Pop up play writing courses in your own home, village hall or care home

POP UP PLAYWRITING with Angela Street

Angela Street contacted Big Up Words with an idea to help writers in rural areas. This is a pilot scheme and could be a feature if there is enough uptake. Anglea runs many successful playwriting groups in Salisbury and her pupils are having plays produced in London and closer to home. Her new venture brings the writing closer to your home.

Angela Street

Angela Street

POP UP PLAYWRITING

Popping up anywhere in the South West. Providing affordable writing workshops. The workshop comes to you, saving you travel costs and time.

Days available from 5 May: Mondays, Tuesdays, some Saturdays, Sundays

Half days:  10:00 – 1:00   Whole days:  10:00 – 4:00    Evenings:  any 3 hours.

If you’d like to host a workshop in your house or on your premises, and you have space suitable for at least 7 writers, maximum 15 writers, please contact me to arrange a time and date.

As the host, you will get the workshop free and can choose the topic or general theme most suitable for your group if you wish. You must agree on this with the tutor 6 weeks before the date of the workshop so that the tutor can prepare relevant material and advertising copy.

Topics may include: creating characters, dialogue, structure, conflict, stage directions, subtext, unblocking, comedy, voice, the absurd. Writing monologues, writing for radio, writing comedy sketches, generating new ideas

Workshops can cover basic techniques for writers new to playwriting through to advanced editing skills, or take the form of a tutored writing retreat.

The tutor will advertise the workshop locally in consultation with the host and will provide flyers for the host to hand out or distribute locally.

The host is asked to provide teas/coffees and in the case of full days either an undramatic lunch or advise participants to bring their own packed lunch.

The host must inform the tutor if they have dogs, cats or other livestock on the premises and agree with appropriate health and safety measures with the tutor.

All workshops are smoke-free, including vapes, and mobile free zones. There will be scheduled breaks.

Access and Parking: the host will be asked to provide information, for example, whether there is wheelchair access or steps into the premises.

Workshops require a minimum of 7 writers to run.  If fewer than 7 people have signed up and paid, the workshop will be cancelled.

Costs: Half day/Evening £25 (15 concs)    Full day £40 (£25 concs)

Please let me know any reasons people have for not attending, such as cost, travel, childcare, access, time, topics covered.

This is a pilot scheme to find out if there is an appetite for affordable writing workshops in rural areas.  If successful, I will apply to the Arts Council for funding to assist writers needing financial help with fees or childcare, to provide rural workshops in wheelchair accessible venues, such as village halls, and also for smaller group sizes, with only 4 or 5 writers.  

 Contact: angelastreet@tiscali.co.uk  01722 322143

If you’d like to know more go over to her website https://angelastreetwriter.wordpress.com/

How 10 Little Astronauts went from a MA with distinction to a book

Big Up Words are going to publish a series of blogs where writers talk about their publishing journeys. Damon L. Wake’s book 10 Little Astronauts is going to be published by Unbound.

I think there’s a moment in any academic project when you question everything you’ve done so far. For me, that moment came when I was sitting in a café with someone on the same Creative Writing MA as me at the University of Winchester. She picked up my work, read a bit, and said “Huh. So you’re handing in Agatha Christie fanfiction in space?” That was the moment I realised that I was taking a massive, massive gamble with my entire course. It was the moment I considered binning the whole thing and starting again, and it was the moment I decided to press on regardless. Partly that was because I was confident that the setting did work with the story, partly because I didn’t have time to come up with anything else.

 

Fortunately, in the end, it all went pretty well. As strange as it felt to submit a mash-up between And Then There Were None and Alien as a serious academic project, the novella was awarded a Distinction and, shortly afterwards, accepted for publication. But more on that later.

The thing about space is that it works extraordinarily well as a setting for a mystery thriller. In space, no one can hear you scream. In zero gravity, no one can hear your footsteps either. The truly colossal distances involved in travelling between stars—far enough that an S.O.S sent at the speed of light will still take years to be heard—guarantee that nobody is coming to help. The hostility of the environment itself means that the characters must work together to survive, even as paranoia threatens to drive them apart and a large part of the inspiration behind Ten Little Astronauts.

 

I’d thoroughly enjoyed ‘And Then There Were None’ but found it took a long time to get started. There’s a lot of scene-setting—several whole chapters—dedicated to explaining how the various characters came together and why they can’t escape after it becomes apparent that one of them is a serial killer. The tension only reaches its peak after a whole series of murders has whittled the cast down to just three or four.

By shifting the setting of my novella to interstellar space, I managed to move the discovery of the first murder to the very first page. Having been woken from suspended animation, chosen from a crew of thousands to respond to, a fire on board the ship, none of the ten astronauts knows any of the others. However, having discovered the body of an eleventh person at the scene of the incident—an incident that has also disabled the ship’s computer—they know that one of their numbers is an imposter who intends to kill them all. With no life support, and the masses of frozen crewmembers causing the air temperature to plummet, the ten astronauts have to split up to repair the damage despite knowing that anyone, in any group, could be the murderer.

