Writer's Festival

I attended the BBC Writersroom Wales Festival last Mondayat the National Museum in Cardiff . It was run by the BBC but supported by a number of other organisations such as BAFTA and the WGGB. I only took notes from the first talk by Russel T Davies. There were also talks by Andrew Davies, the teams behind Keeping Faith and His Dark Materials (see below) along with a Q&A with Rob Bryden and Ruth Jones. 

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Russell T Davies

Russell T Davies opened the day. He described his career, writing methods and was generally very encouraging without diminishing the difficulty of writing as a career. 

He doesn't outline but believes he must have a sense of story structure e.g. knowing where the middle should be. Each day starts from page 1, rereading what he's written, editing (cutting and shortening) it before writing onwards from where he finished. Quite unusual! For an hour's tv script, he always writes about the same number of pages: 45 for ITV and 65 or the BBC. 

He's read a lot of other people's scripts, so had advice built on that experience: 

  • Ensures that topic is what you say it is
  • Topic Needs to be in episode 1 or at start
  • On the nose is fine. Can always pull back.
  • Characters should be cleverer than the writer
  • Making them clever forces you as writer to be more ambitious to give them a challenge
  • Psychology is simple (Abbot). Understand people. Ask why.
  • Character description Age, gender plus 3 adjectives

The other talks were informative, interesting although light on technical writing advice (which was fine for me). It was a long but relaxed day and I caught up with quite a few other writers.