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Alan Moore Wants to Make You a Better Writer in His BBC Maestro Course

Right now I am off to see Michael Bay's Ambulance. I wonder if he could have taken any lessons from Alan Moore? BBC Maestro in partnership with BBC Studios, has been running a series of courses taught by those deemed the most experienced creators in the world through a series of digital tutorials. Now including a six-hour-long tutorial by Alan Moore which can be purchased for a one-off fee of £80. Those interested can sign up here. Here is Alan Moore's introduction;

Alan Moore Wants to Make You a Better Writer in his BBC Maestro Course
Youtube screencap – Alan Moore BBC Maestro – he's talking about characters, obviously.

When I was first asked to do this course, I had some misgivings. Who needs an opinionated diatribe by me inflicted upon them? But then I realised I've probably learnt a thing or two that could help anyone who wants to become a writer.

Now, this is not a commercial writing course (I don't know what that is). None of my commercial successes, whether they be Batman, Superman, Swamp Thing, From Hell, the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, or other unmentionable award-winning titles, were ever planned as such. They were all remote outsiders that people liked because they were well written.

My intent with this course is to simply make you a better writer. I'll teach you to navigate the myriad bedevilments you will face, how to maintain your enthusiasm, and hold your reader's interest. We'll look at history, the future, literary movements, magic, music, authors, wordsmiths, linguistics, poets, comics, novels, science and science fiction. You'll learn how to create characters, landscapes and structure, and combine the thousand other elements that make a story.

​However, I can't guarantee you'll be a successful published author like, say, Jeffrey Archer. Or an unpublished loser like William Blake or Emily Dickinson.

Alan Moore's course has 33 video lessons over six hours, broken down into six parts. We have a couple of clips to share. Enjoy – and get a real feel for his tone, something often denied the prose interviewer. And yes, I'm going to give it a go this weekend.

  • Part 1: Origins The Four Weapons you need to create successful stories. The origins of storytelling. Cultivating new ways of seeing. New approaches to reading. Ways to train your mind to spark the imagination.
  • Part 2: Language How to be inventive with language. The science and semantics of language. Linguistic strategies, rhythm, musicality and nonsense poetry. The neurology of writing. Hemmingway Vs Baudelaire.
  • Part 3: Story Different structures to try. The strength of the short story. The merging of genres. Mode and tense. Time and timing. The importance of misdirection.
  • Part 4: Cast & Setting How to create three-dimensional characters and villains with empathy. How to immerse yourself in extreme characters. Conjuring real and imaginary locations. Presenting a period with authenticity.
  • Part 5: A Variety of Forms How to write for different media – comics, novels, cinema, music. Limitations and capabilities. Understanding what works and what doesn't. New technologies, such as VR, that demand new approaches to narrative.
  • Part 6: Progressive Writing How to keep moving and not become stagnant or stale. How outlandish writing has moved to the centre of culture. How writers and storytellers are building the modern world and consciousness.

And we also get a reading of his poem, written in 1975 when Alan Moore was 23, in which, tongue in cheek, he claims to have invented gangster rap, Old Gangster's Never Die.

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Rich JohnstonAbout Rich Johnston

Founder of Bleeding Cool. The longest-serving digital news reporter in the world, since 1992. Author of The Flying Friar, Holed Up, The Avengefuls, Doctor Who: Room With A Deja Vu, The Many Murders Of Miss Cranbourne, Chase Variant. Lives in South-West London, works from Blacks on Dean Street, shops at Piranha Comics. Father of two. Political cartoonist.
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