Saturday, April 10, 2010

York Talk 3

I got through breakfast without dribbling coffee down my chin or growling.  Result in itself.

Then it was off to hear Katie Fforde's keynote address.   She gave 10 pieces of advice that were not only sensible and practical, but also very entertaining.

Show, not tell - so here are some examples of the wisdom of Katie:

Finding your voice is a bit like having an orgasm.  Before you have one, you don't really know what it is.  Once you do, you have no problem identiifying it - and enjoying it.

You have to want it enough.  I want to be size 10 - but I obviously don't want that enough.

I am a bit bored by my voice.  I'm also a bit bored by my face.  But I can't change either.

Follow that, eh?  But I had to cos then it was straight into my POV workshop. Initially I'd wondered how to fill an hour on that one subject.  In the event, I could have continued for far longer given the chance. 

And I got another round of applause at the end so I must have got something right I guess.

Then zoom - off to my first session of 1-1s.  6 authors and their work - 10 minutes each for feedback.  This was immensely gratifying.  Having read and absorbed all the submissions in advance, I felt I had useful things to say.  Writers are so vulnerable and of course all of those of us who are authors as well as editors know that from the inside.  Being in a position to encourage and point out strengths (cos everyone has them) as well as weaknesses and practical suggestions for dealing with them felt really constructive. 

I feel privileged to be in that position, especially when you can clearly see how something can be improved (eg you're starting in the wrong place ... or you're over relying on dialogue to impart info ... or can you justify this timeline  distortion?) and you see the person's face as they see how much better their work could be with some tweaks ... wonderful stuff.

And one submission I immediately pitched to the organisers and they have hooked him up with an agent.  I've no doubt whatsoever  that his book will be on the shelves at some point.  How amazing to have been a prt of that process.

I crossed over the lake (did I mention the lake?  the omnipresent swans, geese, ducks? the lovely setting?) in the company of Katie Fforde, Adele Geras (longtime hero of mine) and Emma Darwin, thinking - ooh look at me ...

I've had lunch (during which I read and discussed 2 new people's writing) and have  decided to miss the next session so I can blog.  While I've been sitting here, a woman drifted past in a dreamlike state saying she's had a very positive reaction from her agent pitches and it looks like she's on her way to being represented.

I need to rush now, so once again don't have time to add the photos.  Patience, peeps.  I'll get there eventually.


Rachael Dunlop said...

Oh, I am enjoying all this so much vicariously. Keep it coming, Debi!

Unknown said...

You're playing a blinder, Debi, can't believe how great it sounds! So positive :)

Liane Spicer said...

How lovely! Keep it coming, Debi! (Loved those quotes... especially the one about wanting it enough.)

Inktrailer said...

Loving the blogs, thanks for doing them, it sounds like a great weekend. You're making those who couldn't go very sad though:-( Good work!

Queenie said...

What a fascinating, fabulous event. Thanks so much for taking the time to blog about it when there's so much else going on.

Unknown said...

Am green with envy - have a fabulous time!

Sue Guiney said...

This all sounds so marvelous. And those new writers are so lucky to have you looking at their stuff!