I have always held a deep appreciation for the shared aspects of storytelling that exist between different forms. At its heart a poem is the same as a screenplay is the same as a novel, and the only difference is in how each piece is presented.
I realised what writing really was at LJMU
When I was a student between 2015 - 2018 we explored writing in all its forms: prose, poetry, screenwriting, radio plays, theatre, copywriting, you name it we did it. We even had a lecture on surrealism, it was trippy as hell!
Our tutor at that time Sarah Maclennan, once said: “Our aim is to make you fall in love with the process of writing.”
Sure enough, that’s exactly what happened.
I began to recognise that not just the process of writing but the writing itself, for each and every form, was largely the same. They all had a beginning, middle and end, they all featured characters, they all started out messy and got better with redrafting. Each story offered its perspective on our world.
A story is more than just a clever idea…
In the summer break after my second year, I was working on a screenplay. As part of my research, I read ‘The Writer’s Journey’ by Christopher Vogler. Reading that book became the light bulb moment I had heard about since the inception of my academic adventure; the moment you finally understand what a story truly is.
A story is not just a clever idea for a film or book, it’s a pre-determined set of criteria that you must hit to keep the engagement of your audience. If one or several of these aspects are missing then you don’t have a structured story.
Once I understood how all beats and archetypes must fuse together to make a cohesive narrative, I suddenly grasped how to structure a story properly and I knew what needed to be done make it work.
You don’t learn how to become a writer because you already are one, but what you do discover with time and practice is how to develop into a better one fit for your industry.
I refined my process and got out there!
The experience gained from working on my script ‘CHEET’ and many scripts which followed, helped me to realise the need for structure and planning from the offset of a project.
Once upon a time I would have just dived straight into writing, making the links as I went along and going back over it to plant seeds which were to pay off later. Today I begin by articulating the story in one or two sentences and then flesh out my story gradually from there. Like building a wall, without a strong foundation the weight of the load cannot be carried!
I learned that some parts of the process require you to be creative and other parts more pragmatic. This helped in me becoming efficient and enhancing my writing skills, allowing me to progress further in screenwriting competitions that I entered after graduating.
The credibility and recognition I received from those experience have enabled me to create connections with writers all over the world. I now work alongside pro screenwriters with Oscar winning producers attached to their scripts, as well as being represented as a writer of editorials, and having made contributions towards a published e-book on the craft of screenwriting.
Follow your dreams and passions
Success in writing exists on different levels. Being a semi-finalist in a competition has taken me closer to production, yet still I remain un-produced. What writers really require is mentorship over measurement, you must be honest with yourself about where you are on the journey to being published or produced, so that you can learn from those further along than you. More importantly, you need to improve your content to industry standard and then be seen to be made.
My vision takes me past being just a screenwriter. My aspiration as of many writers, is to be recognised as an all-round creative storyteller in multiple forms, collaborating with other artists to reach a common goal of unleashing something onto the world which engages audiences and inspires others to carry forward, original and challenging concepts.
My dream is to create my own crime-drama based in Liverpool; a city rich with culture, struggle and at its peak prosperity. A city born out of its ports and home to iconic sports teams, here, notorious criminals are rife and politics is corrupt, but the people stand together. The stage sets itself.
I want to use my artistic qualities to explore all the beauties, imperfections and limitations of our world, the systems imposed upon us and our small place within them.
My advice to student writers and creators is to follow your dreams. Come the end of your creative journey you may not be where you thought you would be, but I promise you will enjoy it much more and bear a greater chance of success if you can master the craft of telling a well structured story.
How far you go then depends on how much you want it!
Shortly I will be launching Writers Summit
Writers Summit is a community for developing writers sponsored by WriteSeen. We offer you the opportunity to advance in your craft and increase your awareness of storytelling, as well as expanding your network through interactions with other budding writers on the same path.
Writers Summit will help you to find your voice as a writer and connect you to that place deep inside where your imagination thunders.
We are hosting 6 webinars in 6 core writing fields, each area led by distinguished writing mentors dedicated to educating you on The Power of Story.
If you’re serious about taking your writing to the next level then feel free to join our community.
WriteSeen is designed with ALL writers in mind
Imagine a life where cold emails to agents, managers, publishers and producers were a distant record of history, like rear viewing a steam engine from yourself-driving electric car. With WriteSeen your work is hosted securely online, allowing industry pros to come to you. The content you put out is the prize and you’re in the driving seat as to who you move forward with.
Better still, WriteSeen is designed with ALL writers in mind. It celebrates storytelling in all forms through creating access for every writer and creator in a uniformed industry format, making it quick and seamless to be found.
As a writer of multiple forms, I for one am glad that I can host all of my work on one single platform which time stamps my entries and is only exposed to vetted industry elites, meaning I can focus less on outreach and more on output.
WriteSeen is now the final destination for my writing and I cannot wait to be seen by Industry Pros globally!
Murphy Roberts is a UK based Screenwriter & Playwright. Check Murphy out through his social media below.