Festival of Writing 2017

Sat, Jul 8 2017 01:52pm IST 1
Philippa
Philippa
1496 Posts
Hi Sparepen,

good question, and thanks for the reminder about booking a train!

I think I arrived at about 2.00pm last time? It's nice to have time to wander round, get settled into your room and say hello to a few people before the evening dinner etc.
Sat, Jul 8 2017 05:06pm IST 2
Sparepen
Sparepen
123 Posts
Hi Philippa,

Thanks for getting back to me. I think I'll aim for that time then, give myself time to get my bearing, and maybe chat to others. I just didn't want to be there way too early and be the only one there!

Thanks again :)
Sat, Jul 8 2017 07:19pm IST 3
Philippa
Philippa
1496 Posts
The campus is quite pretty so even if you arrive first, there's a nice place to chill in (and ducks). I think nearer the time we might get a more detailed programme which says what time registration opens etc., but I think arriving mid afternoon will be fine

See you there!
Sat, Jul 8 2017 07:59pm IST 4
Julie C
Julie C
168 Posts
Hi Sparepen,
I'm struggling to remember the exact time you can get the keys to your room, but I'm pretty sure it's after 3 pm or even later. I did a mini course last year and couldn't get the key or register before it started at 2 pm, and when we finished at 4 pm, people were queuing to register. There are bound to be others sitting in the general meeting areas. If it's fine, it's lovely to walk around the lake.

This is a wonderful event - I'm sure you'll love it. Hope to catch you at some point!
Julie


Sun, Jul 9 2017 07:14pm IST 5
Thea
Thea
264 Posts
Hi, I haven't been to the FoW before and am really looking forward to meeting you all there.

I see we have to provide a synopsis (groan). From my understanding of the instructions, this is to be a one-page document, but I can't find a suggested wordcount. I already have a synopsis of around 500 words, but if I present that as a double-spaced document it won't fit on one page! Should I cut it right down - not easy as it's quite a long book - or do you think it will be okay as it is? Any thoughts, please...

Sun, Jul 9 2017 08:21pm IST 6
Philippa
Philippa
1496 Posts
Hi Thea,

I think 500 words is fine. That's one page (single spaced). Even if you double space it (so it's 2 pages) I think it'll still be fine. They basically just want the synopsis to be brief.

Groan. Now I have to go and sort out mine!
Sun, Jul 9 2017 08:22pm IST 7
Philippa
Philippa
1496 Posts
Nb we didn't have to do a synopsis last year, so I don't know if there's a precedent here.
Sun, Jul 9 2017 09:23pm IST 8
Julie C
Julie C
168 Posts
I welcome the change to include a synopsis, as last year in one of the genre panels, there seemed to be some misunderstanding by some of the agents as to what we'd been asked to provide, and some were expecting a synopsis and thought it was the writers' fault they hadn't sent one in.

I let the team know about it, so it may be that this is their solution. Sorry to those of you that now hate me! But it's all good practice, isn't it? Personally I'd much rather write a synopsis than an elevator pitch!
Sun, Jul 9 2017 10:58pm IST 9
Thea
Thea
264 Posts
Hi Philippa, phew! thanks very much for that, I shall just freshen up the synopsis I already have.

Hi Julie, yes, I agree, it's all good practice. I think I'd rather write an elevator pitch than a synopsis though!
Tue, Jul 11 2017 03:01pm IST 10
Joyful
Joyful
47 Posts
Hooray!! I had a feeling I wouldn't be going to F of W alone! So thrilled some of our computer would-be authors will be there. Even if we don't meet up I wish you all HUGE success and hope you all enjoy it. Joyful
Tue, Jul 11 2017 10:51pm IST 11
Debi
Debi
7114 Posts
Don't shout at me but I've been saying for ages that we would be able to give far more useful feedback if we asked for a synopsis. Actually, you can shout at me if you like, but I stand by it. It's an incredibly useful document for you, as well as for us. We can see the shape of the full story and it helps us to grasp the concept, as well hone in on any alarm bells. As those of you who have done the self-edit course know, the tighter the word count, the more you'll be forced to identify the pivotal events. I'd say a maximum of 500 words and ideally closer to 300.
Wed, Jul 12 2017 08:26am IST 12
Philippa
Philippa
1496 Posts
Hi Debi

That's really helpful. 300 words, here we go....

