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Writers' & Artists' Blog

Writer's Block: What Can Cause Those Kinks In The Hose

‘Writer’s block’ is a term that never quite seems to convey the severity of the frustration it brings. ‘Writer’s misery’ however... well, that sounds far more accurate, doesn’t it? What could be more miserable for a writer than struggling to write three words together that you’re convinced even a toddler could write with a crayon in its sticky fist? 

Last year, I was in a bit of a... fog – not quite there, deep in writer’s misery, but a fog, where finding word after word felt like rooting around, shoulder deep, in a tissue-stuffed fairground lucky dip, being grateful for absolutely anything I could get my hands on – and in my desperation, I turned to Google. After a few clicks, I found a rant by Ray Bradbury, and one line jumped out at me immediately: ‘You’re being warned, aren’t you? Your subconscious is saying “I don’t like you anymore. You’re writing about things I don’t give a damn for.”’
Until that moment, I used to think that …

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Writing dialogue: the voices in my head

Nick Jones

In the very early stages of plotting my ghost story ‘King’s Cross’, I realised what an important part authentic dialogue would have to play. The novel features a diverse collection of characters: nuns, mini-cab drivers, firemen and a feisty Lolita-like teenager named Alice (who has some of the book’s best lines).

Would Alice say: ‘I don’t know.’ Or ‘Dunno.’? Almost certainly the latter. Would a mini-cab driver ask a fare (on being offered a £20 note): ‘Haven’t you got anything smaller?’ or ‘Ain’t yer got nothin’ smaller?’ Probably the latter. Drafting dialogue at one’s computer is all very well, but it can be time-consuming. And though most writers carry a notebook in order to scribble down their thoughts, trying to jot down a bon mot, when you’re driving the kids to school, can be dangerous! 

So I began to develop the technique of ‘rehearsing’ these exchanges in my head, usually when I was out and about doing something mundane like …

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Landing an Agent

Farheen Khan

So you’ve written your manuscript. You’ve edited the hell out of it, practically know it off by heart and the version number no longer reads ‘Final-V0.3123’. You may have let your close friends and family take a sneak peek and included their feedback, or you may have used a professional editor. Whatever the case, your novel is perfect and you’re finally ready to submit to an agent! Hurrah and well done on getting this far - I have no doubt it’s been tough! 

(I know the panic and second guessing that comes along with signing your manuscript off as ‘final’, but once you’ve made the decision, try and stick to it.)

So, what to do next?

1. Use the Writers' & Artists' Yearbook

Simple. Get organized! Buy the latest copy of the Writers' & Artists’ Yearbook and read it. Don’t just skip to the agent lists, read the tips, the interviews, notes and advice guidelines. This book will act as your bible for the next year and the articles are there to help you, give you …

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Send It, Don’t Scrap It!

Anastasia Prempeh

As a writer my relationship with my work could often be described as ‘complicated’. The same poem can feel like the best thing I’ve ever written and in another moment seem like it just isn’t working. Then there’s the process of trying to edit and improve the piece to make it ‘great’, but becoming so involved in the words, the syntax and the line breaks can sometimes make it feel like I can’t look at it objectively anymore. What makes a great poem great anyway? Feedback and second/third/fourth opinions can be helpful but in the end - and I’m sure many other writers do the same - I go with my gut.

Unfortunately though, this is also where doubt can rear its ugly head. It's so easy to just ‘scrap it’ and put it away. But don’t let this happen. Send it. Submit it to a magazine, a review, an anthology. Enter it in a competition. As clichéd as it sounds, when I submitted ‘Those Words’ to the Great British Write Off competition I didn’t expect to win. …

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The Perfect Pitch Award 2015/16: Call for Submissions

Perfect Pitch Award 2015/16

£12,000 Perfect Pitch Award 2015/16 in partnership with Theatre Royal Stratford East

Perfect Pitch and Theatre Royal Stratford East are delighted to announce the 2015/16 Perfect Pitch Award for musical theatre writing.

Both companies, known for developing new musical theatre, are collaborating on the project, which will see a new British writing team awarded with £12,000 and the opportunity to collaborate on a new musical.

The winning British writing team will be awarded with £12,000 and tasked with writing a full draft of an original musical in a 12-month period, supported and mentored throughout by Perfect Pitch and Theatre Royal Stratford East. After 12 months the show will be presented in a professional staged reading and / or production.

The award is open to all writers - playwrights, screenwriters, composers and songwriters - and no previous experience of writing a musical is necessary. Writers can apply as book writers, lyricists, and / or composers.

To apply writers must submit …

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