In several of my previous posts, I have mentioned meeting one of my favourite authors. So how can this kind of event influence you as a writer? Let’s explore this shall we?
Now, I don’t want to brag, but due to some of the work I’ve done in the past I’ve had the chance to meet (and even work with) several people of varying degrees of fame. I’ll admit, sometimes I’m kinda cool and laconic about it, other times I get all girly and squealy and have to stop myself from saying something along the lines of ‘Oh my god! You’re *insert name of celebrity here*!’ and start gushing. Hey, it’s a curse. But meeting Michael Marshall was something different.
Now then, I’m sure anyone who is interested in reading (and writing for that matter) has been to a book event, or a signing, or some such like, and had the opportunity to listen to authors reading from their latest opus. At my local Waterstones, it seems like they have some local writer in every month doing book signings. But what differentiated my experience for me was that the two readings I went to, both lasted an hour, and it involved a significant question and answer session.
And it is not just a thrill but an inspiration to be able to ask questions, and indeed discuss, elements of the writing process with a writer who you admire, whose work you enjoy, and whom you may even emulate. It is probably a good thing I’ve never been to a Neal Asher reading, since I no doubt would just steal his idea’s outright.
Other side of the Fence
For me personally, it was a significant experience. I write in the same genre as Marshall (sort of) so it was very informative to hear him talk about the publishing process for him. Things I’d never even thought of. Breaking into the American market for example. Getting one of his books optioned for a film treatment, and the difficult endless process that is involved in getting a book from page to screen (Yes, we’re all still waiting for that Spares movie.)
But it also allowed me the chance to explore his own creative process (which I was surprised to discover was really close to my own. And a million other writers, I imagine) and how he edits and develops ideas. I’ll admit, I took notes. It was just that little boost that helped push me forward into that difficult third act I was writing at the time, and helped me to get my first book finished (the first draft anyway).
So yes, if you’re having problems, or your confidence is starting to wane, then I would recommend (if you have the opportunity of course) to go to a book reading, because I found it hugely inspirational.
I also got my copies of every one of his books personally signed. *cue girlish squealing*