Tuesday, 22 March 2011

Has it really been that long ...?

Has it really been eleven days since my last post. Phew, really? Wow.

Still, lots happening. My business (the restaurant) closed on Saturday. It was a long time coming and the hanging-on-by-the-fingernails had gone on far too long and it was time to shut up shop. At least there was some symmetry with the final night being a private function for a Hen party - my first function was a Hen party, so it seemed appropriate to end on the same. The thirteen women were quite kind and I didn't get de-bagged.

With the closure of the restaurant it means that I can now move away and start again. I'll be out of sunny Somerset by the end of the month and ensconced into Aylesbury (I haven't found an alliteration for it yet), so have lots of logistical things to sort out.

One thing coinciding with my move away is the last two parts of the splendid Danish crime thriller/drama The Killing on BBC Four. Twenty hours of TV which has been gripping from the first minutes of the opening episode. It's just a shame that it's been given a late night slot on Saturdays and repeated on Wednesdays, and on a cable/satellite channel. Accepted, it does have some strong language and the subject matter is not for the easily shocked but it's nothing which isn't on regular TV with a better viewing window.

Scott Barber has let me know that the filming of Selling Sweeney is still looking good for an April shoot but doesn't have any hard dates yet.

Friday, 11 March 2011

Reply from BBCwritersroom for 'The Killing Ground'

I had my reply back from the BBCwritersroom today with the reader's notes. Rather unsurprisingly; the script needs more work, but the notes that the reader has added are invaluable and offers areas in which improvements can be made. On the positive side they did compare it with 'Spooks' and the US series' Sleeper Cell and NCIS.

It may take a while to get a reply to work sent into the BBCwritersroom but, assuming you get a full read, the notes they provide offer an insight which may not have occured to you at the time of writing and can guide you forwards with improving. And it's free.

I think I'm going to let the notes sink in and re-work this in time for a Red Planet submission - assuming that they're running their prize this year.

Wednesday, 9 March 2011

Well, I've bitten the bullet and sent off my Alibi TV's New Crimewriter competition story. Bitten the bullet - crime - get it? Okay, I give up. Hopefully my story will be appreciated better than that. At least I'm not trying to write comedy.

My story is called 'The Dead Ground' and it focuses on the murder of a local rifle club member on Exmoor who had claimed to have shot The Emperor Stag, in October 2010. It took me two days to get 99% of it written and another couple to fine-tune/check for typos/grammar etc. I know the deadline isn't for a while (1st May) but I could've tweaked it for weeks and not made it any better.

Apart from the story having to be well written (obviously) the organisers are looking for a piece which has 'a strong sense of place'. I'm hoping that the location (around Exmoor), specific topography (Somerset red mud), actual events (the shooting of the Emperor Stag) and character name (DI Chedzoy) help to convey all that they're looking for.

The eight shortlisted stories - one each from North England, South England, Midlands, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, along with two wild-card stories - will be announced on 1st June and put to public vote. I'll let you know how it goes. Fingers crossed.

Monday, 7 March 2011

Alibi TV's New Crimewriter competition

Alibi TV (along with HarperCollins and Theakstons Old Peculiar Crime Writing Festival, Harrogate) are running the new Crimewriter competition again this year.

Stories need to be between 1,000-2,500 words and have a strong sense of 'local' place about them. The comp opened mid-February and runs until 1st May, with eight shortlisted stories announced 1st June, where they go before a public vote and 'expert judges' to decide on the winning entry.

The comp is free to enter - 1 entry per person - and for over 17s only.

Friday, 4 March 2011

Adult fairy tale collection

A new friend of mine - Claire Rowland - has recently published a three-part Adult Fairy Tale collection on Amazon, called Piroska - which you can find here.

Claire has won the Meridian Writing short story competitions twice in the past and this is her first forray into the big, bad world of published work. Claire normally writes adult fiction with a harder, darker edge than most and can really make you sympathise and wince at her central characters.

Congratulations to her for getting this off the ground, and lets hope that it's the first of many.

Thursday, 3 March 2011

'The Killing Ground' and BBCwritersroom

Some people knock the BBCwritersroom. A few go so far as to suggest that they simply trawl through submissions in the hope to 'appropriate' ideas. But it's a free service (to the submitter) and not in their charter remit to have to offer the service, so with 10,000+ submissions a year across multiple TV and radio formats I don't think that anyone can really fault them.

Sure, the machine is slow - with a four month turnaround per piece, and you can only submit one piece at a time - but it's free. Basically, in the initial 'filter' they read the first ten pages (at most) and decided if the work warrants a full read by an out-sourced reader - someone who is experienced and who knows what they're talking about.

I sent them the first episode of my terrorist drama 'The Killing Ground' last October and had a four-month date of mid February. Seeing as though it was a couple of weeks or so over the due date notification I decided to follow the instructions on the confirmation card they sent to ask what the situation was.

I had a reply within minutes (which surprised me) to say that it (the script) had been taken for a full read and was expected back in the office later this month. They said they'd let me have the feedback then also apologised for the delay.

Not that I'm a proliferate submitter to the writersroom, but I've sent two pieces in and had two full reads, so I'm happy. Their notes are constructive, impartial and very helpful.