360 narratives

Gone are the days when a writer locked themselves in a garret, sharpened their pencils and sat down to write a novel every year or two.  There has been reams of reports, commentary and debates about the rise of digital and I suspect, like me, most writers thought that meant just ebooks.  A workshop I attended at the weekend revolutionized my thinking on this front and sparked new ideas on how to create my writing in the future.

Narratives on post its and some cheating going on
The workshop was called 360 Narratives and was initiated and run by The Playwrights’ Studio Scotland.   I knew it was about writing, I knew it was about collaboration.  What I didn’t appreciate was the significant use of the word narrative in the workshop title.
Narrative was what it was all about and that was made clear from the word go by key speaker Phil Parker, director of NyAC, a multi platform company.  Our group of screenwriters, playwrights, children’s writers, graphic novelists, novelists and games developers had our eyes opened to the exposure benefits (and monetary benefits) of YouTube. We were drop jawed when we listened to the imaginative things that can be done on-line by individuals who take back control of their literary futures..  The word dinosaur was mentioned many times that day.
Five invited guests explained how they work in collaboration with other forms of narrative. Tom Knights, developer of Celtic Heros, told us how narrative and plot work in games; Andrea Gibb, film and TV writer, recounted funny anecdotes of using Twitter to discover stories to adapt for film;  Rona Munro, scriptwriter, told us of her time she had to take over as director of a film; Rodge Glass, novelist and graphic novelist shared with us his diverse and sometimes chaotic schedule and Vivian French, actor, storyteller, playwright, children’s writer, illustrator, and tutor on how to juggle lots of irons without dropping any in the fire.
Sunday was all about networking and collaboration and culminated in a massive speed dateing session which resulted in everyone meeting everyone else for two minutes and exchanging business cards.
There is a good reason why I am looking the other way – it was my turn to sort post its
The networking opportunity was immense. I walked from the workshop with; two offers to read my stage play; several screenwriters interested in my novel for adaption; the offer of help with my children’s novels; the heads up on a new literary festival; the offer of collaboration from a couple of games developers; my brain bursting with new ideas on working practices; a new network of fun, creative and artistic people from all over Scotland and a great big grin on my face. 
Thank you Playwrights’ Studio and thanks also to advisors Jenny Brown, David Griffith, Mark Grindle, Fiona Sturgeon Shea,  and facilitators Grant Keir and Claire Dow.


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