Friday, September 07, 2012

York Talk 1

What a day!  It hasn't been without challenges ... Rushing to catch my train at Kings Cross, I wondered why my foot was wet.  Had I stepped in a puddle?  In which case, why was my leg also wet?  Ah yes, that would be down to the bottle of water in my bag ... the OPEN bottle of water in my bag ... So now it looks like I've had an ... embarrassing incident.  I am so cool  ...

Once I was at the Festival, I hit the ground running though.  And I didn't even trip over.  The buzz was a-buzzing as delegates arrived and demonstrated the art of instant bonding.  So many people I'd met before in Real Life, so many authors whose novels I'd edited but had never met, others whose names I knew from blogs, Twitter, WordCloud ... The sun shone on us all, both literally and metaphorically.  Just a shame that my sunglasses seem to have only one lens.  More ultimate coolness.

On to the self-edit mini course. Challenge number 2 for me was when I dug out various bits from my bag at the beginning of the course and discovered more leaking fluids in there.  This time, it was a broken pen and when I pulled my hand out it was smothered with blue ink.  Told you I was cool. On the plus side, I couldn't have asked for a more enthusiastic and engaged group of people.  It can't be easy to have me stand in front of you for 4 hours solid, talking at you.  Yet no one threw rotten fruit and I hope they all picked up some new ways of looking at their novels and improving on them.  As usual, there was a general vibe of people wishing they could grab back their submissions to agents, since they'd just learnt how much better they could make them.  But that's OK - it's all part of the journey.

Then ... well, it's hard to be clear about the details.  I know that I met with Nicola Morgan (Crabbit Old Bat), Jane Smith (How Publishing Really Works) and Emma Darwin (This Itch of Writing) and there was a bottle of pink fizz involved.  That was swiftly followed by a meal (of which I have no recollection) and a great deal of hugging with friends old and new.  And some more wine.

I do remember the Friday Night Live in which 6 brave pre-selected authors read 5 min extracts from their novels.  These were critiqued, X Factor style, by Shelley Harris (author of Jubilee and winner of the same event in 2010) and 2 agents.  The real judges were the audience who were asked to raise hands to select a winner.  Blimey, it was close.  There had to be a re-count between 4 of them but the eventual winner blew our socks off.  I first met Anand Nair when she attended a full day course I ran a few years ago together with Emma D.  Since then, we've stayed in close touch as she lives not far from me and so became a valued member of East Dulwich Writers' Group.  For Anand to (deservedly) win made my night.  Kind soul that she is, she shared her bottle of wine.

Then there was some more wine.  And then I lost my cigarettes (but I had a spare pack. Ha!) and my lighter (but Jeremy Sheldon had a spare so ha! again).  And now, instead of crashing out in preparation for a full on day tomorrow, I'm in my room blogging.  Well, I did promise.  Sorry that there are no links in the post.  I have my limits, y'know.



Sophie Jonas-Hill said...

It's ok, I'm reading your blog instead of getting the good nights sleep I promised myself! Great way to start thought, really! :)

Natalie James said...

You didn't look uncool when I saw you! Hope tomorrow runs more smoothly for you!

AGL said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
AGL said...

Great stuff, Debi. Almost like being there. If a Cloudie couldn't win, Im glad it was an East Dulwicher. I'm off to bed now - and I'm going to have a lie-in in the morning. Ha! - Tony (aka AGL)

catdownunder said... wonder Nicola Morgan's cat Spike has gone salmon fishing instead! How do you humans stand the pace?

Alison Morton said...

Deep envy! I remember riding in the taxi with you from York station in 2010, full of anticipation. I rode back with a burst head.

If FOW2012 is anything like 2010, it will be a pivot point in delegates' writing life.

It was for me.