Writers of WHQ: An Interview with Cerys Evans

5 minute read
Author: Jo

In case you didn’t know, the Writers’ HQ writing community is the actual, literal best in the universe, full of amazingly talented and generous writers who make our little corner of the internet a very nice place indeed.

And, as part of WHQ Community Week, we wanted to show some of ’em off — blog stylee.

Every day this week we’ll be posting up an interview with one of our WHQ members so you can get to know them as well as we do: how they write, what makes them tick, their influences, inspiration, top tips and favourite stories. We also wanted to show just how different each and every writer — and their writing process — is, and how there’s no one ‘right’ (write?) way to do things.

Gif of a cartoon purple blob shape tapping on a laptop
because deep down we are all just purple blobs hunched over a keyboard

So today we are delighted to introduce you to WHQer, scriptwriter, poet, actor, and one-woman-show extravangaza Cerys Evans!

Tell us about your writing journey — where did you start, where are you now, and how did you get there?

I started as an actor, puppeteer and spoken word poet many moons ago. After a while though, all the trans parts dried up and I realised that I didn’t have any more poems in me to write. Through Writers’ HQ I’ve experimented with lots of different forms before settling on my first love — scriptwriting.

Do you have a writing routine? How do you work best?

Writing first thing in the morning works best for me — I find the groggy feeling very helpful when drafting for the first time. I write a treatment beforehand with a breakdown of the ‘how and why’ of what I want to write, before getting the script written down on Final Draft

Gif of a cat sleeping with its tongue hanging out, suddenly waking up

What are you working on at the moment?

I’ve just debuted my sell-out show A Trans Fairy Tale at the Brighton Fringe! I’m also drafting a radio play about a romance that takes place across time before and after climate change, as well as a TV pilot of a trans nursing student who fights crime. 

What advice would you give to a writer starting out?

Think about why you’re the best person to write what you’re writing. Everyone has their own unique life experiences and perspectives that give their work breath. It’ll also help you figure out what the theme of your piece is, which another writer might miss entirely.

What’s the piece of writing you’re proudest of (and why)?

My proudest piece has to be A Trans Fairy Tale — which follows a transgender fairy godmother trying to survive in a fairy tale universe. I originally wrote the show after a long series of failed relationships, where I thought I was the problem. I used the play as a chance for me to figure out my own head. My work has been performed on the stage before, but to hear some of the feedback of other people (trans and not) who resonated with it continues to blow me away.

What are the main challenges you face with your writing?

As someone with dyspraxia, I can get so lost with organising writing — whether that’s structuring a sentence or seeing a project through right until the end. Having neurodivergence means that I have to be very deliberate in the way I write, not just how I write. I’m still learning, but I find it much easier to have an electronic to-do list that I can move around, as well as typing up everything (I can hear an audible gasp from the die-hard notebook fans!)

What are you currently reading?

At the moment, I’m reading 10 Steps To Nanette by comedian Hannah Gadsby. While it’s helpful to be reading a creator of a one-woman-show while making a one-woman-show, I’m enjoying the perspective of intersectional feminism that she has. Would highly recommend it to any writer who has been marginalised!

What’s your favourite part of the Writers’ HQ Community?

It’s rare to find a writing community where people aren’t trying to one-up another, but it’s also rare to find a place where people can be so nurturing with their feedback. Everyone truly is a good egg.

Gif of Danny DeVito in It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia holding a hard boiled egg, saying "can I offer you a nice egg in this trying time?"

And finally, give us three recommendations of writers or stories you love.

My screenwriting idols are Aaron Sorkin (The West Wing, The Social Network), Aline Brosh McKenna (Crazy Ex Girlfriend, The Devil Wears Prada) and Jed Mercurio (Line of Duty, Vigil). Each are powerhouses in writing dialogue!

Cerys Evans
Cerys Evans

Writer and Performer Cerys Evans has performed with The Barbican, The Southbank centre and the Thrive HIV Foundation. Her writing credits include short stories for Londonist Magazine, writing for the sketch comedy show ‘The Vanilla Takeover’ and has performed spoken word poetry with the Polari LGBT Salon, where she was a judge for the Polari First Book Prize 2019. Cerys is currently touring her one woman show ‘A Trans Fairy Tale’; a play described as ‘essential for the trans community’.

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