Writing for Newsjack: The Kettle Rule

As promised, here is the first of the tips even I have managed to pick up writing for Newsjack.

The Kettle Rules is nothing to do with making tea or coffee (even if that does take up half your writing time). This rule is named after the excellent James Kettle – an experienced comedy writer who has script edited a number of Newsjack episodes over the years. He has moved on to other comedy projects now but he is still always very helpful to new comedy writers trying to learn their craft.

James himself came up through the Newsjack ranks (non-commissioned writer, commissioned writer, staff writer, script editor and now on to even more exciting things) and will give this tip to any Newsjack writer who will listen (and listen you should).

The Kettle Rule is this:

Write six sketches a week for Newsjack.

Yes. Six.

Don’t send six sketches when they say the limit is three – that just shows you don’t listen and probably won’t be a good person to work with. No. Every Sunday write six sketches and send the best three.

This has (at least) two good things to recommend it.

1. If you write more you will get better faster. And that’s what this is about.

2. What you send in will be better. That gives you a better chance of getting something on and is a better showcase of what you can do.

Remember the Newsjack team aren’t marking an exam. They want the best sketches they can get – they don’t care if you slaved over it for fourteen hours or dashed it off in fifteen minutes. Putting in more time and effort (as far as you can) will improve your chances.

Have I ever lived up to the Kettle Rule, you ask? That’s not really the point. But I have. Almost. Once. At least once. But do what I say not what I do. Go on. Sit down and start writing something.

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