Monday, 12 April 2010

There and back again...or a Day at York.

OK, so it's owning up time. My previous blog about crime thrillers was a test, to see how it would go down, and I'm pleased to see that it was received well.

The reason for posting it was that yesterday I was attending the Festival Of Writing at York University and that was the basis for the talk I was going to deliver (or should I say did deliver as I am now writing in retrospect).

I only wish that I'd spent more time at the festival which ran all weekend, instead of just the few hours I did yesterday. It looks like I missed a host of excellent events. Nevertheless, I could see from the short time I was there that there was a truly remarkable line-up of  both aspiring and published authors, plus agents and publishers. I was one of the last people to arrive, so didn't get the full benefit of the festival, but from what I seen, and overheard from the attendees, was that it was brilliant and smoothly run and organised.

I gave my talk. It was a new one for me, as it was different from other events where the author talks about themselves and their work. This time I was attempting to teach something useful to a large group of attentive and informed individuals. It was better than I expected and happily only sent one of the gathered crowd to sleep (really). There was more than twentyfive people packed into my room, and some great questions, answers and debate got going. The hour I was allocated flew in.

In my opinion, if any of the attendees only went to one event, (no, not mine) I must plumb for the key-note speech given by Roger Ellory to close the event. To say it was inspirational is a huge understatement and reinforces my belief that Roger is a massively talented author and generous and giving human being. His book A Quiet belief In Angels is fabulous and my favourite read of last year.

If you are an aspiring author, try to put the Festival of Writing into your calender of 'must do' events for next year.


Col Bury said...

Sounds like a great event, Matt, and one I'll try to get to at some point in the future.
I'm glad your first 'teaching session' went well and you only sent one fella to sleep! :)

David Barber said...

Oooh, did I nod off? ;-)

Sounds like it went very well for you Matt. I'll be looking at A Quiet Belief In Angels. (Always looking for great books to read and learn from)

A festival I will make a point of getting to next year maybe (Col we could meet up).

Regards, David.

Julie Cohen said...

Matt, I was in your talk (I was sitting near to the sleeping guy, and I was the one who asked about continuity over five, and now seven books). It was the only workshop I got to over the weekend, as I arrived on Saturday afternoon and was giving workshops myself, and I was glad I did.

I thought you were a fantastic speaker—warm and knowledgeable and honest and interesting. Your genre of writing is pretty much the polar opposite of mine, and I wish I'd had more time to pick your brains.

Thank you, I really appreciated it.


Matt Hilton said...

Hi Col and David,
yep, I'd recommend the festival for any aspiring author. The wealth of talent from all facets of the industry really was amazing.

Hi Julie,
yes, I remember you and your question (often I come away from these events having gone through them with some kind of blinkers on and can't recall much afterwards). I hope I answered your question satisfactorily. Did I detect a slight American accent? If so, I hope you weren't offended by any of my mentions of the differences of publishing my books in the US - I was only trying to highlight the differences for those intending to write for an international market. ;-)

Glaznost said...

Sounds really interesting, i might have to come along next year. If nothing else, just so that Col can have a pair of shoulders to sit on. David can't be made to do all the work...

Julie Cohen said...

Hi Matt,

Yes, I'm American, but no offense taken! I write for the UK market at the moment and I'm well aware that there are huge differences. At least, I know there are in women's fiction/romance and it was interesting to discover how this is true in the thriller market too.

You did answer my question about continuity, thank you, and I was very impressed by how it seems to work out for you so well without masses of notes or a massive series bible, etc. I've written (standalone) books with linked characters and settings, and since I never plan to do it in advance and since I'm a bad plotter at the best of times, I've had nightmares when I've thrown in a random fact in book 1 published two years ago, which absolutely will NOT work in book 6 set in the same place, and now it's too late to take it back! You are obviously much more thorough and logical and I am very envious.

I was also really interested how you mentioned a character's "weakness" being something like a love of family or caring for innocence, because in women's fiction where the struggles are of quite a different sort, we'd tend to call something like that a strength.

Little glimpses of perspective like this are some of the best things about learning how other writers work. Thank you!

Julie x