Wednesday, June 25, 2008
Writing to The Chiefs
Nothing like a looming deadline to get the writing juices going. Self imposed targets are nice, but the repercussions from missing one never really has much impact. Am I going to forbid myself from a reward, such as buying a CD or watching a movie, because I missed my self imposed deadline? No, not really. So a deadline with a little more weight to it is always a good thing.
It’s festival time again and no, I’m not talking about the music variety where you watch big name bands in the rain or find nice little nuggets on the seat of the portaloo or try to sleep in a tent with a rock digging into your back through your sleeping bag. No, I’m talking about The Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival (formerly known and more commonly referred to as the Harrogate Crime Writing Festival). Yes, it’s on again – three days of seminars, readings, panels and entertainment from some of the big names in UK and ROW crime writing.
Creative Thursday is on again too – one day (before the official festivities begin) of informal talks about all things crime writery, delivered by authors, publishers and agents in the field. Very entertaining and full of little nuggets of information and advice (and I’m not talking about the music festival type nuggets).
And, as with last year, I’ve signed up for a One-on-One session with Greg Mosse, another opportunity to present my work in front of the experts and get some free advice.
This is where the deadline comes into it: 3,000 words by July 7. Not self-imposed at all; if I don't hit this one, I miss out on a great opportunity for constructive advice and I'm sure to receive a raised eyebrow from Mr Mosse himself.
What to submit? Well, last time, I submitted a 3,000 word synopsis of the novel I am working on and spent a very worthwhile 20 minutes going through it with Mr Mosse. This time around, I am submitting 3,000 words of prose. The first time, it was about seeing whether my idea for a novel would be worth pursuing. This time, it’s about whether I have the skill to write it.
I plan to submit the first two chapters of my novel, restricted by the word count. At this stage, this involves re-writing the first chapter and writing another from scratch. The novel has been written slightly out of sequence so far, but coincidentally, I have reached the stage where I need to write that second chapter. Good timing indeed.
This type of feedback is gold, especially when you are a first time writer halfway through a novel. Greg Mosse is very enthusiastic but gives good critical advice: encouragement and guidance, two things any good writer can do with from time to time.
The deadline is approaching and I will get more than just a CD as a reward if I meet it.
That said, I am thinking about Kaiser Chiefs.