Laurence Peacock, 12 January 2016

I called the session because D&D seemed like a good place to talk about how hard it

is being an emerging writer and thought there may well be some people who thought

the same. And there were!

The second title was added after a discussion on day 1 and I hoped there would be

some overlap of interest.

The session was attended by Laurence Peacock, Amy Clare Tasker, Wendy

Thomsen, Marianne Powell, Lucy Avery, Jonathon Carr and Cathianne Hall.

We talked first about building relationships with theatre companies as an alternative

model to submitting scripts to competitions. Getting to knowing a) the people involved

and b) what they're about/what they want was suggested as a better way to get your

work on than sending essentially anonymous emails into the blue.

The idea of building writer/director partnerships was then put forward. Particularly for

emerging writers, to have a collaborative partner come in on a project early for

discussion/suggestion was deemed really valuable. Pinterest was suggested as a

good way to facilitate this relationship, particularly if the people involved have strong

visual imaginations. It also keeps things fluid and flexible.

We talked about working for free. The conclusion was that everyone needed to draw

their own lines regarding what you do for what you get. For example, feedback and

advice can be incredibly valuable and might be an acceptable alternative to gold. Or if

you know that everyone is in the same boat. Or if you really believe in the project. To

sum up, it's complicated and personal but worth thinking about.

We then moved onto the question: How do you talk about work you haven't made yet,

or, the pitch problem.

A few practical suggestions for improving your pitch writing:

- Grab a friend, pitch them your idea. Then they pitch you one. Then you “pitch back”

their idea to them and vice versa. This way, you hear what you've actually said, rather

than what you think you've said.

- Pitch speed dating. Usual set up: pair up, pitch quickly, move on. At the end of the

frenzy, everyone says which stories stuck in their minds. Discuss why that was.

- Describe your story as if you were talking to a child. Without patronizing or betraying

your story, simplify it to its essential elements, concentrate on action, try to create big


Thanks to all those who came to the session.


New Writing, New writing, new writing, pitching, emerging playwrights