OK, I'll go first.

I'm a screenwriter, author, creative writing coach and Shakespeare scholar. I've been a journalist, an Oxford don and an agony aunt for teens.I was commissioned to write a historical epic/love tragedy by an independent Hollywood producer (in development) and have had two of my spec scripts optioned. My academic books include Shakespeare's Theory of Drama and Staging Shakespeare at the New Globe, and the mainstream bestseller, Filthy Shakespeare.

I'm passionate about writers who challenge and disturb me, whether in poems, novels or films, and I believe fervently that there are no rules in creative endeavour. Following How To Books too often stifles the creative brain.

I set up my website of articles, Unique Screenwriting, as an antidote to the screenwriting 'gurus' who bully writers into submission to their ridiculous one-size-fits-all, outdated templates which produce scripts that are derivative, formulaic and forgettable - and that no producer I know would want to buy.

I live in Oxford with my partner and an adorable fluffy cream cat and miss my 22 year old son who's at university now like mad. Fortinately he likes coming home a lot and I get treated to his piano playing that mostly makes me want to cry at its beauty.



  • I am in the process of changing my Viking romance/crime novel into a screenplay. Looking at all the other replies I feel like a real amateur, but I love writing a script and it seems natural. Obviously this might mean its a load of rubbish but I'm 75% through it and determined to finish.
  • I started out writing plays in highschool and college, have had poetry, short stories and children's stories published, and my debut novel,  Sweet Music on Moonlight Ridge was published in 2010. I'm very interested in the process of writing a screenplay from the novel. I've attended screenplay workshops, and just keep turning the possibility over in my mind. I'd like to know something about screenwriting if I'm lucky enough sell my novel to a film producer, even though someone else might do the screenplay

    Pauline, my sister is a writer, poet, and Shakespeare scholar, and has written (or is writing) a biography. Not sure if she has finished or if she'll ever offer it to a publisher, but she's certainly obsessed!

  • Hi Pauline and group,

    Thank you for providing this screenwriting group. I'm Mary Llewellyn Nisson, a "newbie". I wrote my first screenplay, Hart of America in response to the issues presented in Diane Sawyer's heartwrenching expose',  "A Hidden America: Children of the Mountains".

    I submitted the screenplay to the PAGE Awards contest not because I think it will win, but because they offered the opportunity to have a filmmaking professional provide feedback. In my wildest dreams, someone makes the film with a nationwide marketing focus announcing that a percentage of the profits would go to...(Appalachian Regional Commission?) or another of the agencies addressing the problem of the region's shortage of medical services. Sort of like purchasing Paul Newman's Sockarooni pasta sauce, where profits go to charities, but for a film.

    What do you all think? 

  • Hello all, 

    I just joined the group last night, and am very happy to have established some contact with screenwriters and would-be screenwriters. I'm a writer of nonfiction (mostly books and essays). My second book, Epistolophilia, is in production at the University of Nebraska Press. It tells the life story (using a massive archive of letters and diaries -- the title of the book means "letter-writing mania") of a Lithuanian librarian and Holocaust rescuer named Ona Simaite. She was a university librarian who entered the Jewish ghetto ostensibly to collect unreturned library books, but brought aid in to ghetto prisoners instead. She carried on a 3-year-long friendship and correspondence with people in the ghetto, attended plays and concerts there, and hid and people and manuscripts in the university library and elsewhere. She was arrested in 1944, deported to Dachau, survived and lived for most of the rest of her life in Paris, where she continued to write thousands of letters to all sorts of people (these are the basis for my book). Every time I tell this story, I'm told it should be a film, so I've decided to try my hand at a screenplay. 


    All the advice I've read says not to try and adapt your own work. I'm ignoring this and trying anyway. I figure the worst thing that can happen is that I write a crappy screenplay, and learn something along the way regardless. So, what the heck?


    I know the story, character and material like the back of my hand, so now I have to learn the form of a screenplay. It's been an interesting journey so far. I've only just begun and have mostly been trying get a sense of the mechanics. I've also been trying to think about the story I want to tell in visual terms. 


