Time ... for a Masterclass
Before the Times Masterclass on getting published with Ella Wakatama and Clare Conville, I'd decided it was the last writing course I would attend this year. In fact, I told my husband it was the last course I was ever going to attend.
I've had some fab advice, met great people and ate some amazing lunches at writing courses over the years. BUT I don't want to fall into the trap of constantly writing about writing; or get caught in the cycle of attending course after course.
I've been writing a business book this year and the difference in my approach has been stark. As a former journalist and PR, I'm comfortable writing facts, summarising interviews and providing examples. I'm confident in my research and know my voice.
All that certainty melts like ice when I turn to my fiction.
As a master prevaricator (blame my Libran indecisive tendencies if you're an astrology fan) I could spend year after year trying to hone not only my craft but my novel. It may end up making it better but it will also end up ensuring it languishes in a drawer forevermore. There's always another course; another edit; another beta reader...until you decide that there isn't.
In a touch of delicious serendipity or in the spirit of self-fulfilling prophecy, some of the main takeaways from Clare and Ella's fab masterclass were:
BE CONFIDENT IN YOUR DECISIONS
CREATE YOUR WORK
One attendee asked about the process of submitting the first three chapters. Namely, if those chapters weren't being successful, when would you rewrite them? It was clear Ella and Clare were bemused. How could you have such little faith in your work that you'd consider rewriting rather than ploughing ahead with sending your chapters to more agents until you found the one that did like them?
Likewise, a question about including more than one approach in a non-fiction proposal was met with the response that you, the writer, have to pick an approach. You're not providing a buffet.
Be decisive. Know what you are trying to say.
But that isn't an excuse to be self-indulgent. Faulkner's instruction remains fundamental - Kill your darlings.
Then fight for their pared-down offspring with integrity and belief. It's time to step into the fray.
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