Monday, 21 November 2011

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.

Monday, 14 November 2011

Inbound Marketing for Writers

I changed my phone at the weekend; from a small cyber shoot, which made phone calls and took photos, to an Andriod which, apart from having a little R2D2 emblem, can apparently solve all my marketing problems.

And so can this blog - apparently.

As a writer I now don't have to depend on others to sell my books, or to sell me. I can do it myself. Most writers already know this but they probably don't know the extent of the power at their keyboards 

We live in a world where we update our social media pages about everything from rant to rave.  What I failed to realize was the spiderweb effect you can create if you use these tools effectively.  Used correctly, every time you blog, tweet, or use any other type of social media, the tendrils of the webs can be far reaching and unlike conventional marketing, are permanent.

How do I know this?  I have been reading a book called Inbound Marketing by Brain Halligan and Dharmesh Shah.  In the book these new-style management gurus use Google, social media and blogs to get found.  They share with their readers case studies of phenomenal successes and easy to understand advice on how to apply their principles to our own business.   

Their buzz phrase is 'remarkable content'.  Create 'remarkable content' and every time someone remarks on-line about you or your product, it creates a chain reaction.  Tools are available to check how many time your pages are viewed and how many links are made to your site.  And for busy people the Andriod phone can check in on what's happening and can use social media management systems like to help you track mentions and allow you to respond before fickle brains fry.

The downside is that all this goods stuff takes awhile to set up and use and the addiction to these sites can mean that more time is spent on the marketing that on the productions. But at least I have a little friend to help me now.

Monday, 7 November 2011

A Flock of Words

The stunning Art-deco Midland Hotel

The owl and the pigeon
A recent trip to Morecambe, Lancashire, provide me with an unexpected encounter with a Flock of Words.  I left the newly refurbished, Art-deco Midland Hotel on the promenade and prepared myself for a dreary walk to the library in the rain.  But when I crossed the road from the hotel I stepped onto a pavement of poems.  A Flock of Words, by why not associates is a 300 meter pavement of poems that stretches from the promenade to the town center. I delighted in stepping through The Owl and The Pussycat, tiptoeing around Three women and a goose a market makes. From Chaucer, to Wordsworth, Shakespeare and Roger Mcgough, the poems flew.  The theme of birds may have been overlooked by locals hurrying to work but the pigeons and I had a word fest.

Pigeons with artistic taste