The Writing Industries Conference this year was, in my opinion, quite a success story. I had toyed with the idea of volunteering as a WIC blue-shirted helper to get in for free but the urge for a 1-2-1 was too great. I’m pleased I chose to pay – the 1-2-1 was perhaps the highlight of the day for me. Julia not only gave me superb advice on ‘The Existence of Jonathan’ that I hope to begin in the summer, but also listened patiently whilst I blabbed on about ‘Written in the Stars’, my last novel. Truth be told, I haven’t thought much about Stars for a while. It’s been gathering dust in the depths of my computer. But I took it out in the meeting and patted it down in the form of what ended up as a pitch. I had forgotten the charm of Stars, but Julia seemed to see it. She gave me her card and told me to send her some. Now begins the mammoth task of re-writing the beginning. But really, I’m not complaining. I am over the moon that she wants to see some, it’s certainly a first for me. Very exciting.
Other highlights of the day for me include the Children’s writing seminar, which opened my eyes to my own ideas on YA literature. YAs don’t want patronising. They want reality, the nitty-gritty details of life. The advice to read teenage novels was also good, I really do need to do some research in the area before I go any further with Jonathan.
I met some really nice people, the chances to network were plentiful, and I tired to do this the best I could. I picked up titbits of information about projects to help writers, the best way to plan a novel and how to approach an agent. Useful, I hope. I also found myself yapping on about Jonathan, exposing him to the world, as it were. But the more I talked about him, the more I realised what I wanted him to be. He will be a teenager, not a grown man. More valuable than anything I learnt from attending seminars today was what I learnt about myself and where I want Stars and Jonathan to go. That was well worth the price of the ticket, and then some.