Reviews and comment from the Demon Crew - creative writers at De Montfort University, Leicester.

Thursday, 3 March 2016

"I lost my laptop ... and 30,000 words"

The sun was shining and I had a good feeling about the event for aspiring novelists. I wanted to know how authors went through the process of publication and Niki Valentine (who is also Nicola Monaghan) and Rod Duncan were there to share their experience with us.

 Each had a different way into publication. Nicola had the opportunity to submit her dissertation to her tutor's agent (although she did lie about her word count!), which meant that she was already represented by a literary agent as she finished her M.A. Rod on the other hand, wrote five novels without being published. It's a scary number but he said it wasn't a waste of time - and it certainly worked out in the end.

When Nicola was 40000 words into her second novel, she left her laptop in a taxi. She had backed up her manuscript once, but had written 30,000 words since then. 75% of her work was gone and she wasn't worried. For her it meant she could rewrite, learning from the work she had already done and aiming to improve. The thought of 30000 words just gone is horrifying for the author of this post.

 Most of the questions from the audience revolved around how to write and how to edit. Nicola and Rod talked about their methods, which were very different, Nicola had a fixed ending whilst Rod started with the skeleton of the story and fleshed it out. The one thing they did agree on though is that each writer has their own way of writing.

In my opinion, the most important thing that was said was to just keep writing, keep developing and to remember that even a rejection helps you learn what you need to improve. It was definitely a brilliant talk by two (or three) amazing authors.
The Custodian of Marvels
by Rod Duncan
The Killing Jar
by Nicola Monaghan

Andre Cowen

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