Monday, 5 November 2007

From Inspiration to Publication. A writers day with Dublin City Libraries

Good writers day with Font International literary Agents and Dublin City libraries. Hope they do it again next year with new faces.

• Lia Mills, the author talked about journaling.
• Karen Gillece talked about keeping a diary. She wrote My Glass Heart and left a comment on my blog earlier so it was great to meet her in the flesh. A lovely person.
• Aine McCarthy talked about F-R-E-E writing as in the morning pages idea.
• Garbhan Downey, an editor from Derry, talked about writing non-fiction articles for newspapers mainly. The first thing he thinks of when reading a submission is whether it will land him in court. Look for a gap in the coverage. Have perfect spelling and grammar. Remember the rule, ‘Nobody ever reads the second paragraph,’ so spend 50% of your time on the first paragraph and the headline. Make it something to be enjoyed rather than endured.
• Susan Knight talked about the short story and plugged the magazine Mslexia which I adore. ‘Read like a Thief’
• Dominic Taylor from the Whitehouse Poets Revival talked about Blogging as a means of self-promotion and marketing.
• Orna Ross (another hat of Aine McCarthy) talked about the 7 stages of writing the novel.
o Preparation. Free writing, drifting ideas and images, chasing an idea around the page. Reject nothing at this stage. Read.
o Planning. Keep your mind open but start to focus. What is your book going to do? Slot the writing into your daily life. Make time for it. Keep reading.
o Germination. Let ideas take root. Think or scenes, characters, setting, phrases, set pieces, time, places. Read books written the way your want to write.
o Working. This is when you start writing. Apply the seat of your pants to the seat of your chair. 1st draft only so keep your inner critic boxed away. Finish what you start then leave it.
o Deepening. Ask yourself: What else can I say about this? What else would my character feel or do here? What else might I have missed? Why does this scene happen? Does it move the story along? Is this really how it was? Is it clear? Are there connections?
o Shape and Order. Think of the reader. Is it clear? What is the structure of this book? Begin to let it go.
o Completion. Edit, polish, copyedit, fine tune.
• Paul Kilduff talked about non-fiction. Look out for his book about cheap airlines, 'Ruinair' next year.
o Take first steps. Get writing
o Be clear about your subject matter
o Be passionate if not obsessed about your topic
o Demonstrate expertise and credibility
o Read in your genre. Can you do better?
o Read about writing
o Write non-fiction as if it is fiction. Have story, characters. Show don’t tell.
o Know the point of your book
o Be commercial
o Be fashionable
• Mia Gallagher, the author, did some fiction writing exercises (which didn’t work so well in such a large group.) An interesting exercise to write a 3 sentence story using words that all start with the same letter. I had E. It was a stretch!
• Ita O’Driscoll from Font International Agency talked about an agents’ job.
• Patricia Deevy from Penguin Ireland talked about a publisher’s job. She hasn't bought a book for over a year. Why are manuscripts rejected?
o Writing that isn’t good enough/doesn’t stand out (for the right reasons) The writer’s voice isn’t coming through or there isn’t a Unique Selling Point.
o The writing is lovely but there’s no story or the story runs out before the book does.
o It’s a lovely story but the writer can’t write.
o The book/writer is not promotable or credible.
o A gut instinct says there’s something off. There’s passion missing, needs authenticity and conviction.
• Eoin McHugh talked about publishers/book buyers and the commercial aspects or book placement which was sobering.



Sounds really interesting. Wish we could put together something like this at the library where I work. We've had a couple of 'well-known author' talks over the last couple of years, and they always go down well. Discouraging that the publisher didn't buy anything for a year. Shows how hard it is to break through.

Middle Ditch said...

Dear oh dear, when you read all that it is a miracle that a book is still published. I do agree with Dominic Taylor though. Us a blog for self promotion. That's what I am doing and it must have worked. I was approached today by a french internet radio who might want to broadcast Middle Ditch. I will know more tomorrow. I also agree with Paul Kilduff; show, do not tell. Not easy for a radio play, but yes, it can be done. Keep writing.