dare to take risks.


I have an idea for this. It's slowly germinating, so I'm not going to rush into writing it just yet, but will spend some thinking time on the project. Most, well okay, some, of the story is there, lurking, but it's the how's and when's that I need to get straight.

Don't you just love it when the idea hits, and you can't stop mulling it over?

Friday 8 May 2009

The Final Tweet

The last Tweep has Twittered. We've said our farewells, & promised to meet again if the opportunity arises, just like real people would do. It's been an absolute blast being part of the RFM Twitter Play. We've had great support & much well-wishing along the way, which always helps.

Next step is to listen to the play on radio after editing (shuffling of Tweets rather than deleting words), casting, then actors through to radio waves and on to the listener.

Can't Wait!

Tuesday 5 May 2009

Countdown - Twitter Play - Four Days Left

I was thinking today about the image I had of Francine Harpur before I started writing her character. I didn't know her name before I got the gig, but knew the short character bio.

I had a picture in my mind, what she loked like, how she would 'speak' but it wasn't until I started writing her that her character evolved into something else. Of course, because she's responding to the other five characters, this has played a part in shaping her.

She felt posh, a bit removed from normal life (whatever normal is) but, compassionate, generous, materialistic, dotty, living in her big house in Islington, surrounded by all the trappings, by the world of Fragrance Design, by expensive bottles of champagne.

And, of course, she had to have conflict somewhere in her life, and the main source of conflict is Florrie (love that name - will call my new pup that when I get her).

The whole thing feels like a tragicomedy, and it'll be very interesting to see what comes out of it and what it's shaped into.

Sunday 3 May 2009

Five Days Left To Tweet

It's going so quickly! I can hardly believe we started Tweeting for the Twitter play, seven days ago. I think we're all really into character now. Strangely, it's become quite easy to rattle off fragharpy's thoughts & dreams & lifestyle. Or maybe I should say worryingly!!

Whatever, it's a unique experience for me, & one that I would glady repeat if ever I got the chance.

Friday 1 May 2009

Tweet Play - Day Five

It's been a roller-coaster five days! One week to go. The characters are such an eclectic mix that if we were 'REAL' people, I'm not sure we'd click the 'FOLLOW' button to become better acquainted.

I feel that my character, fragharpy, indomitable spirit that she is, is becoming ever so slightly less zestful. And there are two reasons for this. The first reason is that she, like the other five characters, only Follows five Tweeters. They're not all as bouncy & brimming with good fortune as our fragharpy. Nay, could she allow herself to become a little disillusioned?

The second reason she may be distancing herself from some of the characters is because she can't deal with/doesn't understand their bluntness, or lack of frivolity, apart from the dead one, Sidebird, who's having a ball on the other side. It'll be interesting to see how we all develop during the coming week.

Wednesday 29 April 2009

Twittering Heck - Third Day

I work during the day apart from Mondays, and I've all next week off, on annual leave...YEAH! So...I've come straight home from work & donned the flighty Francine's (fragharpy's) skin for yet another evening's Twitterooo. Surprising how easy it is to get straight into character, especially as all the other characters are interacting & helping shape one another. I like when they ask the RIGHT kind of questions!

Tuesday 28 April 2009

Tweeting - Twitter Play Second Day

I think things are shaping up...characters are coming to life in Real Time. It's strange, it's weird, but it's quite exhilarating. You can see that people are thinking on their feet, they're having to.

Mini sub-plots are forming, Spidery tangents are webbing together in intricate formation. There's also a lot of random stuff, and that's the way Twitter works.

So far, I'm loving it...

Monday 27 April 2009

Twitter News - I Play Character B!

After two weeks of nonsensical Tweeting on Twitter, I'm pleased & proud to say that I'm one of the chosen writers to write the part of Francine Harpur, a London based fragrance designer & freelance 'nose'. Lasting for two weeks, it all kicked off today, & so far it's going really well. I find myself 'being' this character & have imagined Lisa Goddard's character (remember the lovely Lisa?) in ITV's 'Yes Honestly' to be quite similar to Francine.

Follow my updates if you like: see the 'Follow Me' link under fragharpy on this Blog sidebar. I'm also on Twitter as my 'real' ID, Antoniablue, but have suspended the 'Follow' tag on this name for now.

It's going to be fun, a blast, a real experience.

Will update about its progress by the day.

Tuesday 21 April 2009

I Was Able to Change the 'About Me' Section!

...From "Hoping to become a full time MA Creative Writing student with Lancaster University..." TO...Well, see for yourself!

Yes! Lancaster University Here I Come!