In future can we also submit a cover letter? The agents I saw last year seemed a bit confused by my "one page intro". As you say, good practice...


Wed, Jul 12 2017 12:47pm IST 13
Thea
Thea
264 Posts
Hi Debi,

Thanks for clarifying that Smile
Wed, Jul 12 2017 02:11pm IST 14
Gerry
Gerry
336 Posts
Re cover letter and Philippa's query, here's what the FOW site says: We're after: a one page intro (a paragraph or so about your manuscript, and a line or two about you) . That sounds to me like a cover letter (minus the top and tail). Am I wrong?
Wed, Jul 12 2017 03:40pm IST 15
Debi
Debi
7114 Posts
Yep - extended elevator pitch, including USP, plus anything that qualifies you to write this story.
Wed, Jul 12 2017 06:03pm IST 16
Philippa
Philippa
1496 Posts
can we sneak in something about why we picked that specific agent? :)
Wed, Jul 12 2017 06:43pm IST 17
Hil
Hil
1009 Posts
I did, Philippa, and it seemed to bring a good response. This obviously meant not sending exactly the same letter for every one-to-one, even if the chapter was the same one.
Thu, Jul 13 2017 08:59am IST 18
Philippa
Philippa
1496 Posts
Yes. And certainly not sending the wrong version to the wrong agent! Imagine. "I picked you because I thought you were someone else". *shudder*. Looking forward to seeing you and hearing how your novel is coming along...
Thu, Jul 13 2017 06:12pm IST 19
Athelstone
Athelstone
1412 Posts
A synopsis kind of presupposes 1) a novel - as opposed to, say, a collection of short stories 2) a novel sufficiently complete, or, a pre-planned way of writing such that a synopsis is possible. Presumably things are sufficiently flexible that a synopsis is not mandatory if neither of these apply?
Thu, Jul 13 2017 06:13pm IST 20
Hil
Hil
1009 Posts
Thanks, Philippa - I would look forward to seeing you, too, but I'm not going this year. Might spend the money on a critique and might go again next year. Have a great time, though.
Thu, Jul 13 2017 07:46pm IST 21
Athelstone
Athelstone
1412 Posts
a) I absolutely MUST try and meet more Cloudies this year. Perhaps I'll take a list!
b) I've contacted the WW regarding the synopsis thing in my last post (it also occurred to me that many non-fiction writers would be hard-pressed to produce a synopsis) and I'll post the response here.
Thu, Jul 13 2017 08:12pm IST 22
J.net
J.net
571 Posts
Some really helpful advice here. And thanks, Debi on the advice regarding the size of the synopsis. Saves me calling WW.

Fri, Jul 14 2017 10:15am IST 23
Athelstone
Athelstone
1412 Posts
The WW got back to me regarding circumstances where a 'standard' synopsis might not be appropriate:

'If you are submitting a short story collection then you may want to provide an outline of the themes that tie the work together or how you see it working as a collection. A novel even at an early stage should have a planned trajectory, so in most cases you would provide a plan of your story arc , showing clearly how you intend the story and the characters to develop.
With non-fiction work it is normal to produce a 'book proposal', we have some great advice on our website here about creating one of these.'
Fri, Jul 14 2017 08:05pm IST 24
Tom
Tom
2 Posts
I am wondering whether to do York or a retreat this year...can't afford to do both. What d'you reckon?

Do FoW Squidge. The buzz will carry you further.

Tue, Jul 18 2017 11:12am IST 25
Lulu
Lulu
13 Posts
Starting to panic slightly, because there is no way around it, my WIP will not be finished in time for my one to ones at the FOW. I do have material to show and because my work is a memoir, I know how the story goes, so am able to create a reasonable synopsis to accompany the chapters I can send. But, am I going to be laughed out of the room because it's not finished? And, should I make it clear beforehand that it's not finished? I have only been writing for a few months and don't expect to get any more out of my 1 to 1 than to find out if my work is a) entertaining and/or b) sellable. So I figured it better to produce something albeit unfinished, than nothing, or am I being ridiculously naive?!

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