Wednesday, 30 April 2014

Reader In Residence: Is it that time already?!

I can't believe we're on the edge of May.  Only two more months, the end of June, and the part of the residency devoted to working with libraries across the Scottish Borders will be  drawing to a close.  The residency continues to the end of September those final three months focussing on my own writing--in this case finishing a play.

I'll be blogging more shortly about what's been happening lately in the residency soon.  In the meantine please have a look at the blog I wrote recently on the Scottish Book Trust website.

Also available are blogs about the other Readers In Residence posts.

Below a couple of photos from storytelling events! The first one was all about reading stories but also creating them on the spot.  This is the moment the much misunderstood monster The Selkirk Squid emerged from the sea!

Monday, 28 April 2014


A while back I was asked to write about my writing process by Dorothy Bruce as part of a blog tour.  It’s been a long time coming but here it is.
 Dorothy is a fellow member of the Borders Writers Forum. You can find out more about Dorothy and her writing at
1.What am I working on?

I don’t normally like writing or talking too much about what I’m currently working on as it tends to shift and change shape as I write.  Also usually what I’m working on is a number of things.   That is currently the case.  I’ll concentrate on one main project.

This main project is bucking the trend of shifting and changing as I write. More of that later.

I mainly write plays though also poems and short stories.
My main project is a play.

In the recent past my plays both long and short have tended to be monologues. No idea why to tell you the truth except I enjoy the concentration of the story in one person.

After saying that of course my current play, working title Besieged, isn’t a monologue.
It is my attempt at writing a modern classical tragedy in three acts.  In a nutshell it is the story of a man, a modern King (businessman) besieged in his castle (office), by forces both internal and external. I’m currently half way through Act Two. 

It is very unusual that I have such a clear idea of the character and the whole story. I never plan and normally I have some indication of what the story might be about and try to dig away at that by the act of thinking and writing.
I’m aiming to finish the first draft by the end of May.  Fingers crossed!

2. How does my work differ from others of its genre?

This is a difficult one as I don’t think of plays as genre or what I write about fits into any particular genre.  I feel my work changes and develops as I write more and more plays.
For instance I have never written a classical three act play before.  A few months ago I wouldn’t even have thought of considering it.  In fact my current and future work I hope will always differ and develop from work I have already done.

3. Why do I write what I do?

I love it.  I love imagining people on stage and the story developing in front of a live audience.  Feeling the electricity of that instant reaction from the audience.  It is nerve wracking no doubt about it.  I don’t know if I really enjoy going to my own plays in that I’m always looking at the play and imagining other ways of doing things!  That speaks I hope to the fact that once a play is completed and by the time it has reached the stage you have moved on as a writer.

 4. How does my writing process work?

Two ways.

--Staring out of windows, watching the TV but not noticing what is on while thinking about the characters and the story.  Working out what happens next inside my head then sitting down when I have a start point for a play or the next piece of dialogue or action.

--If I am stuck either in the middle of a play or have no clear idea of how a new play might start or what it is about I decide to start somewhere and see where that leads. I might have a phrase or an image or a character in mind.  Whatever the case might be I sit down and write and see what happens.  I usually put my character in a particular place and get them moving and see where they go, or get them talking and listen to what they say or who they are talking to.  I might get them to answer the phone, or the door, and see who it is on the line or at the door.

When a clearer picture of the story emerges I start again and go for it!

As part if the blog tour I was to ask three folk to post about their writing process. That as they say is a work in progress!