Monday, May 04, 2009

Writing Weekend - Cotswolds - Day 1

Middle Stanley Farm, Cotswolds

Fifteen writers sit around a long dining table. Outside the window, the hill slopes away towards the patchwork of fields in the valley floor. Steam rises from a tureen of soup. A basket of French bread pieces is passed from hand to hand. The voice of children’s writer CHRIS D’LACEY rises above the murmur.

I hope you all notice how expertly torn the bread is.

Dining room at Middle Stanley
Yes, it is our self-catering weekend away. Self catering in every sense food, organisation, writing classes, entertainment.

I’ve been on writing weekends at Middle Stanley farm several times. On each occasion it has been hard to put my finger on what exactly I’ve learned. But I have learned. It is intangible knowledge, absorbed by osmosis rather than injected through instruction. Each time I have also come away inspired to write.

It is day one. This morning we had two sessions. The first focused on dialogue. How can we make dialogue work for us? How can we differentiate the voices? The second session was on scriptwriting and the differences between screen, stage and radio. Groups of us took the same scene and interpreted it for the three different media. Fascinating. I joined up with the group who were looking at stage play – as that is what I have least experience of.

And now it is the afternoon. We have all gone our different ways. Some are writing. Some walking in the hills. I suspect that one or two may be having a nap. For Myself, I’ve spent an hour writing up the scenes that Ivory and I were working on via Skype yesterday. (Was that only yesterday? It feels like a week ago.) I’m taking out a few minutes to write this. Then it’ll be back to White Angel again.

Frustratingly, I can’t get on the Internet, so I will have to save this up and post it as soon as I can get a connection. ...which turns out to be two days later

Note: I know the screenplay format above is wrong. Please blame Blogspot not me :-)


Drew said...

Sounds good!

Rod Duncan said...

We missed you, Drew.

siobsi said...

Goodness, what a feast that was!!

And I'm not just talking about the extravagant chocolate cheesecake or the homemade Polish barley soup or the sausage and pasta supper ... No wonder I needed to learn the pleasures of early morning runs up those Cotswolds hills. But the workshops were spot-on this year. I particularly enjoyed the 'Nuts + Bolts of Scriptwriting' and the 'Where is My Wriitng Going?' discussions. And I wrote a new poem and a 7 pg monologue somehow in the spaces between. A weekend that bulged at the seams with inspiration and good company.

Rod Duncan said...

Drew - I just followed your profile link and realised you are a differnt Drew than the one I thought you were!

My response still applies though - would have been good to have you with us.


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