Writing is a very solitary pursuit. Musicians can jam together, artists can paint together. We writers, us storytellers, do what we do alone. We rarely get together. The most writers I’ve ever seen in one room is 12.
So Penguin put on an event for 50 writers (a third of the 150) at the Newcastle Discovery Museum.
The first thing Penguin publishers said was that we should have fun and there were seats outside and a chillout room at the back if it got too much for people. Very thoughtful.
Like every other table, my table had two editors on it. They are normal people and like everybody else, they love stories, they want to find the best ones and help carve out the best ones which are buried within.
My one to one session with Editor Emily Griffin was great, she got what was trying to achieve on the page and gave me some tips on how to improve the manuscript without killing the story.
The last session was on securing a literary agent and sending out covering letters. They also said unless its non-fiction they should be contacted once the manuscript is done.
The main points from the day were:
Have fun with the writing process.
A book may take 2 years to come out – they wont put out books that are similar at the same time.
Don’t give up the day job – Even famous authors have other jobs.
Keep going, have faith.
There is no one path to success – everybody’s journey is different.
Have a social media presence – twitter
Don’t share work with relatives.
Trust your instincts.
Characters, even bad ones, should be likeable in some way.
Get the novel finished.
That’s all for now.