The writer is a lonely hunter

gailaldwin

Writers & Artists conference in Dorset

Scripted reading

Writers & Artists have teamed up with Arts University Bournemouth (AUB) to bring a How To Get Published conference to Dorset on 28 April 2018. The aim of the day is to provide tips and practicalities for getting to grips with writing.

The conference will take place at AUB where there is plenty of free parking.  The day will include: a writing workshop of your choice with Natasha Pulley for fiction, Nelle Andrews for non-fiction and Kayo Chingonyi for poetry; panel discussion with leading editors and publishing experts and the chance to hear from leading literary agents Emma Paterson and Therese Coen who are always on the lookout for debut authors to add to their lists. The programme provides information and advice about the writing and publishing process to help progress your book.

For all local writers there is an exclusive discount code to save £30 upon booking, and secure a ticket for just £65 (RRP £95) with lunch included. Simply enter AUBWRITE18 at the checkout to unlock your saving. You can find full details of the conference and booking information here.

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What a weekend!

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L-R Michelle Donkin, Sarah Scally, Gail Aldwin, Andrew Allen

On Saturday I was delighted to be in the audience for Cast Iron X a short play night by Cast Iron Theatre in Brighton. The programme included Killer Ladybugs a ten-minute comedy written by Sarah Scally, Maria Pruden and I. The photo shows Sarah and I with the founders of Cast Iron, Michelle Donkin and Andrew Allen. We were fortunate to have Michelle direct the play and act in a small part. The production was excellent: great performances and splendid use of lighting. Many thanks to Michelle and the actors Esme Bird and Andrew Allen.

It was fascinating to watch the other plays, too. Quite remarkable to see how minimal props , effective lighting and clever writing can support such a range of creative work. I particularly enjoyed the play written and directed by Sam Chittenden. The Two of Us  was performed by Annie Packman and Kerri Frost with an interesting section of dual speeches delivered simultaneously.

A bonus of travelling to Brighton meant that we were able to stay with Regina Keith who now lives in Peacehaven. Regina is doing a wonderful job continuing her commitment to global health by teaching on the post-graduate programmes Global Public Health Nutrition and International Public Health Nutrition at the University of Westminster. Well done, Regina – keep up the excellent work!

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Killer Ladybugs in Brighton

Back in May, I posted details of a comedy sketch writing workshop delivered by Juno Theatre in Lyme Regis. The collaborative 10-minute play developed from the workshop by Sarah Scally, Maria Pruden and I was then performed as a scripted reading at the Marine Theatre. (You can read about the event here.) After the positive feedback we received on Killer Ladybugs, I sent the script to other theatre groups and it has been accepted for performance as part of a short play night with Cast Iron Theatre in Brighton.

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I am delighted to say that Killer Ladybugs will be performed by Cast Iron Theatre 24-25 November at Sweet Juke Box Theatre, Brighton. If you’d like to get tickets, you can purchase them here.

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Writers’ Day at Salisbury Literary Festival, 29 October 2017

I had a splendid time at the Writers’ Day in Salisbury. The programme was packed and started with a warm-up session using improvisation as a tool for writing by Alison Jean Lester. The ‘yes, and…’ task was a great way to generate and overcome problems in story telling by working in partnership to produce alternating lines of a story.

Further workshops followed including an excellent session delivered by Rupert Wallis which provided a rule of thumb for generating a 25-word summary. Rupert suggested starting the summary with the  word ‘when’ and introducing the problem to be overcome with the word ‘must’. For my novel The String Games, a summary might be: when Nim’s brother is abducted and murdered as a child, she must overcome unresolved grief as an adult to integrate the loss.

Susanna Dunn offered a workshop on ‘finding your voice’ which suggested that close attention to detail brings authenticity to writing. She advises writers to ‘listen with the ear of your heart’. Helen Corner-Bryant followed with suggestions for ‘unleashing your inner editor’ where she described ways to approach ‘instinctive’ and ‘structural’ editing.

After lunch there were two panels: one with a focus on publishing and the next with advice from agents. The last session was offered by Mark Dawson which gave remarkable insights into the world of a hybrid author (one that has been traditionally published and self-published). Interestingly, he felt it was vanity to seek a traditional route to publishing when the options for self-publishing can be more lucrative and offer better engagement with readers.

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Mark Dawson (right) in conversation about the secrets of self-publishing

Food for thought.

