Well I’ve finally recovered enough to write a blog about last weekend. It been a while again since I last blogged, mainly on account of still being ill. I can’t seem to shift this thing, no amount of vitamin C seems to be helping. But it does slowly seem to be getting better. Having a week off work has definitely helped.
So on to last weekend: It was the Black Library Weekender in Nottingham, which I have been looking forward to for ages. A couple of days where the authors and fans of the Black Library get together to talk all things tie-in fiction. I luckily managed to get hold of a gold ticket that was put back on sale about a month before the event. The extra money was definitely worth it!
This entitled me to a go to Warhammer World on the Friday and take part in a few extra activities, such as having dinner with the three main authors. The main part of this for me was the opportunity to have a twenty minute chat with an editor about a story you had submitted. So during the week before I put together a synopsis for the story that I have been working on and sent that off with a sample of the text. That’s when the nerves began to kick in. I had never done anything like this before. I had sent off stories, but never had any feedback let alone one to one in-person feedback. I was absolutely terrified that my writing would just be awful and that it would be an incredibly embarrassing experience. I got even more nervous as the day came and I sat in Bugman’s Bar awaiting my allotted time and that time actually passing.
As it turned out, it wasn’t a bad experience at all. Christian came up to me shortly after we were supposed to start and assured me that I would get all of my thirty minutes with him (which brilliantly was ten more minutes than we were expecting!) and that he was just busy trying to organise everyone else at that moment in time. I will still nervous, as anyone that knows me I’m a particularly shy and nervous person, but Christian was actually incredibly friendly and put me at ease. The chat we had about writing was great, my writing style was fine and he likened me to a couple of authors (which I can’t remember the names of now – doh!). Unfortunately though he didn’t want the story I had pitched to him, due to a few factual errors in the plot. But the best thing to come from this is that he invited me to pitch more stories to him in the future, whenever I wanted to. This is great as usually we have to wait for open submissions windows in order to submit story synopses and writing samples. They’re even actually getting rid of these now due to the huge interest for the last one (they had 3,000 submissions, which they are still sifting through). So the fact that we gold ticket holders now have an avenue in to the Black Library is one of the many reasons why the ticket was well worth the price. I also talked to him about getting involved in editing and hopefully I will be able to do some proofreading for them in the future. At the end of the chat he asked me what I had submitted before and from that he suggested to me a story that I might write for my next submission, so that was also helpful.
Something else that I did over the weekend was talk to people. As I’ve previously mentioned I’m a very shy person, but this weekend I decided that I would try my best to be sociable. One of the great things I took away form the weekend was meeting and chatting to fellow writers. Not only did I get a lot of advice, I know know some like-minded people that I can chat to in the future about writing. I’ve also made a couple of friends I think. Who knows we might appear published together in the future.
I spent a bit of time during signings asking each author I met and asked them their tips for aspiring authors. I also asked those I had met before how they went about planning their stories as I think that learning the process of writing is something that people often forget. One of the overall pieces of advice I seem to get from authors is to keep writing. The other thing I took away from the weekend was to just write; ‘writer’s write, authors finish’. I’ve got in to a nasty habit of editing as I go along, as one Gav Thorpe categorically told me ‘No!’ this is not the way to write. that is called overwriting and what I need to do instead is just switch off my internal editor and work towards my word count. Once you’ve got to that point you can go back and analyse what you’ve written and improve it, but you already have your story down. It’s very hard to do, you have to look back at where you left off the last writing session to carry on, but you can’t look at it and say ‘that sentence needs changing’ until you are done.
So this week I have written every day and I managed to finish a full first draft for the short story I submitted for the weekend. I decided that even though they didn’t want to publish the story it would be beneficial for me and my ‘journey’ as a writer to actually finish it. So now I have 9,400 words written, the most words I have ever written for fun. Now I can actually go back and edit it and improve sentences etcetera. I believe that I will also manage to get it to around the 10,000 words mark.
On the Saturday of the event I also started my first original story. I was sitting in the bar waiting for a couple of friends to come out of a talk and I had my iPad. So I decided to start writing for NaNoWriMo and to also try this method of ‘freewriting’ from scratch. I will let you know how that goes, it kinda got pushed to the sidelines by me finishing the other story.
As always, if you want to read the story I have finished, please get in touch and thanks for reading!