Saturday, May 14, 2011

Wordy Day Out

Went to the Wordy Day Out at the Auckland Readers and Writers Festival yesterday. Started off though by missing Cassandra Clare and Brian Falkner to go hear four overseas editors from large publishing houses talk about the state of publishing. They were nice people saying positive things but there weren't any great revelations and I feel that my internet meanderings and fb gossip trading are keeping me very well informed.

Then my wordy bff Tania and I hoofed it up to Auckland University in time to hear Garth Nix and Sean Williams do a double act on their coauthored series TroubleTwisters, followed by Meg Rosoff and Margo Lanagan talk on their novel novels and then Paula Morris on Ruined and Dark Souls. I reluctantly passed up Mandy Hagar and Bernard Beckett, Karen Healey and David Hair to attend the others which just shows the quality of the Festival's programme. The cost of all this was very reasonable as well. And what did I learn from the speakers? Despite all the doom and gloom, the naysaying and the mystical prognostications (man that was fun to write) from the media, the fundamentals haven't changed. My favourite speaker so far is still Lionel Shriver from last year who didn't teach me something new about writing or getting published but who did say something very intelligent about how we deal with cancer. I still remember it and it has changed my thinking on the subject. I enjoyed the talks this year but now they confirm rather than alter my thinking. They don't inspire me so much as steel my resolve to continue. There were plenty of familiar faces in the audience and I was surprised to see a number of NZ children's publishers from Random, Penguin and Gecko there as well. Things the authors said that stuck in my mind? Garth Nix's comment that books were his mentors when he started out (just like me). Meg Rosoff's comment that she doesn't plan her stories very much before she starts (just like me) and Paula Morris's advice on character development in which you run through a questionnaire (boxers or briefs? showers or baths? etc...) with your characters to get to know them better (may have to borrow this in future). Will I go next year? You betcha! There is nothing better than mingling with other writers. It is a happy place :)

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