Had word today that I've been offered a place on the MA in Creative Writing at Lancaster. I am so, so, pleased. I start in October 2009, and will Blog about the whole experience.

How's that song go? This could be the start of something good!!!

Friday 10 April 2009

Happy Easter!

Hope you all have a great time this Easter, whether you're DOING stuff, or just lounging the holiday away.

Some Easter facts and non-facts:

A child born on Good Friday and baptised on Easter Sunday has the gift of healing.

Many fishermen will not set out for catch on Good Friday.

Bread or cakes baked on this day will not go mouldy.

Eggs laid on Good Friday will never go bad.

The planting of crops is not advised on this day, as an old belief says that no iron should enter the ground (i.e. spade, fork etc.).

Hot cross buns baked on Good Friday were supposed to have magical powers. It is said that you could keep a hot cross bun which had been made on Good Friday for at least a year and it wouldn't go mouldy.

Hardened old hot cross buns are supposed to protect the house from fire

Sailors took hot cross buns to sea with them to prevent shipwreck.

A bun baked on Good Friday and left to get hard could be grated up and put in some warm milk to stop an upset tummy.

Having a hair cut on Good Friday will prevent toothaches the rest of the year.

Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm. Wouldn't you know it, all the hairdressers are on holiday! Ouch! That rotten molar!

Trailer For Duncan Jones's MOON Film

Must Watch: Phenomenal Trailer for Duncan Jones's Moon! It looks really good.


Thursday 9 April 2009

Reasons to be


Hurry, Hurry, Hurry!


Yes, I'm finally Tweeting on Twitter. You can follow me by clicking the Follow Me link on the right hand side of this Blog.

It's an experience...unusual...exhilarating...informative...crazily ubelieveably mad as a hatter...Alice in Wonderland...and I feel like I'm through the looking glass...

Sunday 5 April 2009

Eastenders - The Danielle Episode!


I've loved the whole Danielle/Ronnie storyline, but to be frank, I was getting a little bit tired of the will she tell, won't she tell dragging-it-out scenario. Yes, it was great each time she almost told Ronnie: "You're. My. Mother!" Archie lied his socks off saying he'd told Ronnie, then he hadn't, then he had. So frightened was he that Ronnie would find out that he lied about Danielle having died years ago, that he was prepared to KILL Danielle. I thought that showed the measure of our Archie, really, really well.

So, I was pleased when the biggie finally happened. I thought the dramatic writing was excellent, the acting superb, the directing wonderful. That wedding reception in a transformed Vic, was so realistic, from the background soothing music, to Billy and his attempt at a best-man speech.

I almost sobbed when Ronnie chased after Danielle, and said: "Baby." Wow. The car accident was realistic, and I found myself screeching at the screen: "NO! NO! NO!" God, I wanted that girl to live.

Or did I?

What would the aftermath have been like if she'd lived? Okay, she could have been in a coma for a while. We could have watched as Ronnie tootled along to the orspital with flowers and tears. Would that have been dragging it out again? Yes, I think so. What then? Wake from the coma? Saunter into the sunset hand in hand?

But what about the dramatic conflict?

What about Ronnie's character? She's cold, vulnerable underneath it all, damaged goods, and that's what I LIKE about her.

If she'd lived and Ronnie and Danielle had attempted some kind of relationship, it would have had to have gone wrong, or not live up to expectations, or SOMETHING, because where's the drama in that? Where's our wounded Ronnie?

Happy endings? Yes, sometimes, and there are plenty on tv, some in Eastenders too, though they tend not to remain happy for long - or they aren't without their conflicts. But that's Eastenders, and if you look at most of the other British soaps, they're exactly the same.

Take Coronation Street: We have alcoholic Peter Barlow, Steve and Becky's wedding gone wrong, dastardly David Platt who once tried to murder his mother, and much, much more. But Coronation Street is a gentler soap, for all that conflict. It just is. And there's more comedy in the Street. In Eastenders there's more dramatic tension, but there's irony there, black humour. I love it.

More on this later.

Friday 27 March 2009

A Bit of Good News

I'm happy to say that I've just sold a story to My Weekly magazine.

I've previously had a bit of story-selling success with The Weekly News, but this is the first magazine I've sold a story to. As soon as I got the e mail yesterday, I wrote another! Needs tweaking and all that, but I'll be sending that one soon, and hoping for a second hit. It all counts and it really fires me up, having some small success. Makes me want to keep on writing those stories. Short stories are brilliant for making you tighten up your story, with beginning, middle and end. Good practise for me now that my sights are set on radio or tv drama, or maybe even theatre.

