I’ve just returned from the Writers’ Holiday, held for the last time at Caerleon, near Newport, Wales. (Next year’s takes place at Fishguard - for more information visit here: http://www.writersholiday.net.)
These conferences and get togethers are always great fun, a good place to forge friendships, network, learn from others (and wear pink hair - but that’s another story!). Indeed, the overriding point of these events is the sharing of knowledge - everyone is willing to help everyone, sharing tips, news and techniques.
Because it was the last Writers’ Holiday at Caerleon, there’s been a bit of reminiscing going on, and over the years I’ve been fortunate to listen to talks, or go to workshops facilitated by writers like Katie Fforde, Freda Lightfoot, Simon Hall, Iris Gower, Della Galton, Lynne Hackles, Jane Wenham-Jones and Ray Allen (writer of the popular sitcom Some Mothers Do ‘Ave ‘Em).
So this week’s post is a look back at some of the snippets of advice I’ve heard whilst at Caerleon over the years …
Solange Hando, travel writer, said: “Start a travel piece with some action, or an anecdote. It gives the piece a human angle immediately and draws the reader in.”
Irene Yates, short story writer: “Don’t write in a writerly voice - find your own voice. Write in a way that feels natural to you. Don’t be tempted to use complicated grammar, or big words, if it’s not something that comes naturally to you.”
Gaynor Davies, editor of Woman’s Weekly Fiction Special magazine: “a story that makes you laugh, or cry, has done its job.”
Theresa Chris, literary agent: “Know when to move from amateur to professional. Many writers approach agents far too early.”
Lynne Hackles, short story writer: “Think of a short story as a piece of knicker elastic. It works best when it’s tight!”
And I think it would be appropriate if the last piece of advice came from novelist Trisha Ashley, who delivered the last speech at the last Caerleon Writers’ Holiday, where she said: “Writer’s block is a luxury. Get over it and get on with it [the writing].”