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Writers’ Open House

Do come along to this event if you’re a published writer or just beginning your writing journey.

Flyer for 7 October

About the Dorset Writers Network

Run by a voluntary steering group, the Dorset Writers Network offers support to writers across the county including isolated writers in rural areas. Their last funded project resulted in the publication of an anthology by Dorset writers titled This Little World.

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Fashion as an inspiration for writing

The Wimborne Writing Group went on a summer outing this week to the Blandford Fashion Museum. Tucked away behind the market square in a delightful Georgian house, the fashion collection of the founder, Mrs Betty Penny, forms the basis of the displays. I loved looking at garments from the 1960s and 1970s and remembered owning dresses with Laura Ashley flower prints. My favourite exhibit was a mini dress and hot pants set made from lime green cotton with white trim. It was sleeveless with off centre decorative lacing on the skirt in matching white cotton.

Sarah Barr  who leads the  Wimborne Writing Group, provided some prompts for writing as we browsed the displays. She suggested we find an outfit we liked and to imagine:

  • who the owner would have been
  • what they were like
  • their name, age and occupation

Why don’t you have a go at writing a short piece of prose by using Sarah’s prompts and applying them to this lovely exhibit?

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1960s Mini Dress and Hot Pants Set

Get in touch if you’re willing to share your story.

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Digital Story Project

 

Reading on Screen Group, Bournemouth

You may remember a recent post about a three-day workshop offered at Bournemouth University. Attendance enabled me to create a digital story about my reading journey. It was a fun experience where I learnt a great deal about editing audio and video. To read more about the workshop, click here. The end product, a two-minute digital story titled Journey is now available. Although there are plenty of things I would like to change if I got to work on this digital story again, you can have a look at the story by clicking here.

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Reading on Screen

IMG_1085Last week I attended a three-day workshop at Bournemouth University to create a story told by means of digital video. The first day focused on using images and anecdotes to generate stories with a focus on the experience of reading, especially using kindles. However, as I don’t have a kindle the ‘Reading on Screen’ workshop allowed me to tell the story of my reading history, from a non-reading child to an adult reader with a passion for writing.

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Using iMovie to develop my digital story titled ‘Journey’.

Much of the following two days were spent in the computer suite, recording audio and video footage to develop and shape the material into a story. Using iMovie, I was able to intersect shots of still and moving images with speech and sound effects. The final product is far from perfect, but I learnt and enormous amount by being involved with the process. I have to thank the organisers for the professional support they offered in  bringing my story to the screen. When ‘Journey’ goes online, I’ll post a link to YouTube so that you can see the end result.

Further workshops will be held later in the year in Sheffield and Brighton. I look forward to attending the final dissemination of learning which will take place in Brighton in December. For further information about the project see the Reading on Screen Facebook group or the Reading on Screen project website.

 

 

 

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Women are funny creatures too

I attended a comedy writing workshop with Juno Theatre last month which was a really informative and enjoyable day. By working collaboratively,  Sarah Scally, Maria Pruden and I produced a 10-minute comedy. This has been accepted for presentation so I’m    delighted to announce that our script ‘Killer Ladybugs’ will appear as part of a Scratch Night at the Marine Theatre in Lyme Regis on Wednesday 17 May 2017. The programme comprises eight scripts written by women which will be  performed by local actors. Book your seat now at the Marine Theatre. The show starts at 7:30pm and tickets cost £6 (£5 for concessions).  I hope to see you there!

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Writers in the Alley, open mic

There is a friendly and talented group of writers who meet in Dorchester on the first Wednesday of each month. They are known as Writers in the Alley due to the venue, a room sometimes used for playing skittles at Goldie’s Bar, 36 High East Street. Regular meetings are held at 7pm for a 7:30 start. Members support each other by showing a positive interest in the writing shared. On Wednesday 5 April, the group is hosting a second open mic session, so if you’re in Dorchester this is well worth attending. Go along to hear some wonderful poetry and prose presented in a variety of forms or bring your own writing to read or perform. I attended an open mic held in the autumn and it was great to find a receptive audience for my poetry. You can find Writers in the Alley on Facebook or contact the organiser on suzie.suze1@gmail.com.

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I’m really disappointed  I won’t be able to attend this open mic as I’m away from home at the beginning of April. Luckily Writers in the Alley are planning to make the open mic session a regular event so I hope to be there next time.

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