My September York Experience
Took Friday off and got up at 4.30 for 7am plane from Vienna to Heathrow. Travel light. Got mate coming in from Lyon on Eurostar to bring day cream, toothpaste and deo. How long are you staying? 3 days. What is your final destination? York. Enjoy London. Huh? Ooops. Forgot notebook in the x-ray. Yes, it´s mine. Oof! Heathrow Xpress to Paddington. Trek. Signs. Kings X. Trek. Train to Edinburgh. You need to book seats? Trains are soooo expensive in the UK. And you couldn’t book early cos who knew when I’d get out of Heathrowing.
York at last. Let’s share a cab? Righto said the others. The Writers’ Festival. Turn right, then left then right to your room. Trouble is being from Down Under I still get things upside down like the bathwater going round the wrong way, but luckily I found it, and I wasn’t alone. And there was a shower with loo, a bed and a desk and a plug to play wifi the following day.
But this was Friday and so off to my mini with Debi Alper, making sure to sit in the last seat so I could discreetly leave the room for the 1-2-1s. Try doing that from the back. But all good. Took notes. Structure! Are you starting in the wrong place? Arrive late, leave early. Check.
Geese gave me funny looks as I crossed the pond to agent 1 with opus 1. Wait till your´re called. Then sit down. Luckily the person before me felt me zooming in. Who is your market? Huh? (Thinks: I thought that was your job. I write.) The title sucks. Yes. A working title? Need to empathise with main character. Gulp. Who is your reader? Pause. A woman like me? Nice writing. Ta. Are you starting in the wrong place? Tell the story! Arrive late, leave early. Had to. Cross the floor. Editor. Opus 2. Title, no, but nice. Nice writing. Nice concept. Episodic. I’m a short-story writer. OK. Keep at it! Structure! Ta, will do. And back to the mini. More geese now and a black swan. A black swan! The reader needs to see where you are! Structure. Linearity. But there are exceptions. Character in action. Relate to plot. Voice! What is voice? How do I get one?
At last my mate with the deo has arrived. A quick drink. No, can’t stay for dinner. Meeting three erotica writers in town. Being picked up by a big black car. Not grey? Adventure? Sort of. But we have work to do. Over wine and tapas, but work nonetheless. Lovely to meet these folks from the Ether. Back before I turned into a pumpkin. No wifi. Just sleep.
Saturday. Hungry! I’ll take the lot. Sorry don’t talk till brain’s switched on. Mate understands. Click. Off to first keynote. Write the best you can. Write your book. Forget the market. Don’t give up. I love her. A blueprint for writers compliments of JoJo Moyes. A blueprint for life, I whisper to mate. Then off to tame my novel with EmmaDarwin. Imaginings on paper. What’s happening off stage? Pencil! Concept. Prose. Voice. Voice? Where do I get one? Back to the geese. They know me now. Off to agent 2 with Opus 3. A mess. What is this? I haven’t worked out the structure. Any ideas? Linearity. It’s a memoir. Tell the story. Ta for the reaction. The geese honk: Told you so. Lunch.
Keynote 2. The agent and the publisher. They are panicking. Don’t say that. Sorry, couldn’t help it. If the gates are coming down, what use gatekeepers? No. There’s a place for everyone. Just keep at it. And don’t lose the passion. I love independent publishers. I love independent anythings. Off to next workshop. Voice. How can you tell? Where do I get one? I’m exhausted. There’s a side door. Have a rest. Dinner. Yummy. Wonderful unicorns. Tiara. Spats. Cloudies. A quiet smoke. Structure sucks. Laughter. Fun. Goodbyes to some. Sleep and a cable. A quick eye on work. Stop.
Sunday. Hungry. Breakfast. Keynote 3. The eBook revolution- Publishers are scared. But there’s room for everything, isn’t there? Discreet exit. Bus. Train. At last time with mate to chat. Take stock. Yes, it was worth it. Met people. Heard good words. Made me rethink. Saw York with others I’d never met. Plane delayed. Arrived in Vienna just before pumpkin time. Monday work. Now it’s all sinking in. The hellos in the morning, the goodnights. The staff at the reception. The cloud badges, the smiles. The chats while waiting in line for the 1-2-1s and for drinks and for dinner, the connecting. The being with folks who may not think you’re crazy, and the smiles of the ones that might think so. Big ta, York. For everything.
|a new agent|
“I haven’t got a snowflake’s chance in hell with this one-to-one. He’s seen my opening. I’m sure he hates it. But, I have to go. Get over the bridge. I’m on the list. Goose, are you trying to tell me something? You want my novel? Someone wants my novel! You can turn it into a golden egg? You’re an agent, too? Just drop it? All of it? OK. What have I got to lose?”
– by a naïve and gullible writer