I’ll be leading the Writing Salon at The Hospital Club on Monday 16th October. This month’s topic is speechwriting and oratory. Here’s the full blurb.
Lend me your ears:
I wouldn’t blame you if you’ve decided to skip the news recently. It’s all pretty depressing to be honest. The post-summer blues are well and truly upon us and in a few short weeks the clocks will go back. I don’t know why we bother because the annual party political conference season seems to turn back time all on its own these days and this year has been no exception.
When did these things become so dull? Admittedly the PM did her bit with a performance that will be remembered for all the wrong reasons but other than that the standard of oratory on display was pretty shocking.
So shocking in fact that it got me thinking. When did oratory take such a back seat? It’s not just a UK thing either. Last year’s US Presidential campaign was utterly devoid of anything worth repeating, which is a shame because oratory and politics usually go hand in hand.
On Monday I want to explore that. What can writers learn from the craft of speechwriting and oratory? At some point in your writing career you’ll face a situation in which a character will need to make a speech. It doesn’t have to be a political one delivered at a podium, it could be a few lines delivered to a team of employees, or a last-chance-plea to a lover. But when it comes it’s vital to get it right.
Shakespeare’s work is full of it but it’s something of a dying art these days. On Monday I’ll explain why it shouldn’t be. The principles of speechwriting and oratory go back further than you might think and I’ll draw from the likes of Aristotle and Cicero as we look at how good speeches are constructed. I’ll play some examples from film and TV and I’ll also add in a few from politics. Feel free to bring some of your own too.
Once we’ve looked at the theory and seen a few clips I’ll put you to work. Let’s see if we can produce something uplifting as the nights draw in.
I look forward to seeing you all on Monday 16th October at 19:30 in The Chalk Room.
Don’t forget you can also keep in touch with The Writing Salon in our Facebook group https://www.facebook.com/groups/TheHospitalClubWritingSalon/
I’ll be leading the Hospital Club Writing Salon on Monday on the subject of what sport and play can teach us about story. I hope to see some of you there. Here’s the full blurb.
There’s a back to school air about the place at the moment. Thoughts of summer give way to the inevitable pull of autumn and the new term. But rather than see this as cause for a fit of depression I want us to celebrate it. Or at least examine it.
The end of summer and the return to school has a powerful pull on the senses. It evokes memories of friends, teachers and a shiny new uniform. For me it conjures up images of sport and of being not very good at it.
If you dipped into the sports pages at all this summer you may have noticed a familiar refrain. It is often impossible to separate the notion of sport from that of storytelling. We seem to demand that sport holds up its end of the bargain in our desire to bask in the power of story. Just observe the national mood when Mo Farah and Usain Bolt were thwarted in their final races. Look no further than Justin Gatlin for a prototype of the pantomime villain. We project our desire for story onto sport in a way we would never do with business, or politics, although both have plenty of pantomime villains.
Why do we have such a fascination with the story of sport? Not just sport mind you, but “play” in general. If you’ve been to school, you’ve done sport. Perhaps not very well and perhaps not even with any real desire. But whatever your experiences there’s a connection to sport and play that conditions us. It pervades our emotions and that is critical to storytelling. There’s an argument that it is even critical to our survival. When does play give way to sport and why should kids have all the fun. Isn’t “play” as important to adults as to children? But if so, why?
On Monday I’d like us to do a couple of things. By all means think about great examples of sport and play in literature, film and television. But beyond that think about why we project our desire for storytelling onto sport.
There is one story that above all others shows how powerful sport is when it comes to storytelling. It’s a story that fits the classic man against man, man against the world, man against himself struggle so perfectly that it has become synonymous with both sport and storytelling. It shows how amazing characters rise above their WANT and come to realise their NEED. I’ll be using it to show how sport and story go hand in hand. Heroes, villains, winners, losers, cheers, tears and plenty of fears. It’s all there.
I’ll be joined this month by Graham Sibley, host of the incredibly successful “Sound of Football” podcast and keen student of both the history and storytelling nature of sport.