 

Having sunk an enormous amount of time and effort into Ten Little Astronauts for my course, and since it had been well-received academically, I decided to submit it to Scott Pack—an editor at Unbound—as part of a one-to-one meeting at the Winchester Writers’ Festival this summer. He passed on my manuscript, and within a couple of weeks, I got an email back saying that they had decided to launch the book!

Unbound are a crowdfunding publisher—pre-orders from readers are what fund the initial run of first editions, with trade paperbacks distributed to bookshops by Penguin Random House after that—and they set me up with a video for the book. They let me pick the location, and since I’d done a good chunk of my research for it on board HMS Alliance at the Royal Navy Submarine Museum, I got in touch with the museum staff to see if they’d be happy for us to film on board. Visiting the submarine while writing had helped me pin down the atmosphere of the spacecraft in the book, so I was thrilled when they agreed to let us shoot the video itself inside.

Damon L Wakes

HMS Alliance background to Damon’s Unbound video.

 

Since the crowdfunding campaign started, I’ve been doing everything I can to get the word out about the book. I’m hardly a big-name author, so the biggest challenge by far is letting people know it exists. Unbound recommended offering attractive rewards for supporters of the book, and because I’ve been making and selling chainmail jewellery for a few years now, I’ve been offering one reward option that includes a necklace. The necklace is made of anodised aluminium—the same material as the International Space Station—which I think helps keep it relevant to the sci-fi story even though the technique is a thousand years old! I take the necklaces themselves to craft fairs, which makes for a natural conversation-starter when it comes to the book.

Damon's speci

 

If you’d like to read some of Ten Little Astronauts now, you can find a sample over on Unbound’s website. And if it sounds like a book you’d enjoy, please consider putting in a pledge: as well as getting a copy for yourself, your name will appear in the back of every edition to show that you were one of the great people who helped make it happen.

1 killer
10 suspects,
10,000,000,000,000 miles from help
Support Ten Little Astronauts on Unbound today!

 

Amazing music and stunning poetry at Stockbridge open word on July 24th

We (Gavin especially) is very excited to bring you our guests to Stockbridge this month.

Duncan Green sharing his mobile phone poem

Duncan Green sharing his mobile phone poem

We saw Duncan Green at Gavin’s very first open word. Duncan’s poem about his life to date had a standing ovation. I’ve just seen him at June 2016 open mic where he gave us a glimpse of what is coming. The room went silent and roared into applause when he’d finished. Don’t miss this one, it’s going to be a groundbreaker.

This is what Duncan says about himself

Southampton based writer Duncan Green developed his performance style through amateur dramatics, entertaining his bored sister, counselling and regular attendance of open mic nights around London.
Duncan will be debuting two pieces at Open Word:

Les Kazoo D'amour, these two won't hurt a fly honestly

Les Kazoo D’amour, these two won’t hurt a fly honestly

1) Dear You: a fictional account of a father’s relationship with his child.
2) Function of Living: a poem loosely based on Abraham Maslow’s hierarchy of needs.
Duncan Green hopes to see you all there so he can talk to you about writing, families and bored sisters.

Les Kazoo D’amour, is a two-piece musical duo who musical repertoire is full of funny, witty, wistful ukelele music. They charm audiences and give us enough time between songs to let us catch our breath. You need to because these accomplished musicians make you laugh and cry and cry because you are laughing so hard.

I know it’s my job to say come along, however, trust me, you really don’t want to miss this musical guest. Amazing just doesn’t do them justice. Bring a friend you’ll be glad you did.

Open Word is at The Grovsner Hotel, Stockbridge SO20 3EUon July 24th, doors open at 1pm and sign up for the Open mic is at 1pm .

National Flash Fiction day celebrated by Dave Hubble with a workshop at The Art House.

Dave Hubble is holding a Flash fiction workshop to celebrate national flash fiction day.  Flash fiction Part poetry, part narrative, flash fiction–also known as suddenfiction, micro fiction, short short stories, and quick fiction—is a genre that is deceptively complex. At the same time, writing these short shorts can be incredibly rewarding.

So join the fun with Dave at The Art House click here

Dave Hubble is a steampunk artist as well as a writer

Dave Hubble is a steampunk artist as well as a writer

to book your tickets

 

Beth needs help from Hampshire 27 writers.

IMAG5402So who is Beth and why does she need our help? Beth is our municipal liaison for Nanowrimo and she is the person who looks after England elsewhere on-line. When you sign into Nanowrimo you can sign up to a Nanowrimo Region. Currently Hampshire’s is England elsewhere. There is a group in Swindon and Southampton but not Hampshire. If 30 of us writers from Hampshire sign in then we can have it as our own region next year. So far we need 24 more people to sign up. So what do you have to do?

1) Sign up to Nanowrimo at http://nanowrimo.org/

2) Register your novel

3) Go Region on the top tool bar and scroll down the menu until you find Find a Region.

4) In the all regions search bar put in England and scroll down until you hit England elsewhere and hit the join this region button.

An that’s it. If you are having trouble pop into our at Andover library this Saturday between 2-3.30pm and we’ll guide you through the process.

And what will I get? Our support to help you write a novel in less than 30 days. Oh and an invitation to our party at the end. The last one was great, we have themed food and bats.

