This week’s links focus on supposedly controversial speeches, script writing advice and struggling playwrights.

Royal Bodies

Hilary Mantel got into a bit of bother this week when some sections of the media took one sentence of her Royal Bodies speech and accused her of being mean to the royal mum-to-be. In fact, the speech was making a point about how women that join the Royal Family are treated, and have been treated throughout history. The trouble is, it was a long speech (almost 6,000 words), and some people don’t have time, or the will, to read that much. By the time she started on Marie Antoinette, some people had frothed themselves up into a state of outrage and run off to write about how terrible she was for picking on the Duchess. The Guardian published a great analysis of the controversy over on the Comment Is Free section on Tuesday.

Advice on rewrites

There’s a great post by Paul Ashton on script rewriting over on the BBC writersroom blog. Although it focuses on scriptwriting, I think the advice can easily apply to other forms of fiction writing. The point about making sure the script (or manuscript) says what you think it does is something that I’ve been thinking about as well. It’s so easy to assume that other people will know what you mean, because the narrative exists in your imagination. It’s easy for the writer’s brain to automatically fill in any holes – almost like failing to see a missing word when you read a sentence back. I suppose this is why getting feedback is so important.

Theatre funding cuts impact writers

The In Battalions report (embedded below) detailed the effects that funding cuts are having on new play development in England. The report, compiled by playwright Fin Kennedy, highlighted several areas where playwrights were being impacted by the cutbacks:

      • More than half of respondents said that fewer full play commissions for writers
      • Two-fifths of respondents said that they were seeing cuts to new writing research and development spending
      • Just under a quarter of respondents said that there were cutbacks to new writer development schemes
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