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Research or Die, # 2: Events & Disasters

WW2: The Battle of Stalingrad WW2: The Battle of Britain WW2: Concentration Camps (plus infomation on The Holocaust) WW2: Blitzkreig The Hindenburg Disaster 9/11 7/7 BombingsThe Madrid Bombings The Oklahoma Bombing The Zeebrugge Ferry Disaster The UK 1987 Gales The UK Floods, 2007 How Are Hurricanes Created? Earthquakes – Questions and Answers Drought – Key Facts, including links to other natural disasters Hurricane Katrina The Tsunami Cults 1: Jim Jones Cults 2: David Koresh The Columbine Shootings The UK Miners’ Strikes, 1972 & 74 and 1984-5 Slideshow, here) The Three Day Week (UK)

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Because You Never Know When You Might Need Random Info

So I’m mega busy and most of you lot are off to the SWF (damn you), so now seems the perfect time to indulge my love of lists and links and random stuff. I’m not a big fan of the whole “Write What You Know” thang: too much background info distracts from your story and it can be great to sacrifice facts for drama at times – but I’m always surprised by how crazy scripts can be – and it’s usually the *small* details that can let the whole story down, like a slow puncture in a beach ball. The… Read More »Because You Never Know When You Might Need Random Info

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Research Or Die # 1: Politics & War

How The UK Government Works How The US Senate Works How Elections Work In The UK How Elections Work In The US Intelligence Organisations In The UK [PDF] British Police Acronyms, Rank & Phonetic Alphabet How To Behave In Polite Society (Now, with an emphasis on Teens) and in Victorian Times How To Take Over The World The Northern Ireland “Troubles” The War On Terror [PDF] World War One: basic summary including dates and more in-depth research site World War Two Vietnam The Falklands War (The UK vs. Argentina) The American War For Independence The Spanish War For Independence The… Read More »Research Or Die # 1: Politics & War

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Parker, Will You Listen To The Man?

As you know I’ve been mega busy this week AND the entire internet *just disappeared* for all of today (okay, maybe only on my computer… But it’s mysteriously back now so I’m not going to complain). However our main man Adrian Mead has stepped into the breach to offer a few insights on the seemingly torturous process of “making it” as a writer. Ignore at your peril…—————————————————————————–Building a career is a frustrating process and it’s easy to lose heart or blame other people for not being smart enough to recognise your genius. Sometimes looking at things from a different viewpoint… Read More »Parker, Will You Listen To The Man?

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The Secret of Success… And if all else fails, watch Daffy Duck

Feast your eyes upon the wisdom of Geoff Thompson, a writer, teacher, martial artist and former nightclub bouncer. He has written this fab article that tells us the secret of success. Inspirational stuff. Thanks to another successful writer and former nightclub bouncer Adrian Mead for the link (are you seeing a pattern here? Maybe we should all become bouncers?? Something tells me a lot of shady characters would muscle their way into my club however). Or you could decide that another opportunity is just what you need to get on with your plans of world domination. Here are some to… Read More »The Secret of Success… And if all else fails, watch Daffy Duck

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How To Banish Vashta Nerada (And Other Dr. Who Related Monsters)

Well, what do you know: turns out Vashta Nerada is gathering in huge quantities in Bournemouth, specifically, MY house! Thanks Steven Moffatt – just as the baby was beginning to sleep through the night, my nine year old is freaking out at every shadow. *Sigh*. However, over the weekend I discovered that I can banish these little beasts, without the aid of a sonic screwdriver (with or without the red setting or dampers), or even a chicken leg. None of my children were eaten alive either (one in the eye for you, Dr. Who!). 1. Take one empty spray bottle.… Read More »How To Banish Vashta Nerada (And Other Dr. Who Related Monsters)

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Story Evolution

So a rejection yesterday left me with much wailing and gnashing of teeth – largely because I knew full well WHY my supposedly fantastic script had been binned. Don’t you just hate it when that happens? (Though I suppose it’s *marginally* better than NOT knowing why and thinking it’s your best work ever, with knobs on). It’s the beginning. Not the script as a whole. I’ve had feedback coming out of my ears the last year or so on it; I know the story is generally soiund (though I’m willing to concede a good tweak of one particular story point… Read More »Story Evolution

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Plot Construction # 3: The "ComSit"

Just as I have had a surge in TV drama series at Bang2write, I’ve noticed an increase in spec sitcoms the last couple of years: ie. I got none until about eighteen months or so ago. Whilst I do not get as many as TV dramas, there is still a significant amount of spec sitcoms doing the rounds now it seems and they too appear to have a similar problem uniting them. First off however, let’s have a look at the situation comedy. Unlike the TV drama series where a profession, job or specific way of life often brings the… Read More »Plot Construction # 3: The "ComSit"

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How To Plot TV Series: “Story Of The Week” Vs. Serial Element

There once was a time when I would get only feature scripts to read and the odd novel; in the last two years then, I have received A LOT of TV drama series specs. This has been quite an education for me; I had assumed that people would automatically “get” the structure of television. After all (I thought), most people are surely only going to have time to go to the cinema once a week maximum or watch a film on DVD once every couple of days, whereas most people (especially those who want to be writers) must watch TV… Read More »How To Plot TV Series: “Story Of The Week” Vs. Serial Element

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Synopses: Which To Choose?

It’s said that synopses are damn hard to write, which probably explains why so many scribes don’t want to write them. Over the years I have a created an inadvertant and sweet sideline for myself: “I will read your script and write your synopsis for you for a fee”. Catchy, hey? I don’t find synopses that difficult to write. Whether they’re any good is another matter; having said that, I get plenty of read requests myself and the small (but increasing) pool of writers who get me to write theirs report they too get requests, so they can’t be all… Read More »Synopses: Which To Choose?

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Do Your Preparation: How To Write Outlines, Beat Sheets And Treatments

You should do your preparation! Bang2writers often ask me what is the “best” way to go about writing a screenplay or novel. My answer? There is no “best” way. But it’s definitely going to help if you’ve done your preparation first in the form of an outline, beat sheet and/or treatment. Here’s why preparation work helps you get rid of all the obvious pitfalls and crap FIRST, as it … GIVES your brain time to “breathe” and work out all the machinations of the plot and the character motivations and themes etc concurrently STOPS you writing a load of junk… Read More »Do Your Preparation: How To Write Outlines, Beat Sheets And Treatments

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