Before beginning my Scriptwriting MA, I thought I knew how to write (well, stories anyway). Since completing it, I realised that the MA was just the beginning of a huge learning curve.
Writing a feature-length cinema script is different from a 30 minute TV series episode, and that TV episode is completely different to writing a flash fiction piece. A flash fiction is different to a novel, and a novel is a whole other ball park to an article. Or is it?
Though the end results of all those types of work differ massively, I found that the process is just the same. Learning how to write a succinct synopsis for a 90-minute play turned out to be how I learned to write concisely enough to churn out some decent flash fiction.
Practicing with flash fiction, so keeping a story under 200 words, for example, proved very useful when I tried my hand at writing short articles. The research process for my MA project taught me how to formulate a pretty good research system for non-fiction pieces and short stories too.
To summarise my point, completing that MA is the best thing I’ve ever done for myself because I’m actually beginning to build a career out of the transferable skills I learned. I’ve had 2 plays staged, but most of my paid work has come in the form of short stories, and most of my experience has come from writing articles. I can’t believe how useful those lessons in writing turned out to be, basically for every style I’ve turned my hand to. I’m not saying I’m a brilliant writer, but I do know I’m a lot better now than I was a year ago, and ten times better than I was a year before that. Practice practice practice!