Tag Archives: writing west midlands

Missing feeling like a PROPER author

Phil: According to my increasingly useless* calendar, last weekend we should have been enjoying the Writing West Midlands conference.

Candice and I have enjoyed our trip to Aston University for the last few years. It’s always a good day out. We look down the list of presentations and seminars then dole them out between us. Being a team is very handy when two events are on at the same time because we can pool our knowledge over lunch or tea. They do excellent catering at these events. Good cake, and we like a good cake.

Surrounded by other authors, it feels like we are actually part of “the industry”. I know we’ve knocked out a couple of books but neither of us gets to live off writing fiction, so we don’t feel we’ve “made it” yet. And yes I know very few authors survive purely on the income from writing, but allow me the fantasy.

Sadly, it’s not happening this year. The shoes I wear because they feel suitably authorly will stay in the wardrobe. My only complaint is that with the event being held in the summer, it’s always too hot to wear my tweed jacket which feels even more writely.

Attending writing events has been an unexpected highlight of our literary efforts. OK, we are paying to go rather than being feted up on stage (except for Stratford Literary Festival a few years ago) but it’s a start. We’ve seen some interesting talks from fascinating people. There have been moments to groan over too as the first question from the audience is always someone who just wants to talk about themselves, but it’s part of the fun.

Writing West Midlands events tend to be more technical with useful ideas on publishing and publicity. We, hard-core writers, feel more at home there than at those events where celebrities just pitch their latest book to an adoring room of fans. That and we can never get tickets for the later.

Mind you, if anyone feels the need to hear from a couple of entertaining writers about some really funny books at your international literary festival or local book club, please give us a shout!

 

*Useless, unless your hobby is crossing out events you can’t go to any more, then it’s brilliant – loads of practice.

 

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Writing West Midlands Writer Networking Session

Writing CakeCandice: Phil and I took a tour away from our usual haunts and went to Worcester last Saturday to an writers networking event.  Organised by Writing West Midlands the day was a chance to listen to two published authors talk about their routes to publishing as well as ask them questions, on top of a chance to speak to some fellow local authors.

I was rushing to get there due to child care stuff and arrived just after it was kicking off.  Finding the venue was a mission enough, I thought I knew Worcester but had never heard of the ‘the Hive’ which is also the library.  Impressive building but a bugger to find.

Anyway, our two speakers were Kate Long, author of a number of comedy/romance books – with her first ‘Bad Mother’s Handbook’ a number one best seller.

The second was Liam Brown, a recently published author, who’s book ‘Real Monsters’ is about what impacts on you, real and imagined, with a slant towards the military.

After the usual intro both Liam and Kate talked about their different writing styles; and how different.  Kate taking the more school teacher approach (probably related to her background as an English Literature teacher) with work plans right down to when she is going to write each section and how many words.  Liam was much more take it as it comes, just sitting in front of the computer until an idea came and literally writing himself into a corner in his current book.

I think Phil and I are much closer to Kate’s style, though we do like a good post it note!

Liam had a good round in boxing related metaphors:

“Each rejection letter is a slug in the jaw or a jab in the kidneys.”

“It can make you feel like throwing the towel in.”

all related to the journey he’d taken before getting published.

Kate had her chat down to an art after eight published books and, obviously, a regular round of attending these events.

So what did we get from the event?

Competitions seem to be a good way to get in to the world.  Both had entered a number and got short listed which had then opened doors for contacts for them.

Character questionnaires are a good way to make your character as rounded as possible.  Phil and I have looked at these before but not filled them in as we know our characters quite well – but as we write further into book 2 we are coming across things we can’t answer so these would definitely help.

The importance of regular writing.  Both Kate and Liam talked about making notes on anything and everywhere, and not to be satisfied if they don’t put pen to paper in some shape or form each day.  Now, this is my 500 words of writing for one day and I think that its harder for Phil and I to do as we are some times waiting for comments back from the other but I am going to endeavor to be more regular as I had some inspiration last week and wrote around 1500 words over two days but have now lost my mojo again.

A lot the other questions were from those earlier in the process than we, asking about covering letters and how it all works. But it’s still interesting to hear another view point.

Both Liam and Kate seemed genuinely nice people and gave their realistic views on being an author; they aren’t JK Rowling and still have full time jobs. But they enjoy their craft and with Liam particularly, still excited by the idea of being a published author.  That’s a feeling I can’t wait to have !

So, over two nice cakes Phil put the world to rights and did some idea planning based on what we’d heard, so well worth the trip (plus the free key ring for me and new reading material for Phil!)

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