Halloween fun at Andover Library.

This week we will be having a small party to celebrate the start of Nanowrimo tomorrow.

Getting ready for a 'Come Write In' session

Getting ready for a ‘Come Write In’ session

Beth is bringing cake, Haribos and origami bats for us to make. I will be helping people register and push on with their plotting.  Sunday is the start of a month of dashing as fast as possible to 50k. Beth and Cat have been working hard and we have found some banks who are going to support our fundraising efforts by holding book selling stalls or helping us bag pack. Suddenly Beth’s goal of raising £1500 is coming closer.

Don’t forget to register for Nanowrimo. Beth needs 30 writers from Hampshire to register so we become our own region! Then we can help Beth set up the young writers program in England AND don’t forget our writing party-The Night of Writing Dangerously

And yes the Travelling Bookstall will be at the Library as well.

 

What is The Night of Writing Dangerously?

Our poster you'll sign on the night

Our poster you’ll sign on the night

The Night of Writing Dangerously is a cross between a raucous dinner party and a write-a-thon. Bring your glad rags and your lap tops to Lunar Hare and we’ll provide food and a drink to help you write the night away. We’ve also got some fun party games for your 15 min stretch times. This is a Hampshire Scribblers event to raise funds for the young writers program.

This Saturday from 2-3.30pm at Andover Library we’ll be continuing our novel preparation and Cat Randle will be going over some ways you can fund raise money to attend The Night of Writing Dangerously and other fun events we’ll be putting on during National Novel Writing month.

And we’ll have the Travelling Bookstall ready for you as well.

Nanowrimo sheild

What do you get from National Novel writing month?

Our new secretary was having trouble understanding what we won if we took part in National Novel Writing month.

“How do you win?” he says

“You win by writing a 50 thousand word novel.” I said.

“How do you get prizes?” he says.

“By registering. If you win you get discounts and cool writing stuff from people like Scrivener. If you don’t you still get discounts,” I said.

“How do they choose a winner?” he says.

I am beginning to see a problem here. Is he thinking its a competition when its actually a huge support group?

“Well you win when you upload your novel to the Nanowrimo site before Dec 1st, they’ll declaire you a winner” I said

“Do they read the novel?” he says

“No,” I said

“So I could just copy out a Sun newpaper into the registration and I’d win,” he says.

“Yes…you could but THE POINT IS you write an orginal amazing novel with a bunch of people who will help you finish,” I said.

“Ah its a support group,” he says.

“Yes but with fun things like cakes and blankets. No loneliness of the long distance writer for us this year. That’s why we have the ‘Come write in sessions AND a night of writing dangerously,” I said.

“What do you do get when you write danerously?” he said.

At this point we will walk away dear reader. Remember our goal is to help you write your first draft of your novel. So pop down to the library every Saturday between 2-3.30pm so we can help you win! (And have loads of support)

Nanowrimo sheildCat Randle is Chair of Big Up Words. She’s had loads of poems published in NZ and the UK and children’s short stories published by Scholastic and Random House. Her novel for Nanowrimo is Martial Arts Mama. 

Come to Andover Library and plan your novel

How do you start a novel? Is it an idea you have like “What if Batman and Superman had a bake off? Do you have a character in your head who just keeps going round and round like Rincewind? Or do you need a little help?

This weekend from 2-3.30 pm Beth and I will be co-running a planning or pantsing workshop to help you get ready for your Nanowrimo run.

I will be basing the workshop on the Nanowrimo’s workbook ‘Ready, Set, Novel!’ Craig Batty, Lindsey Grant and Travia Stewart-Street have put together a fantastic kick starter to making sure your ready to start novel on November 1st.

We will look at 3 areas, what am I going to write about, who am I going to write about and how do I plot the story. I’ve created those 3 sections as I’m sure some of you will come with an idea already formed. We’ll work on writing excises. Bring pens, scrap paper and laptops and pad if that’s the way you write. I’ve checked and you can bring your work back next week to finish!

Oh and Beth has these totally cool story generator dice if you’re really really stuck. So come along to the library a bit before 2 so we can get you settled down so you can be ready to get that novel going.

Cat Randle is Chair of Big Up Words. She’s had loads of poems published in NZ and the UK and children’s short stories published by ScholasticNanowrimo sheild and Random House. Her novel for Nanowrimo is Martial Arts Mama. 

What is National Novel Writing Month?

Nanowrimo sheildNational Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) is a fun, seat-of-your-pants approach to creative writing. 

On November 1, participants begin working towards the goal of writing a 50,000-word novel by 11:59 PM on November 30.

Valuing enthusiasm, determination, and a deadline, NaNoWriMo is for anyone who has ever thought about writing a novel.

It doesn’t matter if you finish and it doesn’t matter if you’ve never written before. Beth Hanson has founded Hampshire Scribblers to help you reach your goal.

On October 17th at Andover Library between 2 and 3.30 Beth and our chair Cat Randle will be holding a workshop on how to get ready to write your 50K words. Practical advice, fun games and demonstrations on how to register. All for free.

So come along and find out what its all about….