World Fantasy Convention ~ Day 2 – In Which Terry Pratchett is awesome, and I meet my hero!
Being someone who has chronic fatigue, the plan to leave the house at just gone eight and then return just gone midnight was slightly daunting. But that is the thing with this convention, you run off adrenaline! Meetking some amazing authors and publishers yesterday was such an eyeopener to me as a writer, and an avid reader. I began to understand slightly more of the business side of writing, including agents, editors and publishers, and also attended some brilliant panels by some absolutely fantastic authors who made me realise that whilst their is a business side to writing, there is something that is getting ignored by writers in their desire to be published and make money. It is simple when you think of it, but it is sadly overshadowed, and this weekend really gave me the boost to finish my novel, not to publish, but so that I can tell my characters stories. It was such a liberating feeling, and in some ways lowered the pressure that builds up regarding getting published traditionally versus indie, and then how much profit you make from sales.
It was the most heartbreaking panel with Sir Terry Pratchett was interviewed that gave me this stark reminder. Sir Terry is such an inspiration to me and that he is battling a devastating illness and still continues to write makes him a hero. During the question and answer session, he was a man of few words yet he still drew in the biggest crowd for a panel since the start of the convention. What really struck me was the answer he gave to one question where he explained why he celebrated finishing one book by starting a new one. He explained that he wrote the story because their were more stories from that world to tell. And that ladies and gentleman was the defining moment where I suddenly realised that that was the part of the writer I had lost in the mass of information on getting published. I had been writing to sell, not to tell the story of the characters that I love and admire so much. I need to be faithful to myself and my characters, and I was close to tears as Sir Terry reminded me of this in one short sentence.
Moving on from that amazing experience, I also met some other great people. It’s lovely to see how supportive published authors are of aspiring novelists. Everyone is always willing to give their story, to explain how they overcane their struggles with finishing a novel to a standard that, more importantly than the publishers, the author themselves feels proud of and connected to. The lovely author Juliet Marillier who wrote the Sevenwaters Trilogy, a book based on ancient celtic themes, really expressed her love of strong heroines and strong characters who make the best in their life without the hope of a happily ever after that we get in the disney fairytales.
And then…well what can I say? I met the author of a little known book called ‘Stardust’. You probably haven’t heard of it (That was sarcasm if you didn’t get that). Yes, I met the wonderful, the fantastic, the inspirational, the magical Neil Gaiman. And yes, his hair is just as awesome in real life as it is in the pictures so be super jealous.