Fantastic news coming from the, ‘Festival of Writing’, that took place for the second year at the University of York. Once again this was an outstanding event. There was something for everyone, from the novice writer to the accomplished author. One thing that people might not know is the generosity of the writing community. I’ve heard people say, I don’t go to those sorts of things – I’d feel like a spare part. But this really isn’t the case. Writers are a big-hearted crowd. Willing to talk about their own work, yes, but equally interested in what the person next to them is writing. I guess it really boils down to what you put into it, as to what you get out of it.
I’m in a great position to see, the nervous faces of the tentative writer entering the one-to-one arena, (a place to pitch your work to agents etc.), scared and shaking. I’m not surprised! They enter and find me on the desk. I’ve heard it said that it’s like the fear of entering the doctor’s surgery and getting past the receptionist!! But I do always smile and try my hardest to accommodate everyone’s requests. But there is one thing I can’t do is magic up an appointment if the agent, editor or book doctor is fully booked. If you’ve missed your allotted time, I will do my hardest to slot you elsewhere, but that isn’t always possible. However, on the whole, most writers come out feeling they have received the best critique on their work, some come out with requests for full manuscripts and as it has been the case this year, writers come out with a further meeting booked to sign up with an agent. To ensure that these events run smoothly, we have to make certain that we adhere to timings; hence the day runs smoothly for agents, editors, book doctors and the delegates themselves.
This year I know for a fact that there were at least three people taken on by agents. Many people were amazed at the great feedback they received. You have to remember that this time with the agent will be brief, but they will give you some important advice. Don’t panic if they say some negative things, these can be changed and this is probably where you need to concentrate your efforts. ‘Anything worth doing is worth doing well’, it is a truth that we all have to learn to accept. Festivals like this are there to help you grow your work and extend your talents. So, if you’ve never been don’t be scared, it is fun and you will learn something. I still learn every conference or festival I attend. The writing world isn’t a dinosaur, it is constantly evolving and you have to evolve with it if you want to break into, stay in or try something new. You are only as good as your last piece of work. So take advice, edit and re-edit, then re-edit again before you send your work out there if you are to get the best result. After all it’s why you write, isn’t it?