Starting with a bang but without a script

Bang!Phil: We’re working hard on our Stratford Literary Festival talk at the moment.

For a while I’ve had an idea that we should open with a little reading from our book. It’s what proper authors do, and the passage I’ve selected pretty accurately describes the events that started us writing. Just as importantly, it’s not very long. I hate it when an author spends ages reading to the audience – we can read, what we’ve paid for (Note: Our event is FREE!) is to hear things that we can’t get from the page.

Needless to say, the Nolan has other ideas. Something to do with getting the elevator pitch out first. Apparently, there might be people who don’t know the book because they haven’t read it yet.

Maybe my thoughts are falling into the classic new writer trap of too much setup. We need a bang to start with before returning to our core theme. In the book, we threw someone off a roof, but that’s hardly appropriate for a genteel literary festival, so we’ll try something else.

After that we need a proper theme. The story of Candice and Phil might entertain us but we know it’s no use to anyone else. No, what we are going to do is expound the benefits of writing as a team. This sort of session is filled with unrequited novelists who are struggling to get the book finished.

We both know that without the other, we’d never have finished The Book, but finding and working with the right person isn’t as easy as it sounds. You can just as easily end up with a punch-up and one less friend on Facebook as a completed manuscript. Get it right though and an extra person offers benefits for the next stages of the process too.

Next stages? Oh yes. Writing the thing is only the start. For a start, you have to go and talk about it to real live people!

How we deliver this is also under discussion. My first go ended up as a script, but that’s no good. We’re both experienced presenters at conferences and neither of us ever reads the slides on-screen or writes a script. That way leads to stilted delivery and an audience playing with their phones.

No, we need cue cards and the confidence to banter. A rough outline, to be finally agreed over cake, and then we’re off. You’ll be getting the full NolanParker experience. The half hour session is going to fly by!

Now go and book a ticket!

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