Well I signed up for this several months ago and now it's less than a week away.I'm nervous, and excited, too. The Writers' Workshop is organising the popular writing festival in York, and this is my first time as a participant. Judging by the video of last year's festival on the campus at York University, it's a well attended affair, full of bright eyed, busily scribbling attendees, competent, attractive writers sharing their art, and jolly organisers running around making everything run smooth as silk.
So what am I doing this year? Well, as well as helping aspiring writers, hopefully, I'll be doing what most of us, if we're honest, like doing best. Talking about ourselves. It's not just that, though. It's talking to people who all want the same thing. To write. And understanding each other's language.
As well as brief one to one tutorials with eight different writers, all of whom have submitted high quality manuscripts on all genres from erotica through mystery and crime to sci-fi, I am giving two hour-long workshops. One on erotica, which should be a laugh. I've gathered from other workshop-devotees that what people most want to do at these conferences is write, write, and write some more, and then be brave enough to offer up their attempts to the others in the group. So I've had fun thinking up some exercises for everyone to indulge in and I've called my workshop 'Behind Closed Doors.' I've also asked everyone to leave their inhibitions at the door, because we want to write some red hot snippets!
The other workshop is on short stories, and is entitled 'In a nutshell.' My erotic career began with short stories, and they are therefore my first love. But short stories are overlooked in this country. You won't get a short story published unless you're already a best selling author. I tried to get an agent to take my volume of short stories under my real name called 'Stabbing the Rain' which I had self published on Amazon, but that was what he told me (Watch out, though, mate - I know you're going to be at the festival so I intend to thrust a copy of my stories under your nose!).
But I don't want to discourage anyone from trying it, even if only as a fantastic exercise before expanding into a novella or novel. So first we will be trying our hand at summing up an entire scenario in a few short words to begin with, then fanning them out into something small, but perfectly formed.
We will all have our name badges on, and be milling about, endlessly socialising, and in between gulps of coffee we'll be signing our books, too. The Silver Chain will be in evidence, and some other past Primula Bond works, and in my suitcase I will be trundling up through the country carrying copies of my self published short story collection, too.
Next time I will report back on how it all went! Meanwhile, here is a symbolic lantern of learning!