Monday 23 March 2009

Change Of Plan

I've done this before, changed my mind about what I'm going to work on. In the post below, I said I was going to work on a spec tv series, but I just wrote a short story, and it's given me an idea for either a radio play, or perhaps five fifteen minute related stories that might be suitable for radio.

Sigh...I just have to go with what feels more important, and the radio thing does for some reason.

Thursday 19 March 2009

Next Project: TV Spec Series

I have the idea, and have already written a brief first episode outline. I heard somewhere on the blogoshpere that it's best to write what you're passionate about, what fires you. I've always done that, really, though knowing why something fires you like it does, is another mystery. People say write what you know, which I think is correct, but it doesn't have to be know as in, you write about an alcoholic, so you should have had an experience of, or with an alcoholic. Not necessarily, say I.

We've (probably) all seen an alcoholic, so we know how they behave, even if we've only seen one on film. We know emotion like love and hate and greed and lust etc, so we put what we know of those experiences (and others) into everything we write, and that, to me, is writing what you know.

Anyway, I'm quite excited about this series idea. I'm going to get it all down, do some character studies, then write the first spec episode. If there's a comp out there, I'll send it in. if not, I'll send it to BBC Writersroom.

Wednesday 4 March 2009

Age Matters?

Does it heck!

There are a few conversations happening at the moment on various Blogs, about this very subject. An editor has apparently said that she wouldn't take on a new writer over the age of thirty-five!!! What? Is she living in cloud cuckoo land my dears? There are more older people than there are young - and that's rising my friends.

Writing transcends age. I bet a good writer could write a piece and nobody would be able to tell if that person is twenty five or sixty five. Now I could begin to say that mature people have more life experience, more mulled maturity, therefore are richer writers, but I won't, because to me it don't matter a fig. And a great big SADDO to those to whom it does matter.

Tuesday 24 February 2009

Ha Ha ha ha Ha ha ha!!!!!!...

...That's what I hope they'll do when they read the three sketches I've just e mailed to 7 on 7, the BBC sketch competition. Somehow, I doubt it. It's not that I haven't any confidence in my ability to write a sketch, just that comedy is so subjective isn't it?

I watched a video of a short sketch, on a Blog the other day, supposed to be funny, but I couldn't see anything funny about it at all. To me, it was completely and utterly puerile.

There are some good sketches on tv (to my mind) that I can laugh at, but some leave me cold. I wonder how mine will leave the readers...stone cold, luke warm, or red hot??

We'll see.

Ill tell you what made me laugh out loud all the way through: Jerry Springer The Opera. I didn't see it live, just on tv, but it was the funniest thing...

Tuesday 17 February 2009

So...You Can Write Can You?

This post is prompted by a conversation over at Helen's Blog.

Now, it's true that many people, when confronted with the fact you're a writer, will say THEY too CAN write, or SHOULD write, or WOULD write...but...and the conversation over at Helen's Blog is going to be really funny and witty.

But what I find, is that people always want you to spell out (metaphorically speaking) what you've written. I don't know about you, but I hate doing that! I can never explain it properly in words, to non-writers, or even writers if I'm honest. Gawd, I'll have to improve if I'm ever going to pitch at some stage. It always ends up sounding so lame (to my ears) and I forget what the heck I've written and why.

Then you get the IDEAS person, who can't wait for you to finish your ramblings so they can tell you their much BETTER idea.

No wonder I tend not to tell people I write, because they keep asking you how you're doing..nothing published yet? long have you been writing?...when you tell them a number of years, they gasp and can't understand how you haven't MADE it yet...Grrr.

The worst experience for me was with the woman who runs the local Post Office. I handed over a M.S to be posted and she looked at the address, asked me what I'd written, then what else I'd written and told me I'd probably end up as successful as J.K. I mean, this from a woman who hasn't read any of my stuff...unless she sneaked a look-see. But how can I live up to her expectations???

Theatre Play Or Radio Play?

I finished the second radio play for the Alfred Bradley Award, and thought I would try writing a theatre play for The Fringe Marriott comp. Anyway, as I started writing, I realised my new scribblings had to be written in radio play format.

So I've written ANOTHER radio play, though I might adapt it for theatre, so I have both formats.

Where to send the new radio play? It's shorter than the previous two, running at about thirty minutes. I can either expand it and send it into Writersroom (though I have one aleady in the hands of Writersroom, so will wait to see what happens with that) or send it to a different comp, though can't find any other radio comps at the moment.

I think I'll adapt for theatre and get it off to the Fringe Marriott, then I can always send it as a radio play, somewhere, at some point.