    So, that's my story in a nutshell. Looking forward to learning from all of you.

  • I currently write murder mystery plays for am dram groups, schools and general fundraisers. Most of my mm plays have been commissioned by customers. This also allows me the chance to write straight (non murder mystery) plays, knowing that I have several groups that will perform them. I'm a bit of a dialogue fiend. I love listening to the rhythms of people's voices.


    I blog - voraciously - on four blogs which I won't mention here but you can find them on my profile page. I find blogging an excellent device to get my thoughts down on 'paper' and communicate with other writers.


    I would also term myself a 'hopeful' novelist. I'm currently writing a futuristic fantasy novel.


    Finally, my husband and I would like to break into writing for TV. We've written two scripts - 1 sitcom and 1 sci fi drama. Both were sent to the BBC. The first was rejected and we're currently looking for a new 'door' for that. The second is still with the BBC - fingers crossed. I'm currently putting together a 15 minute sitcom for the competition The Sitcom Mission.

  • Pauline, et al - 

    I know I'm late in joining in and hope I've not missed too much.  I promise to try to peddle as fast as possible, although writing sometimes does take second fiddle to the work piled on my desk that Markets (the writing - of myself, of Frank Delaney) and other clients. We deal in fits and starts.  But it's pretty clear we all do that, regardless of how we name the thing that is squeaking the loudest.


    By way of introduction, my first novel was released last Spring in hardcover,"The Season of Second Chances," and will now launch in TPB around the first of this coming April. The story began as an idea for a screenplay and grew into a treatment  -- and only then took a right turn and became, instead, a novel.  So - the idea of turning it into an actual screenplay interests me greatly.  SoSC was picked as an Independent Bookseller's choice last Spring and got a lot of v good attention with many reviews suggesting that it might be a natural film - so the idea has been reinforced, at least at home!

    Pauline - will you be working in Final Draft?  I imagine you'll want us on the same programs?


  • Thanks for your introduction, Stacey.


    It's interesting what you say about them wanting a book. So many industry figures have suggested I write my screenplays up as novels so that way there's a better chance the film will get made!


    But I haven't got around to doing that. When I finish a screenplay, that's it. Rewriting the whole thing as a novel just seem like retreading the same path.


    I completely agree about breaking the rules. My mission for last four years has been to encourage my students and clients to IGNORE all the screenwriting 'rules'. Trouble is, the screenwriting manuals and 'experts' have fostered an anxiety industry. The average number of manuals which aspiring screenwriters buy is 20!

    I often feel I'm trying to undo the damage to the creativity and unique vision done by these gurus to my clients.


    I hope here in our group we can encourage one another to focus on nurturing our individual voice. Otherwise, what's the point?


    Thanks again, Stacey.





  • This past fall I found myself in a difficult circumstance. I was determined to maintain my writerbility so before I left I sent a pilot script for a TV show to an agent with whom I had recently worked on a book project. As he's a literary agent (who proclaims he cannot even read scripts!), he sent it along to a colleague at UTA. My return home revealed good news from UTA, and a suggestion for more edgy dialogue. The other small matter on their minds was a request for a book to accompany the script. No problem! The script was based on a book that was bought twice and never published, revised 10 times, and awaits my attention yet again.


    My days are filled with book clients and my attempts to deepen my skills, make meaningful connections, and do good work that moves people.


    I've published novels and non-fiction, articles on art and design, and work constantly with other writers on books. These days I'm a bit of a social media pusher and learn every day from the many groups of which I am part - not infrequently what silliness is on people's minds.


    I thought I would live in the Hamptons for a while because it was so beautiful, but it's been over 20 years now. New York City is but a hundred miles away, convenient enough. Sometimes I miss everything I am missing, culturally, but I wouldn't trade my backyard - with its deer, birds, and right now, 8 tom turkeys - for it. 


    Consciousness and peace are big topics to my being. I want to live gracefully, create beautifully, and give freely. Stay away from those adverbs, I generally advise, but rule-breaking is on my top 5 list.