Word Count 51: Alex North webinar on Thursday, insights from sword fighting, planning your writing year

by Suw on June 6, 2023

Plus Hollywood’s death spiral, the DGA deal, and Grabbity’s poorly again.

Hi there,

As I thought it might, my current period of underemployment is drawing to a close and I am soon about to be very, very busy indeed. So this newsletter is going to move to a fortnightly schedule and I’ll be alternating it with Why Aren’t I Writing?.

Alex North webinar, 19:00 BST, this Thursday! 

Don’t forget that bestselling crime writer Alex North is joining me at 19:00 BST this Thursday, 8 June, to talk about the craft of writing, his rollercoaster career, and what happens when he gets the wobbles halfway through writing a book. The webinar’s open to all subscribers, with the recording and transcript available afterwards to paid members.

If you want to join us, bookmark this link! The waiting room will open ahead of our 19:00 BST start time, so feel free to log in before the top of the hour if you wish.

Stop, look, listen: Draft Zero, E100 – Scenes through swords

Draft Zero’s Stuart Willis talks to philosopher swordsperson Damon Young about how they have applied the lessons they’ve learnt from historical European martial arts (HEMA) to screenwriting. It might sound a bit niche if you don’t write about people hitting each other – or in my case, aliens – with swords, but I promise you that it’s a fascinating listen.

I particularly liked the idea of sword fighting techniques as an analogy for how characters relate to one another emotionally, for example, how people behave defensively or offensively and how that affects the dynamics of their interaction. Whether you like sword fighting or not, this really is a great listen (and if you’d rather read, they have a full transcript too).

Stop, look, listen again: Sitcom Geeks, E219 – Fashioning Your Future, And Planning For Ours

I have to admit, listening to this podcast episode was the first time I have ever thought about planning my writing year. James Cary and Dave Cohen’s conversation about how they plan their writing calendar has really made me think that I need to carve out a little quiet time to do the same.

Cohen suggests that the three things you should always be doing are:

  1. Writing to become a better writer
  2. Writing to submit
  3. Networking

Cary says we should all spend time:

  1. Reading widely
  2. Listening. Properly. Not just to podcasts.
  3. Having heroes outside of your niche.

Excellent advice. And so is their broader point about planning your year: Knowing when the open call deadlines are and making sure you’re ready for them, and knowing when key events are so you can get tickets and prepare any pitches you might need to share.

Strike news: Hollywood’s death spiral and the DGA deal

Absolutely fascinating piece by Matt Stoller delving into Hollywood business history and highlighting all the bad decisions, both by studios and regulatory bodies/the US government, that resulted in us reaching a place where eight studio execs made a combined salary of $773 million in 2021, whilst writers often have to get second jobs just to make ends meet.

Stoller also looks at how the US compares to the UK, where the industry is far less unionised but much more creative (though British writers also struggle to make ends meet).

This was a soft break-up of the industry along vertical lines, and it made the U.K a great place to do business. As the CEO of the firm that makes American Idol, The X Factor, and Britain’s Got Talent said, “There is no other country where you have these terms of trade. In the UK, it’s brilliant!” In 2010, independents held 50% of the market, beating in-house network programming. Exports of British content exploded.

Meanwhile, the Directors Guild of America has reached a tentative deal with the AMPTP, with DGA president Lesli Linka Glatter saying in a statement that the DGA had made “unprecedented gains” on wages, residuals, generative computing (yes, I’m still refusing to call it ‘artificial intelligence’), working hours, safety and more.

The Screen Actors Guild – American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA) strike vote concluded last night, and we await the results with bated breath.

It will be interesting to see how this all affects the WGA strike, not least because the AMPTP don’t yet seem inclined to go back to the negotiating table.

Obligatory cat picture

Well, it’s been quite the week. Poor Grabbity is suffering from corneal ulcers in both of her eyes, along with what might be either lipid or calcium deposits that are making her eyes cloudy. The vet has ordered in some specialist eyedrops, so I’m waiting for those and for the corneal ulcers to clear up before we can work out what the white patches are.

I’m now extremely glad that I bought a pet stroller – basically a double-decker cat carrier on wheels – because we’re going to need to go to the vet fairly regularly until this is all sorted out. Poor lass. She’s hating the gel I’m currently having to put in her eyes, so I’m having to burrito her twice a day. I am not flavour of the month, that’s for sure.

This photo from a couple of weeks ago doesn’t show the problem, because it’s hidden up under her eyelids, but I think you’ll agree that Grabbity has magnificent peepers. Here’s hoping that we can clear this problem up completely over the next few weeks.

See you in a fortnight!


Comments on this entry are closed.

Previous post:

Next post: