I've just remembered to tell you all about my Cheltenahm Literary Adventures! Here goes:
Sunday 11th of October 2009, I went to see Michelle Paver (author of the Chronicles Of Ancient Darkness) at the Cheltenham Literary Festival. By the way - you should ALL read those books. They make you want to run off to Finland and live in an elk-hide shelter and run around howling with wolves. [actually, I'm doing that. But more about that later.]
She was very, very good. She talked all about writing the books and all the cool travelling things she has done to research the books. Then we got to ask questions and I asked whether she had any advice for aspiring writers. When she answered she seemed very earnest and looked me in the face the whole time.
She told me:
1) To always keep a notebook with me
2) To always eat breakfast
3) To re-write. She showed me one of her manuscripts, and it was covered in adjustments.
4) To write what I like, not neccisarrily what I know.
It's really useful stuff that. Honestly, it's been very helpful. I always kept a notebook with me anyway, but the thing about re-writing has made me go bcak on loads of old stuff and be really ruthless.
And that thing about writing what I like?
It's so true.
Then, we queued to meet her and me and Amelia waited at the back so she would talk to us for longer. We waited about an hour and a half – because she spent a lot of time with everyone. She seemed so genuinely pleased to have us there. When we got to her, we both had our photo taken and then she said to me
“I’m so glad you waited, I wanted to talk to you a bit more about the writing.” And then she talked to me a little bit about structure, and said that although she thought I would already know it, the main structure of any story is...
A main character wants something, and there are obstacles along the way.
It’s true, you know.
And then she was talking to me a bit more, the she asked my name and I told her it was Charlotte ------. And she said
"Well, that’s a name I’ll remember; I expect to see you sitting here one day, signing books for people.”
It was sooooo exciting! She seemed so interested in everyone and what they had to say and asking them questions and answering there’s. She also said she liked my nail-varnish, which was my dark-purple winter-time fare.
Then, she wrote in my book:
With very best wishes, and good luck with your writing.
And then she stamped it with her cool wolf print stamp.
It was a very good day, and it really re-enforced my ambitions. It’s hard work, but I’ll do it.
Thankyou Michelle Paver.