Word Count 50: Kickstart your plot, Wosson Cornwall, anti-perfectionism

by Suw on May 30, 2023

Plus a post on self-promotion, and Cassie & Polly make an appearance.

Hi there,

Last week was a short week, thanks to an extra-long weekend in north Wales! So this week’s newsletter will also be slightly shorter than usual.

It’s also my 50th newsletter, which feels like a nice milestone to mark!

Tip-top tip: Two ways to kickstart your plot

Having been mulling over the upcoming rewrite of Tag for, er, six weeks now, this post from author Cavan Scott is promising to become useful. In it, he shares a great tip from Stark Holborn about getting unstuck when you find yourself unsure of where your story should go next, and then adds his own advice along with copious examples of how it works.

I added my own tip in the comments. To create more agency in my script, I’ve been planning it out in terms of causality: “Because of this, that happened”. My characters were too passive – being acted on by the plot rather than driving it through their own decisions and actions. So to fix that, I’ve started writing out their episode arcs in terms of chains of action and reaction.

Stop, look, listen: Wosson Cornwall

I’ve been getting more interested in radio drama and comedy since listening to Julian Simpson’s Who Killed Aldrich Kemp?, which I did after reading this post from him about sound design (£) which I found utterly fascinating.

So when I saw that Twitter friend James Henry was script editor and part of the writing team for a new radio comedy show coming up, I had to give it a listen.

Wosson Cornwall is an entirely Cornish sketch comedy show starring Dawn French and Edward Rowe and filmed in front of an audience at the Acorn Theatre in Penzance. And it’s hilarious. I laughed so hard at one point that I scared the cat.

Read this: You Don’t Have to Get an A+ in Writing

Reassuring words from agent and author Kate McKean on the fact that you really don’t have to produce the perfect manuscript.

Firstly, perfection doesn’t exist, so you can let that go right off the bat, because as Oliver Burkeman says, you’ve already failed at producing perfection. Secondly, even if you could write a perfect manuscript, It would not guarantee publishing success, because publishing is much more complicated than that. So rather than try to second guess the market, just write what’s in your heart.

Don’t try to get an A+ in writing for the market. Get an A+ in writing the book you want to write.

Suw’s News: Self-promotion and Alex North webinar

Obligatory cat picture

I was looking for something else in Flickr the other day and found this adorable photo from 2006 of Castor and Pollux aka Cassie (in front) and Polly (at the back), my parents’ cats.

Although they look like sisters, they were in fact cousins born three weeks apart. Sadly, both of them lost their mothers young – Polly at a younger age than Cassie. This made Polly a little bit odd at times, as cats who are separated too young from their mothers struggle to learn how to cat.

Polly sadly died of cancer about six years ago, but Cassie is now 17 and still lives with my Mum.

That’s it for this week!

All the best,


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