Word Count 54: SAG-AFTRA has entered the game

July 18, 2023

The actors are striking and it matters for all of us. Note: I’d already written this week’s newsletter, because I’m technically on holiday, but this all felt rather time-sensitive, so you’ll get that newsletter next time. I’m also really jetlagged so any incoherency is because of that. Honest. Hi there, Well, it happened. Last week, […]

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Does impostor syndrome really exist?

July 12, 2023

What if the majority of impostor syndrome is just a normal, sensible response to living an uncertain and precarious life in a challenging industry rife with rejection and poor communication? Thanks to everyone who left comments or voted in the poll in my last newsletter. It was nice to hear that I’m not alone and […]

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Word Count 53: The state of AI and the Goodreads fiasco

July 4, 2023

Just two main topics this week but one is important and the other is mindboggling. Lots of articles about so-called AI have crossed my field of vision over the last two weeks, so I thought now might be a good time to do a round-up. It’s really, really hard to keep up with all that’s […]

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When your brain is too full

June 28, 2023

Thoughts start dribbling out of your nose and are lost forever, which is why you should always carry a handkerchief. OK, I’m going to fess up. My brain is too full. I was chronically underemployed when I started this newsletter at the end of January. Ada Lovelace Day, which had been my full-time job since […]

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Word Count 52: Ada Lovelace Day is back! Fieldwork update, Clarke Award shortlist

June 20, 2023

Plus Alex North webinar available for catch-up, visualising plots, Blackadder lost pilot, why it’s hard to hear dialogue, group dynamics and more! Hi there, A couple of weeks ago, when I decided to move to a fortnightly schedule, I didn’t think it would be difficult to just write less. But did I really miss writing […]

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Fieldwork: Do you know where your keys are?

June 19, 2023

Are you sure? Absolutely sure? Because I know I don’t have them. I’m just over a month into the background research for Fieldwork and have already carried out half a dozen interviews with ecologists in a wide variety of disciplines. We’ve talked about everything, from the challenges of surveying plants in highland bogs, to working […]

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Needing help doesn’t make you a bad writer

June 14, 2023

We’re all always learning more about our craft and we should celebrate that as growth, not chastise ourselves for failing.  Some writers seem to instinctively know how to structure their novel or TV script, never paying much attention to acts or turning points as they lay down their first draft and, later, revise their final […]

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

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 […]

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You might never close The Gap and that’s OK

May 31, 2023

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, alternating every other week with Word Count. Meanwhile, don’t forget that bestselling crime writer Alex North is joining […]

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

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 […]

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Self-promotion: The hardest form of writing

May 24, 2023

We all hate doing it. We all worry that others will hate us for doing it. But no one else is going to blow our trumpets for us. If there’s one type of writing that everyone I know hates, often with a white-hot intensity that could melt iron, it’s anything that even remotely whiffs of […]

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Word Count 49: Alex North webinar, how to survive new book promo, the LLM-generated shit tsunami continues

May 23, 2023

Plus loads of TV scripts to download, author Madeleine Dore talks about her writing career, and Grabbity does something silly. Hi there, I am extremely excited to launch my new webinar series, in which I’ll chat with a variety of writers about the craft of writing, their processes, and how they deal with those moments […]

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Fieldwork: A look at what’s to come

May 17, 2023

It’s always good to have a plan so that you can point at it and laugh when reality has other ideas. I thought I’d go through the rough project plan for Fieldwork so that you can see what’s involved and the sort of things I’m going to write about. To some extent, this newsletter is […]

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Patience is its own reward

May 17, 2023

When to trust your subconscious to work through a problem on its own. The first rule of Writer’s Block Club is you don’t talk about writer’s block… Wait, no, that’s stupid. The first rule of Writer’s Block Club is that you always need to interrogate your block to find out what kind of block it […]

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Word Count 48: WFTV Screenwriters’ Lab, comedy mentoring, Virago Press Furies short story competition

May 16, 2023

Plus Sitcom Geeks look back on the Big Comedy Conference, how to sell a book on Substack, showrunner John Rodgers on the WGA strike, king cheetahs, and more! Hi there, There’s much to share in this week’s newsletter, so let’s just get on with it! Opportunity: WFTV Kay Mellor Screenwriters’ Lab 2023 Women in Film […]

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