Thursday, 22 November 2012

The Picador Notebook Session 20/11/12

I was lucky enough to gain one of 12 places on the first Picador Notebook Session this Tuesday evening and I thought I would review this excellent event for my followers.  The Notebook Session was a 2 hour introduction to creative writing led by former literary editor Suzi Feay and Picador Editor Francesca Main.  This session was for everyone, whether they had never written before, were trying to find their voice or wanting to know where to begin and it was an opportunity to meet like-minded people and gain expert advice and guidance.  It was held at PanMacmillan Publishing House in Kings Cross, London from 5-7pm.  The team kindly provided pens, notepads and a goody bag full of books, and all we had to do was come with an open mind and a smidge of creativity.

After Suzi, Francesca and Sandra Taylor introduced themselves, we started with a question and answer session where we all revealed what we thought stopped us from writing.  There were various reasons from the 12 attendees, but time, our own inner critic and social networking seemed very popular.  We then wrote for a short time about whatever came into our heads.

Suzi then told us that Julia Cameron, creative writing guru, recommends that we should write for half an hour and Edward St Aubyn advises we make a friend of our inner critic.  Then she circulated a sheet of paper with questions like:

5 names you like, 3 Places you know well, Jobs you have done, your fears and a time in your life when you were un/happy.
We then had to write three plots using selected sections of information from the sheet.  Following this, we had to pick one of the plots, take it and develop it by adding conflict and confrontation and giving the chosen character an emotional journey.

Suzi then circulated another sheet that had ten first lines from Picador novels.  We had to write the next line for all of them.  After this exercise, Suzi revealed where the first lines were from.  They were from several novels such as Claire Messud's The Last Life, Leanne Hern's Across the Nightingale Floor and poets like Brian Collins.

Suzi recommended an exercise at our own peril - write your own autobiography without emotions, just fact and tap the energy from the early years.  She also suggested writing our first drafts by hand as it is how you see the archaelogy of your writing and, as Tony Harrison said, if you can't read it, sometimes you come up with better words.

In the Q&A section, Francesca revealed that books that are chosen from agents, are ones that they love and think they can sell.

After the attendees filled in a review sheet with our contact details, the event finished with a networking session.
I thoroughly enjoyed this stimulating and informative session and it was great to meet the lovely ladies from Picador and my fellow aspiring writers..  I am hoping that more events will be to follow and I can highly recommend attending them.


No comments:

Post a Comment