Welcome to Cheltenham Stories. We are a group of writers who meet to share our stories and work on them together. We are always happy for people to come along and join in what we do, whether by chipping in or just by listening and giving their thoughts. We meet at the Sober Parrot, Cheltenham’s alcohol-free entertainment bar, on Sunday mornings from about 10.15 to 12.30. The Sober Parrot is at 7 St James Square, Cheltenham, Gloucestershire GL50 3PR.
If you would like to come along, email firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone 077 88 515387.
The task this week is to have another look at the 2,000 word story on the theme of ‘Happy Endings’. We con’t normally do the same task two weeks running but this is so that last week’s absentees can catch up.
By popular demand we are going to try writing three-minute plays next week. Three minutes is about three sheets of paper, or about 5-600 words.You can find lots of examples of radio drama here: https://www.bbc.co.uk/writersroom/scripts/radio-drama Don’t have too many characters: one or two is fine. We might want to act them out. Read the examples to see how radio drama works.
The examples also show you how a radio play is laid out on the page. You don’t have to do it perfectly, and will find it tricky if you are just using Word or similar, but give it a go. It is worth trying because any day now you may want to apply for one of the BBC’s writing competitions and if you don’t do it right they will chuck you out straight away. And remember, the prompt is ‘Dreams’. That can be interpreted in any way you like but should not be the title.
For anyone who is struggling with how to indicate voice-overs etc, here is the BBC’s official template. http://downloads.bbc.co.uk/writersroom/scripts/bbcradioscene.pdf Voice-over is useful because it is another way of telling us a character’s thoughts without having a stooge they tell everything to. Ideally you don’t want either, but that gets tricky.
This week’s exercise follows on from last week’s. Take your ‘Lost love’ piece and rewrite is as a short story called ‘Lost’, in the third person (He, She, They). Attempt to arrange your material in the form of a series of scenes, using dialogue and precise sensory detail. Imply as much as you state, withhold as much as you reveal. This is really hard, but it will make us all better writers.