Tuesday, 19 April 2011

Cambridge Wordfest: From Pitch to Publication

They looked just like that
We popped* up to Cambridge Wordfest to round off our uber-booky week with a 3 hour master-class presented by Julia Churchill and Leah Thaxton. During 'From Pitch to Publication with Your Children's Book' they dished out the hints and warnings whilst flaunting the covers of books some lucky...people have had published.

As it cost me money to attend this I'm not going to let you in on the secrets they revealed. Bye!

Oh ok then, I'll put a few of them here for you to steal. But if you get a book published I'd better appear in the acknowledgements.

Brain Dump from Julia Churchill

The Single Most Important Thing:

  1. Finish the book
  2. Leave it. (Like a fine wine or pair of dirty socks - my words not hers)
  3. Work on it again
There are 5 things she looks for (I think I got these right, my mind does wander...):
  • Concept -> Strong premise
  • character -> how do you create great characters? Get to know them.
  • Story  -> Plot makes characters interesting. Characters make plot interesting.
  • Setting -> If the walls could speak what would they say?
  • Voice -> Hard to explain, easy to spot.

Squeeze all the juice out of the best bits!

Brain Dump from Leah Thaxton

Find your voice, examples are Mr Gum, Andy Stanton (insane) and Warhorse, Michael Morpurgo (simple) .

It needs a good hook, examples:

  • Gone, every one over the age of 15 disappears and those left behind find themselves in a giant glass Centre Parcs type structure.
  • 0.4, the recordings made by an earlier model of human are found (I think that was it, it was a bit crazy. Mind wandered a little...).

If you get interest from a publisher, meet the editor and make sure you get along.

You know when you're successful as your editor will be scared to edit your manuscripts.

So there you go, some random points from the talk. I hope you find them useful. We also met SCWBI Ruth Fitzgerald. She stole my wallet.**

Cheers,

Mark

*I had a harrowing 2 hours drive; Lauren fell  asleep.
**Ok, that's a lie.