Tuesday, 14 April 2015

An Evening With Our Patron - 14th April,2015

On Monday 14th April, the group's patron, best-selling author, Tamara McKinley gave generously of her time, advice and experience in a talk entitled 'From Idea to Novel in 4 Months'. With wit, warmth and honesty she talked of the writing process in general with realistic reference to the world of publishing in particular. She showed us the cover of her own recently completed novel, 'Echoes From Afar', to inspire us. She then led us through her own process, starting with the fleshing out of characters, how to research setting and time, emphasising the need for real passion about the story to be told. She talked about her own joy in playing the 'What If' game, i.e. putting her characters in certain situations and seeing how they act, which for her is all-consuming. She then focused on structure, saying that every conversation and scene has to move the plot forward, with the conflict being established in the first line and hooks being distributed throughout to keep the reader engrossed. Tamara then suggested how to organise both the novel's chapters and our writing time and how to produce both a short and long synopsis. Finally, she gave us practical tips on editing and on how to present our work to publishers and agents. However, it has to be remembered that Tamara is herself 'a lot to live up to' as she is extremely prolific and also writes under the name of Ellie Dean and sometimes has more than one book and one writing persona on the go at the same time! We were all extremely grateful to her for taking time out of her incredibly busy writing schedule to come and spur us on.

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