Friday, 16 March 2012

Taking a comic turn in pursuit of the write stuff

Let me share a little secret with you.

Many journalists on newspapers secretly fancy themselves as writers of fiction or non-fiction.

The fact that we are, in effect, paid to write makes many of us believe that this obviously proves there is an important book or TV series lurking within us that one day simply must be unleashed on the wider world.

I realised this fact once when I was interviewing an author who told me that he used to work on The Sun.

He said he had handed his notice in when the novel he had written in his spare time was snapped up by a publisher and he decided to devote all his time to writing more books.

When he told his colleagues about this they were all amazed that he had found time to even write a book alongside his “real” work with many also saying they couldn’t understand why he would want to waste his time “messing about” with books anyway.

But then, within the space of a few days, half-a-dozen people, including a couple who had loudly decried him, came up alongside and quietly offered their own manuscripts to pass on to his new-found publisher.

The Sun “Secret Writers Group” was clearly a thriving one.

Seriously funny comedies   
Well, I make no secret of the fact that I would one day love to see a book of mine on the shelves and the fact that a former PA of mine – the lovely Moira Young, author of award-winning Blood Red Road – has already done so merely whets my literary appetite even more.

But could I actually write a novel or do something for TV or radio?
Well, I’m not sure so on Saturday I took advantage (as I said I would in this blog many moons ago) of the fact that the City of Bath College was hosting a one-day course in how to write a TV sitcom to go and find out a bit more about the “write stuff”.

There were only a handful of us on the course but as one woman had travelled all the way up from Plymouth to be there it showed me how lucky we were to have such an unusual seminar on our doorstep.

Top tips - our tutor David Lassman
We were also very lucky to have an excellent tutor – David Lassman, a key player in the Bath Writers’ Group – who stoked all the writing fires within us as he talked about what made a good sitcom, how to develop ideas into making one and what we can learn from the successful shows that have already defined the genre.

All of us on the course came away, I think, feeling encouraged that this is something that we could possibly do and that is why I really admire the college for putting on these kind of courses as part of their excellent Love2Learn programme which give you a taste for something that could readily develop into a full-on craving.

Of course, I’m often reminded that just because everyone can write a book doesn’t mean they should and to the old adage “there’s a book in everyone” I always say the phrase “yes, but it’s probably a bad book”. However, I do think if I did get to the end of my mortal coil having not at least had a go at writing something that could be on the WH Smith book shelves rather than its paper stand then I will be disappointed. Wether it will be a comedy or not I'm not sure - after all how funny we are is like how good we are at driving or how talented we are in more 'intimate' circumstances we probably don't see it as others do! - but I know I will write someday and Saturday may well be the first step in the 'write' direction.  
So, thanks to Bath College and Mr Lassman I will now spend more time thinking about the writing game. And, yep, you read it here first.

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