The write stuff

Posted on: 19 October 2010 by Allan McLachlan

There are lots of people who fancy doing a bit of writing. Most of them find out pretty quickly that it's not as easy as it looks. Thankfully there are great guides to get you started.

We've all got a great play or novel inside us just waiting to be written. The trouble is that most of us never get around to actually starting.  Even less of us ever finish what we started.

Starting the journey from an initial idea to a finished piece of work can be daunting. There are lots of obstacles in the way: everything from not having a suitable place to write to sheer bone idleness. Most of these obstacles can be overcome because most of them spring fromb the same source as the great idea that we've had: from our own imaginations.

As a professional journalist who has been in the business for over 30 years, the last thing I want to do at the end of a long day is go home and start writing something else. What's more, start writing something that doesn't have a guaranteed paycheck at the end of it. Because, frankly, I'm not altogether sure that my idea for a play is going to make me rich. Not only that, I'm not sure that it's actually a good enough idea in the first place.

That’s where Euphoric Ink and their writing courses can help you to take the first steps. Not so much by telling you if your ideas are good or bad, but by helping you to access the tools to decide for yourself.

Through their Fast Track Introduction to Playwriting weekend workshops, teacher Ola Animashawun, Associate Director of the Royal Court Theatre and former head of its new writers programme, will take you through everything you need to know to craft your script. Through discussion, role-playing exercises, reading excerpts from plays and writing activities, Ola will get you thinking about how best to tell your story.
It’s a hothouse course, so it can’t go into too much depth. But through recommendations of plays to see and further reading, it helps you access all of the tools of the trade, from characterisation and dialogue, to plot and structure.

Having always been apprehensive about group activities, it was a revelation attending their weekend course in August of this year. In a very diverse group - some absolutely new writers, some very accomplished - we found ourselves challenged and motivated by Ola and by each other.

It’s not a cookie-cutter process. I suspect that everyone in the group found that some of the different exercises had more value than others. For me, discussing plays like Caryl Churchill's Far Away was the best insight into telling stories for the stage.

As well as the course work, there was an opportunity at lunch each day to talk to Ola about different aspects of his experiences in theatre.  Although not a writer himself, Ola knows what makes a play work and worked on revisions and rewrites with some of the country’s leading playwrites. Ola’s partner in Euphoric Ink Nadine Khadr Renton is a script reader. As well as the introductory courses, they also offer a Script Reading Service and Play Development Consultancy, giving you feedback on your script or more in-depth support through every stage of the play development process.

The course was inspiring and although I haven’t yet written a single line of my play, I feel more confident now about making a start and planning my work before bumbling ahead.

Fast Track Introduction to Playwriting on Sat 6th – Sun 7th November at Charter Chambers, London, 10.30am – 16.30pm.

For more info visit or email

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