‘Autumn days when the grass is jewelled…’

The summer holidays are over and it’s back to work.  For some of us this means more lovely writing time, for others less – depending on whether you have children in the house!  I love this time of year as it always feels like a fresh start.  New pens, writing pads, writing courses, new ambitions and opportunities – just like the first day of term.  At last I’ve had time to catch up on some of the questions in the comment boxes of my posts, and I do apologise to those of you who have had to wait for a reply.  I’ve tried to answer as best I can, but please remember I’m not an expert in the publishing world, just someone who likes to find out information and share it as I go.  So you can take what I say on board or you can feel free to scoff at my suggestions and walk away laughing with derision.

And now here’s some exciting news to keep everyone’s morale up: follower of this blog Gabrielle Kent has just signed a three book deal with Scholastic for her ‘Alfie Bloom’ adventure series.  She is signed with the Ben Illis Agency.  I met Ben at the Winchester Writers’ Conference and was really impressed with his enthusiasm and commitment to nuturing talent.  As an expert in the gaming industry, I’m sure Gabrielle is going to be an exciting and appealing author for today’s young readers.  You can read an excerpt from ‘Alfie Bloom: the Secrets of Hexbridge Castle’ here.

As for myself, besides submitting several books I have some short plays coming up over the next few weeks.  ‘Let’s Play Deception’ will be on at the Playground new writing night from Ghost Dog Productions at the Horse and Stables in London on 22-24 September, ‘Mr Robinson’s Blood Test’ will be in Pint Sized Plays in Tenby in October, and ‘Warm, Hot, Getting Hotter’ will be a rehearsed reading by the Attic Theatre Company at Playfest 2014 at Wimbledon Library on 11-12 October.  I hope to see at least two of these and will try very hard not to laugh at my own jokes (a habit which makes me look terribly self-indulgent and self-congratulatory – perhaps I am finally becoming a luvvie due to sudden exposure to the theatrical world).

I’m a Pint-Sized Winner!

Actually it’s not me who’s pint-sized but my script!  My short play ‘Brought to Book’ is a winner in the 2013 Pint-Sized Plays competition.  Pint-Sized Plays bring theatre into pubs by staging performances of the ten finalists’ scripts in various pubs around Tenby in Wales as part of Tenby Arts Festival.  They then go on to take part in a ‘script slam’ with the winner taking home the coveted pint trophy.  There were 250 entries from all around the world so I feel a great sense of achievement in being a finalist.  I just wish Tenby wasn’t four and half hours away so I could go and watch!

The win marks a bit of a change of direction for me.  I’m still writing (and submitting!) children’s fiction but my involvement in amateur dramatics has sparked a flurry of playwriting activity.  I’ve discovered that it’s ideal if you like writing dialogue and hate description, like me!  Searching for opportunities to submit is very different from finding a publisher.  When you write a script you are writing for performance rather than publication, and there are plenty of young theatre companies looking for new scripts, either at certain times of the year or through competitions.  Entry fees are rare but so is payment.  The reward is getting your play performed rather than monetary recompense.  The most useful site I have found for opportunities is Playwright’s Competition Calendar.  You can browse by month according to when the competition expires.  Well worth a look if you’re interested in script writing.