I learnt so much to help develop myself as a writer and took away a few valuable lessons for future Edge-Lit events.
Here are the Top 18 things I learnt at Edge-Lit 2018:
1. Writers and readers are incredibly lovely people. Even international bestsellers will gladly chat with you about Peppa Pig over a beer.
2. Adrian Walker taught me that publishers will sometimes approach self-published authors directly if those authors are doing well in the Amazon charts. He added that one of the best ways to top the charts is to write in a very niche category.
3. The workshop sign-up forms fill up quickly but not so quickly that I need to be there at 8am!
4. RJ Barker and Lee Harrison showed me how to invert Joseph Campbell’s archetypes by assigning the Hero role to the Shadow and re-casting the other archetypes accordingly. For instance, if Darth Vader is the Hero, then the Shadow is Luke Skywalker, the Mentor is Emperor Palpatine, and the Tricksters are Stormtroopers!
5. Anna Smith-Spark said these words of wisdom: “Fantasy is basically mythology fan fiction.”
6. Conn Iggulden said: “Writing stories is possibly the only thing more fun than reading them.”
7. Heide Goody said: “If anyone needs any spare spit then Iain Grant’s your man.”
8. Anna Stephens told me that Behind Her Eyes by Sarah Pinborough has a very shocking ending and deserves the hashtag #WTFthatending.
9. Anna Smith-Spark recommended buying two copies of the Writers’ and Artists’ Yearbook, printed a couple of years apart. You can then cross-reference to work out which are the newest agencies. Often the new agencies are more willing to accept submissions because they are still building their client base.
10. There is a Greggs around the corner.
11. Andy Remic advised that I should submit to three agents at a time, working my way through the Writers’ and Artists’ Yearbook. He also advised against writing a sequel because it is better to have another standalone novel to pitch instead, preferably in a different genre.
12. Heide Goody and Iain Grant taught me that all stories can be split into nine stages, as outlined by Blake Snyder in his screenwriting book Save The Cat. The absence of one of the stages can mean that your plot lacks pace or dramatic tension. They also put a box on my head.
13. A packed lunch is essential if attending a session every hour without a break.
14. Paul Tremblay recommended “patience and perseverance” for aspiring writers and not to be disheartened by fellow writers constantly posting their own successes on social media.
15. Nicholas Eames’ fantasy novel Kings of the Wyld won the David Gemmell Awards for best fantasy debut and best front cover, both well-deserved. My goal in life is to own an Owlbear Funko Pop.
16. The Edge-Lit raffle is an Experience.
17. The David Gemmell auction has some pretty nifty prizes. Bring money.
18. It will be a late night. In a good way.
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