I had 18 Book Doctor sessions over the 2 days. Obviously, and as one would expect, there was a range of genres and also of potential in those submissions. But everyone felt they learned something really useful and specific to their own writing, including the effectiveness of their concept and pitch.
I was seriously impressed with some of them. Although I was only seeing first chapters and synopses, there were some who semeed they only needed to do a bit of tightening and polishing for their books to be ready to pitch to agents. If they didn't get any bites, they might consider getting an edit, but those special few were at the stage where I suggested they should try pitching them first, on the chance that everything was already in place and they could save themselves the expense of paying for a critique.
I hope people will stay in touch as I'd love nothing better than to see them succeed and know I had a small part to play in their journey.
Which reminds me ...
I was talking to someone who has spent their former career in the highly competitive corporate world. She couldn't believe the way everyone seemed to be so generously spirited, genuinely happy to hear about and celebrate other people's success. I hadn't really thought about how unusual and extraordinary that was. I've always taken it for granted that our collective passion and enthusiasm was for all writing, not just our own. Makes me feel even more happy and lucky - privileged even - to be part of the community of writers.
On which note ...
I had to forget something crucial when I was packing, didn't I? Toothpaste, that's what. On Saturday morning, I told someone in passing that I'd forgotten mine and had had to use soup (bleurgh). An hour or so later, Jeremy Guy, one of the extraordinary team of organisers, came up to me and said he'd heard I'd forgotten my toothpaste and I really should have told him.
Eh? I think I might have goggled at him. And then 10 mins later he found me and handed over a tube that he had dispatched someone specially to buy. I know this sounds wet, but I was so touched, and felt so cared for and looked after, I felt quite teary. *sniff*