I really enjoyed writing this latest play, and it's very different to the last two. I'm enjoying experimenting with structure and language.

With my previous plays, I've tended to go the traditional route, straightforward story-telling, A to B kind of thing, But this latest play is a bit different, in that there's a flashback scene and quite a bit of inner thought from characters.

It's only by trying new things out that you find YOUR way, or the right way for a particular play, I suppose.

If anyone knows of a radio play competition besides the Alfred Bradley, or 7 ON 7comedy sketch comp, let me know.

Monday 9 February 2009

Playwriting Competition - The Windsor Fringe Marriott Award

Cancel what I said about starting a spec script for tv. I'm going to try and write a theatre play for this competition:

The Windsor Fringe Marriott Award LINK TO BBC WRITERSROOM.

Deadline: 5th March 2009.

I have the idea...

Second Entry To Alfred Bradley Now Finished!

Great! I've finally finished the second entry, and it's sitting in a brown envelope waiting to be posted. I'll send it tomorrow.

I've enjoyed writing this one very much, and prefer it to my first entry. I must admit, editing, and then checking for errors, and checking again, did my little nut in, though I'm glad I was so thorough because I found one or two glaring holes.

Good luck to anyone who's entered, and let's hope one of us at least, will be cracking open the champagne, come May. I'll crack open a bottle in April, if I'm shortlisted.

Sunday 8 February 2009

Being Human - BBC 3 TV

Anyone watched this yet? I missed the first couple of episodes, but caught it tonight after hearing good things about it.

I'm so glad I watched it. It's a kind of modern-day vampire/werewolf/ghost story, with lots of human elements for the not so human cast. I think that's why it works. A comedy/drama that follows the lives of a werewolf, a vampire, and a ghost, all living in a house together. What a great idea.

There are, or have been lots of other-wordly type tv shows. When people say don't try to copy or write something that's gone beore, they don't necessarily mean don't write ABOUT those types of things, rather, just give your story and characters a new and unique slant. This is other-wordly, set in OUR world, so we have the ordinaryness of everyday life, with an extraordinary side to it.

Gripping tv.

If you want to watch catch-up episodes courtesey of the BBC, click on the LINK below:




Saturday 31 January 2009

Update On Second Entry To Alfred Bradley Comp

Well, I've now written 44 pages...and loved every minute of it. For some reason, this radio play has been easier to write than the first one. I like this one better, so whether that's the reason...Anyway, I just need to go through and edit...perhaps a few times, then read it out to check for time length.

Then I'll be sending it off to the BBC comp, and on to the next project, which is going to be a spec for a tv comedy drama, with an outline for possible future episodes.

I sound all confident and knowing, eh? Not at all. I've never written a tv spec script before, but I'm looking forward to trying a few things out. I have the idea. Can I make it work? We'll see, but I'll have a darned good try.

Wil keep you informed.

Sunday 25 January 2009

What To Do When The Muse Vacates the Premises

After reading a post on a friend's Blog, about being in a funk with writing, I thought I'd try to find out what happens to a writer when they can't seem to write any more.

With me, it's when a lack of confidence kicks in and I think that everything I write is totally and utterly rubbish. It does happen, and I don't know why. Usually, it's when I've finished something, that at the time of writing seemed so GREAT! when I go back to it, the doubts start to creep in. Then (as happens with me) it's that time before sleep when all my insecurities kick in and the muse laughs at me, that raucous, mocking laugh, as though to say, "You thought I was feeding you witty dialogue, brilliant description? Well think again you sad witch!"

It's always worse at night, in bed. Then I'll get up, go back to my piece and think, hey, so what? I like it, so there's a chance somebody else will, too.

I tend to just write any old thing when the muse is having one of her off days. I write and write and write. Even if it doesn't make a whole lot of sense, it's still writing, getting over that hurdle, that invisible force that's trying its best to thwart you. It can't do you any harm if you write, can it?

I agree with my friend, who said the winter months have a lot to answer for. I definitely feel better during spring and summer. I keep threatening to get one of those lamps to boost my ailing brain cells. Anyway, the trick, is, I feel, to fight it. Fight the nasty, sarcastic muse. Let her know who's boss! Remember, this feeling won't last for ever. Not if you keep at it.

Don't give in to those negative feelings that creep up, because if you're anything like me, once you become prolific again, you can't remember what it was like not to.

If this sounds like my writing is a dangerous and psychologically damaging exercise, think again. I absolutely love it, warts and all.

I'd be interested to know how others beat the writerly blues.

