Saturday 11 March 2023

What Makes a Great Protagonist?

 “A compelling protagonist is one who feels like a real person to the reader; it's as simple (and as difficult) as that.”  - Layla AlAmmar, author of the novel Silence is a Sense.

Protagonists are just like you and me. 

John Mclane in Die Hard is just a policeman on his way to visit his estranged wife and their kids on Christmas eve. Before the chaos unfolds we see his struggle; to keep his wife, to see his children, to have possibly his last Christmas with them as a family. We already like him before he starts fighting the bad guys and saving the day. 

That's what a good protagonist looks like. 

They are usually flawed in some way, just like us, and their struggle to make it through the story that unfolds is what makes them relatable. But it's not quite as simple as just making them the same as us; they have to save the day in a way that's not too easy, their character has to act and react in a way that still makes us like them at the end. 

Batman never kills the baddies. That's his thing.  He could be completely unrelatable; he is a billionaire with all the tech and gadgets, after all. Not many of us have a mansion and all-singing-all dancing car. But he has a heart. And we love him for it. 

We may not always agree with the actions our beloved protagonists take, but we must want them to succeed, because there's something about them that we like. It is their actions that drive the story after all, their problems that need to be solved. 

John Mclane had to act because his wife was being held hostage. If she wasn't there, he might still have saved the day, but he would have had nothing to lose. He did it all for her, and we all like to believe we would fight off terrorists and Hans Gruber for the ones we love, so we relate to him more. 

Our protagonists know what they want, and they drive the story from beginning to end just to get it, stopping at nothing to achieve their goal. I don't know about you, but I think I definitely need to be a bit more of a protagonist! 

Saturday 25 February 2023

NEW WRITER? Read this!

If you're interested in entering our ACT YOUR AGE competition, but don't know where to start, keep reading. 

 "Ideas are all around us, in the people you meet, in the things you read and see and hear and experience, in your own childhood and family, in the wilder reaches of your imagination." - Kate Pullinger, The Guardian. 

The hardest part of writing is beginning; putting that first word down on paper (or on screen). Is it the right word? Is it a good start? What's my second word going to be? 

It all starts with an idea. Whether a fully formed story, or a half-baked thought stream which you hope might blossom into something magnificent. But how do you turn that idea into a script that can be staged? Well, here's a few tips this writer has found useful over the years - and you might too. 

1. Write your idea down.

Don't dive right into the script part straight away. Jot down your idea. who are your characters? who is your main character? What do they want to achieve in the short amount of time that we will know them? They've always got to have a goal, that's what drives the story forward; it's what we as the audience are hoping that they achieve.

2. Pace out your story.

What is going to happen at the start, in the middle and at the end? Quite a lot of Pixar films start out in the same way for example; the hero is going about their normal business, then out of nowhere, their lives change and their journey begins. 

But then what? We need things to happen to this character to show us what kind of person they are - are they brave, foolish, or creative? When things start to get difficult for them (as things should in any good story) how will they react and get themselves through? 

How will it end? You ought to have at least a bit of an idea where you are going with the story, and where it might end. Will your character achieve their goal? Will it be a happy or sad (or ambiguous) ending? Knowing where you'll end up keeps your writing focussed and stops you deviating too much from the main story. Of course if you get halfway through and realise you want to end a different way, then go ahead, we all love a twist!

3. Start writing

Eventually you'll have to put pen to paper, or fingers to keyboards, and start writing. My advice is just to write. don't stop and correct your mistakes, just go for it. let the story flow out and don't think about it too much. That's what editing is for. This time is for raw ideas flowing out in whatever order they occur to you. get yourself a quiet room with minimal interruptions and let go! 

4. Keep writing

After a while, you might notice steam coming from your ears or your fingers hurting like they've run a marathon. This is all perfectly normal writer stuff. Make yourself a cuppa and CARRY ON! it might be tempting at this point to re-read what you've done and get disheartened that you think it isn't any good. DON'T DO IT! Just keep writing. you can correct any errors later on. You know what you can't correct? A BLANK PAGE! 

5. When you've finished writing, stop. 


Phew, you've made it to the end. Your character has completed their journey. You've laughed, you've cried and you've somehow lost a whole day somewhere. 

Now's the time to get up, take a stretch, and walk away.

Let the dust settle. Then, when you've totally forgotten about it, read your play through again with fresh eyes. You might notice things that need changing or spelling mistakes you made. Read it to someone else. See what they think. Edit and amend until you have a polished script.


What is writing for if not to share with others and get it performed? Now you've put in the effort, you might as well. And where better to send it than to us! Follow the link below to show us what you've got. GOOD LUCK! (We believe in you❤️)


Monday 24 October 2022


Where is it?

Station Road

What does it do? 

From their website: "We have been entertaining audiences in Wigton for seventy years. We present a variety of live entertainment, including comedy, drama, classics, variety, and live music. We run drama, script writing and speech classes and involve many members of the community, both on and off stage, behind the scenes and in front of house."


  • Proscenium Arch Auditorium
  • 90 seats
  • Wheelchair Accessible
  • Induction Loop available
  • Fully Licensed Bar
  • Ice-Creams
  • Real Coffee
Check them out:

Sunday 2 October 2022

What's New on the Web - Competitions

 A really good way to test your writing and get inspired, is through competitions. Lots of our members apply to competitions as a way to hone their skills and, well, let's be honest - see if they can win! 

There are lots of sites out there that advertise competitions in a variety of different mediums, for example the BBC have their own space for all manner of writing competitions. Check it out below:

Another place which multiple opportunities is a site called COVERFLY. These tend to be call outs for film scripts or varying length, but they do often cater to different genres and styles of writing. Take a look:

For those more into fiction and poetry, WRITER'S HQ looks to have a wide variety to choose from.

You might notice that a number of these charge £££ to enter, but there are some free ones there too. It's also not an exclusive list, there are MANY sites and sources to choose from. Let us know your favourite!

(P.S. we were not endorsed by any of these sites, they're just ones which work for us)

Sunday 21 August 2022

 We Are Back! 

Since 2021 we have been Zooming in the background keeping our group alive, having meetings and sharing our work. 

Going forward, we have decided to have hybrid meetings in Keswick with a very nifty speaker setup for those not able to come to face to face meetings. This was decided as the best way to continue as North Cumbria Scriptwriters as we have some members living away and some who struggle to get to the meetings. 

Through the winter we are likely to revert to wholly online meetings because who wants to come all that way in a Cumbrian Winter?!

We are in the process of organising one of our famous SCRIPTWRITING COMPETITIONS, so stay tuned! 

Tuesday 24 March 2020

Next Meeting:

We are now meeting in a hybrid fashion - in person and by zoom.

Email us for more info: (please note this email address is infrequently monitored)

Wednesday 19 September 2018


The 3 winning plays in this year's competition - Picture the Scene - will also be shown at the Penrith Playhouse at 7.30 pm on FRIDAY, 20th October 2018.

Tickets are available from:

This date is in addition to the original performance at Theatre by the Lake, Keswick at 7.30pm on SATURDAY, 20th October 2018.

Tickets available from: