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It’s the End of the World!!!!

It’s the end of the world as we know it. Now your survivors have to be lucky, very lucky. As a writer all you have to do is tell the story, but just what does the post apocalyptic world look like in fiction?

How to writers create and tell stories born of a post-apocalyptic world? Join Sean Hutchings, Martin Williams and John Sayle as they discuss the end of civilization and beyond!

CREDITS:
Host – Martin Williams
Guest – John Sayle
Guest – Sean Hutchings

READING LIST:
Armstrong, F. – The Age of Stupid
Avatar Press – God is Dead
Ballard, J. G. – The Drowned World
Brooks, M. – World War Z
Collins, S. – The Hunger Games
Conrad, J. – Heart of Darkness
Discovery Channel – The Colony
Golding, W. – The Lord of the Flies
Grant Naylor Productions – Red Dwarf
Lewis, C. S. – Chronicles of Narnia
Matheson, R. – I Am Legend
McCarthy, C. – The Road
Sahlins, M. – The Original Affluent Society
Schaffner, F. – The Planet of the Apes
Stirling, S. M. – Dies the Fire (Emberverse Series)
Wells, H. G. – The War of the Worlds
Wyndham, J. – Day of the Triffids

Breaking Bad, Netflix and Writing

Writing is no doubt a vast and complex field. If as I, and many of the people who are likely to read this will have, you’ll know that somewhere along the course of your studies you can end up weaker in one aspect than others. Personally, I know that I came out of University far weaker in Poetry than many of my colleagues. I’ve struggled and had a long road to work out how to write screenplays too. Of course, I never studied poetry beyond first year. I strongly disliked my tutor and felt that the module overlooked a lot of contemporary poetry. This shouldn’t come as a surprise though; before I began studying Creative Writing, I had a contempt for what I saw as academic poetry. The academics it seemed were quick to judge but slow to evolve. There was a huge us and them situation. There I was, a performer who had gone from mewing my poems at open mic nights, to a confident festival and street poet accosting people at festivals with random poems. I knew absolutely when someone hated my work. After enough performances you understand the different between the polite smiles and applause and the ‘oh my god we loved it’ applause. Every poem I wrote, or rewrote I had an immediate reaction to how well it worked. Yet, when put in front of the academics my poetry was looked down on. I remember one particular instance where a poem that had moved people in performance to tears was criticised for how plain, pedestrian and cliche it was. In that instance the critics missed the point. If you create a familiar character then your audience can associate with that character. I remembered the frustration at knowing that poetry is not just the written word. Yet, when I went to University what did I find? Tutors who proclaimed that it couldn’t be quoted or analysed if it wasn’t in a published book (excluding of course vanity and self publishing). What, I began to question, about performance poetry?  What of poetry used in advertising? What of Rap? (Whilst not a fan of Rap, it does mean Rhythm and Poetry)

I should state at this point that this is not a rant about the academic structure. Far from it, even if I don’t agree with the structure, I do understand it. What this post is about is illustrating some of the difficulties in today’s media filled world with teaching ‘successful’ forms of writing.

Let’s take Breaking Bad for example. That show was one I absolutely couldn’t stand. It was slow and largely filled with two-dimensional characters (one or two leads notwithstanding). If there were no Netflix, I don’t think anyone would argue that Breaking Bad would never have achieved the popularity it has. You see if you read the anecdotal evidence around you come across tales of people who decided to give the second episode a chance, or those that claim you need to get a few episodes in to really begin to enjoy it. That’s all well and good, but in the days when there was only broadcast TV such a show would never have been successful. If it wasn’t good on the first episode, it got ignored in planning next week’s viewing. Of course, it’s important to note you had to plan your viewing. Either making sure you were at home or that you could record your shows. If you sat down to watch something you’d gone to the effort or setting the VCR for, and it was rubbish, are you going to bother going to the same lengths next week? Netflix, and catch up services have given us more options though. It seems that people are more willing to sit through more mediocre episodes or shows in order to ‘give the show a chance’. Of course the double edge to this sword is that you can end up binge watching entire seasons of shows and losing all track of time. You’ll sit there with nothing else to do, no new shows on TV and a weekend free. So on goes NF and you browse for new stuff. A show you always meant to watch pops up and you watch. The first episode’s not great, but you want to give it a chance besides which, the next one has already started playing. Why not watch just this one more. Before you know it you’ve sat through an entire show that you think is middling to fair quality. Half your weekend has flown past and you figure there’s no point doing anything now. Why not just begin the next season. After all you’re keen to figure out just how that obvious cliff hanger is resolved.

All of this gets me thinking. Is ‘good writing’ as cut and dry as academia portrays. I’m currently working on a piece of writing entitled The Anti-Lecture I’ve been through hugely successful examples of poetry, screen-writing and novels and pointed out where these pieces of writing fail to match up to the example of good writing that is held up for us. The fact is that many of the things we’re told not to do when studying writing many writers actually do.

Perhaps though this is missing the point. Perhaps these shows which owe their popularity to services like Netflix are good and I’m finding faults where there aren’t any? Personally, I doubt it. The really important question is: what do you think?

See You Soon!

We hope that you’ve enjoyed the videos that we’ve posted in the last few weeks. We’ve had a lot of fun making them and will be presenting more videos very soon. For now though, we’ve got to take a short break. When we return though, we’ll have all sorts of new content for you to explore and enjoy.

 

Until we return.

 

Martin

Showcase Your Project!

Well, TWF has been rolling along nicely now for some weeks and I’m looking to begin doing what I originally wanted to do with this site. I want to showcase writers and their various projects. So if you have a project that you are keen to share with people, please let us know, get in touch. We’re looking to do video interviews looking at the projects that writers have going on, advertise on our website and help in any other way we can to get the word out.

So, let us know if you think that we can help to showcase your project.

All the best, Martin

Putting Plays on Stage

You’ve written that wonderful stage play that you’ve been working on. It’s wonderful. So wonderful that you need to share it with the world. There’s just one problem, how do you do that?

Join Martin as he shares his experiences of getting his own plays produced and talks about some of the options available to writers.

What Is Alternate History?

Join Sean Hutchings, John Sayle and Martin Williams as they explore Alternate History and explain just how it is that writers approach this vast and wide ranging subject. Is it all as easy as just asking the question ‘What If?’ Find out in the episode below.

CREDITS:
Host: Martin Williams
Guest: Sean Hutchings
Guest: John Sayle

READING LIST:
BBC. Doctor Who: Rise of the Cybermen
Big Finish. Doctor Who: Sirens of Time
Brunner, John. Times Without Number
Clark, Ronald, W. Queen Victoria’s Bomb
Coward, Noel. Peace in Our Time
Dick, Philip, K. Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?
Grant Naylor Productions. Red Dwarf: Tikka To Ride
Huxley, Aldous. Brave New World
Icke, R. & MacMillian, D. 1984
Orwell, George. 1984
Scott, Ridley. Blade Runner
Sci-Fi Channel. Sliders
Sky Arts. Playhouse Presents: Snodgrass
Stirling, S. M., Peshawar Lancers
Turtledove, Harry. Guns of the South
Turtledove, Harry. Ruled Britannia
Turtledove, Harry. A Different Flesh
Turtledove, Harry. & Dreyfus, Richard. The Two Georges
Vuxicon. The Gift