Tuesday 20 January 2009

Blog Colour Scheme

What do you think of the latest colour scheme? White background, black text and blue and purple headings?

This is the third colour scheme since I started the Blog. I began with a pink background with purple text (I think!), then a black background with white text. And now this.

I don't know what's the matter with me, I rarely decorate at home!

About My First Radio Play Entry For The Alfred Bradley Award

Well, my first entry should be sitting on a mat somewhere, deep in the bowels of the BBC. I wrote a fair few drafts, and quite a few times, when I thought all was finished, squeaky clean and sparkling, I placed the script in the envelope. Funnily enough I didn't seal it, so I must have had an idea I'd be taking it out again.

Yes, I had a few mind-blowing ideas and had to slip out the script, re-do bits and pieces, add on a little, then...finally...I felt I could let the script go.

My play is quite a simple idea, but I think I 've been a bit ambitious with it, too. It has twists and turns and there are a couple of, let's say, unusual elements in there.

I have no idea if this is what they're looking for/any good/playable on radio. That's because I've never written a radio script before, apart from the script I handed in at the Writersroom Roadshow. So it's all trial and error, and in a way that's how it has to be, until somebody sees something good in my work. I'll know, then, if I'm on the right track. I hope it'll be soooooooooooooooooon.

I've started my second comp entry. I did really well, with fifteen pages just flowing from...somewhere. I'm too tired to continue tonight but hope to write at least another fifteen pages tomorrow. It's all here, right inside my head, and completetly different to the first entry.

Picture Prompt For Tuesday 20/01/2009

Computer drawn by eight-year-old GEORGIA

Notes From The Masterclass

I thoroughly enjoyed the masterclass in Manchester. Here are some notes I penned:

They're a bit random, but here goes.


* Don't clone what you hear - try something different.

* What makes a good afternoon play? Story...story...story! Story sells a play, so tell a good one. Look at these pointers to work out if you have a good story:

* What's the concept/premise or hook?

* Is it interesting? Encapsulate in your mind what your story is about.

* Whose story is it? Make sure you know.

* What is the inciting incident that changes the path of your characters' journey?

* How does the lead character change over the course of the script?

* What is the climax/resolution? You need a satisfying ending, or one that fits with the play.

* Is your idea fresh, unique, or an exciting twist on a familiar story genre? Put a spin on it.

* What makes it a play for radio?

* Do we want comedy in drama? YES!

* The first TEN PAGES are crucial.

* Set up your world, your characters, but keep focussed.

* Give us a flavour of what is to come.

* Create a narrative hook to get us listening.

* How do you start the story? Make it ALL story.

* Don't be too expositional.


* Radio is more akin to film - setting stuff up, so think film, not theatre.

* The three act structure tends to work best.

* Think of the story as a series of steps.

* Balance the highs and lows and build to a climax.

* Does each scene earn its place? Is it needed, and what function does each scene have? if it develops character whilst moving the play along, fine.

* Show don't tell. Put your scenes in action rather than telling.


* Make your characters realistic - beware stereotypes.

* Inhabit your characters and develop convincing relationships between them. How do they behave through your eyes?

* Add conflict.

* You can have characters talking to themselves about conflict between each other (internal conflict) - inner voice, inner conflict. But, beware inner voice - people tend to use it to tell the story.

* Don't reveal character in blocks - thread them throughout the play.

* Don't have LOTS of characters - or characters of all the same age/gender.

* Don't put too many characters in one scene.

* No bad language, or it must be very mild. Try not to swear at all.

* No sex or violence for the afternoon play.


* Don't be too obvious (on the nose dialogue). You don't need to explain story points or character points.

* Character comes from the convictions and reactions of the character - character doesn't come in statements.

* The inner voice is all about inner conflict - some things can only be done inside the head. If it can be done without the inner voice, do it without.


* Is the play in the past or future? The afternoon play is about news, features, contemporary Britain. Why would you set it in the past or future, unless there's a strong reason?

* Beware guardian angels - Heaven and Hell.

* Beware too much back-story. Try not to use flash-backs, unless it ADDS to the story.

* Try not to use long time frames. Be careful of moving from the past to the present. clearly signpost.

* Setting can be anywhere.

* Car chases are rubbish - you can't picture them.


* Play to your own voice.

* The BBC looks for original voices that will stand out on radio.

* For the Alfred Bradley comp - NORTHERN VOICE!

* Take risks and be original.

* Be bold! Go for it!

* Write, re-write and re-write again.

* Send them the best draft you can.

* Less is more on direction. You can suggest songs, but the producer usually overrides, unless it's essential for the story.