Yesterday ended year one of the MA Creative Writing degree I teach part-time at Edinburgh Napier University. We had final tutorials with the graduating students, talking through their personal development plans and offering some final pieces of advice on what they should be doing over the next two year.
Unlike most Creative Writing MA courses in the UK, we focus on vocational skills, popular genres and commercial storytelling media [screenwriting, games, radio drama]. Why train writers to fill out grant forms, as some courses do? Far better to equip them with skills so they might earn a living, instead of relying on handouts!
Rant over. Anyway, a new cohort turns up on September 9th, plus nine part-timers return for their second and final year. We've learned so much from our first running of the course. No doubt there are unforeseen challenges ahead, but second time around is a much less daunting prospect. Can't wait for it to start.
Dashed from uni to the Edinburgh International Television Festival, switching changing my metaphorical teaching hat for the jaunty chapeau of a writer. Not many writers attend the festival. It's not cheap, for a start, and populated by upper industry echelons. Writers are the other end of the food chain in this context.
Still, it's an opportunity to listen and learn. Went to Mark Thompson's MacTaggart lecture last night. Thought he gave a good defence of public service broadcasting, took a few pops at Murdoch empire. I just wish the BBC was less apologetic and reactive when its enemies stir storms in teacups about trivia. [You can read the full text of his speech here.]
Right, must return to a scene by scene I'm writing. Got up at six this morning to make sure I nudged it forward, before heading into Edinburgh for TV festival day two. I'm at the different coloured post-it notes section, playing with a jigsaw puzzle of plot points and story beats. Onwards!