Friday, 31 August 2012

My Huge Quest to get to Devon begins

Having fantasised about going to Devon for the last umpteetwo years, the stark reality is hitting me in the face. With my neuro (ouch) style disability, it's going to be as tricky as a trip to Mars. well, almost. The physio is frowning and talking neck braces and such. Am I mad?

Tuesday, 14 August 2012

technological forgetfulness.

On Tuesday afternoon at Swanwick Writers' Summer School you have the afternoon to yourself. I thought it would be a great time to catch up with editing my work.

I had roughly six hours free before supper. I spent a fair amount of that changing my room, due to the hard bed and constant hum in my first room. The staff were very obliging, allowing me to test each bed until, like Goldilocks, I found one that was just right. 

Once established in the main house, I took my laptop to the bar area and settled down to work. 
Oops. I'd taken the wrong file from my hard drive at home, which meant I had no work to edit.

So I spent the afternoon relaxing on the lawns drinking fizzy wine and discussing all things literary. I even had the chance to read the first chapter of my work in progress to my friends, who gave me valuable feedback.

After supper (more on the thorny issue of being vegan later) I went to a side splitting talk by Sharon Kendrick.

Now back in my room, I thought I'd do a blog, using the photos I've taken during the last two days.

Oops. I'd left the camera card in the laptop and taken photos on to the camera and haven't got the right cable to get the photos onto the laptop.

It's clearly not a techy day, even though it started with a talk on e-publishing.

Still, it's been a wonderful day with warm hearted friends and warm sun. I'm looking forward to sleeping on a comfy bed tonight.

Saturday, 11 August 2012

Swanwick Writers' Summer School

After weeks of looking forward to it, I'm finally here.

I took my twenty copies of Taranor into the book room. 

(Faerie fantasy adventure ... type Taranor into amazon books to find the kindle version. It's in paperback too.)

After supper we had an entertaining lecture by Steve Hartley, author of The World's Biggest Bogie.

 His five rules to getting published.
1 create a short and punchy synopsis.
2 polish your manuscript, re-write, re-write.
3 find your voice.
4 get yourself noticed.
5 make your work commercially viable. Power has shifted from editorial power to marketing power.
The lecture ended with eleven women getting into a huge pair of knickers. I forgot to take my camera, so haven't got a pic of that.

Looking forward to tomorrow.

Wednesday, 1 August 2012

Swanwick Magic

Every time I walk past my brand new suitcase I smile. It's only ten days until the Swanwick Writer's Summer School begins.  I can't wait.

I went there, last August, for the first time. Before I went, I visited the website to look at the programme and sort out my booking. On the website they talked a lot about the 'magic of Swanwick', which I thought was just marketing speak, but after one evening of glorious weather, inspiring speakers and comfortable surroundings, I realised it was not sales hype.  By midweek I was wandering around smiling.  I had many reasons to smile.  First of all there was the magic of Swanwick, which truly exists.  There were fellow writers everywhere, new friends to meet and so much to do and learn.  I was also smiling because I was away from my house. 

Having a chronic pain condition makes taking holidays extremely difficult.  Well, I'll be honest, having a chronic pain condition makes simply going out for the day almost impossible, never mind going on holiday.

It was truly magical to be away from home and yet to feel safe.  I was close enough for friends to come and rescue me if my health deteriorated.  Yet I was far enough away to feel like I was on an adventure.

It's not an exaggeration to say that being at Swanwick changed my writing life.  In that one week I learnt so much about how to construct a story, about fantasy and autobiography, about plot and publishing and how real authors live day by day.

If you want to spend time with three hundred other fun loving writers and you enjoy pastry, then I would recommend Swanwick Writer's Summer School.  There are a few places left.  You can book until August 7.

Soon, instead of simply smiling at my suitcase, I'm going to begin to pack.