Julie's Quest

Hello, and welcome to my blog. My blog is about the trials and tribulations of writing, where we celebrate successes and commiserate our near misses. We tell it like it is here and will do our very best to help you on the road to being published and pick you up after the rejections (they will come!) Whether you are a professional or amateur writer you will find something useful here.

I hope you enjoy reading my posts and will visit again soon.

Happy Writing

Julie Phillips - freelance writer - member of the Association of Freelance Writers - member of the Society of Authors

Sunday, 11 April 2010

Wenlock Poetry Festival: day 2

Much better day today, I'm pleased to report. But then I didn't go to anything designed for adults! It's funny that I should find the children's poetry events more engaging and entertaining than the adult ones! Isobel had a wonderful time as did her dad and I.

First up was Wes Magee, a retired former teacher. He was hilarious and the kids loved him. He's written so many books for children throughout his career and it was a little girl in his class who started him off on his writer's journey. His poems were such fun and he had us all doing the actions and reciting the poems with him - fantastic!

The second author and poet was Polly Peters. She was so dynamic and slightly eccentric but utterly charming and obvuiously adored children and writing. It was such a shame that there were only four or five children there - I felt embarrassed and uncomfortable for her! But she was a true professional and carried on taking us through the journey of a couple of her books.

The first, It's Raining! It's Pouring! We're Exlporing! was great and we had to take our imaginations out of our heads via the letterbox that was situated on our foreheads and we had to hold it up to the light and take out our polishing cloths and give it a good polish. There were some extra sticky bits so we had to do the eeeh eehh eeehh eehh sound effects of glass being rubbed (oh the adults had to do it as well!) It was fab!

Her other books were great too and Isobel and the other kids made a special bag  -  The Ding-Dong Bag  -  to collect noises in, in honour of her book of the same name. Also she read some of one of her other books Wim Wom in the Mustard Mill  -  it was ingenious! It came from what her mum and grandmother used to say to her when she was a little girl. "Put that away now, Polly, or the Wim Wom will get it!" She never found out what a Wim Wom was but she told us  it's whatever you think a Wim Wom looks like!

Both authors seemed a little disappointed with the illustrations in their books for different reasons. Wes just didn't like some of them in his books, while Polly was annoyed that the publisher had included a picture of a Wim Wom in her book! She'd told them not to as it was up to the child's imagination but they put it in anyway!

Wes answered some interesting questions from the adults (spot the budding writers in the audience!) One interesting one was about does writing poems, stories  (for children) get any easier. He laughed at that one and said no! He also said that since JK Rowling came on the scene everyone seems to be trying to write a children's book and think that they will earn millions. This, he assured us, is not the case - most writers earn very little, if anything at all. We knew that already didn't we!

Polly and her husband are both writers and do embark on joint ventures. He bills himself as the tallest digeredoo player in the world (he's 6 ft 8 and a half inches tall!) His talk followed on from Polly's but I hadn't realised so hadn't got a ticket. We could have stayed but Isobel had been so good for two hours in the hall that I thought it best not to tempt fate! So we left and went for lunch and then on to the park.

I bumped into one of my Wrekin Writer friends twice! Once as I was about to go into Wenlock Books and the second time as I was on my way up Windmill Hill (Sources tell me that it was a windmill in the 17th Century, or something like that, after I said I didn't think it had been!) where she had got herself slightly lost on the way to the school for another poetry event.  She'd been to a poetry workshop about shoes and sounds like she had a much better time than I did yesterday!

It was interesting, from my point of view, to watch these authors and see how they were with the children: how they engaged them, how they structured the session etc. As someone who has almost finished the first draft of my first novel, I'm keen to see how other published authors meet and greet their potential customers and readers. I know I am way off that stage, but they really inspired me to get down to it and write the stories and get them out there  - they did and they had to start somewhere.

I may never get any of my novels/stories published but I won't know unless I try. I am under no illusion that it is going to be an easy ride  -  but I like a challenge and going off road suits me fine! I bought one book from each author and will be having a good hard look at them and others I got from the library, to see if I can't knock my story ideas into shape.

There's still one week left of the Easter hols and I'm going to take full advantage of it to get my novel finished and get two more short stories out there. I hope you make good use of your available writing time too. I know I've wasted a lot of writing opportunities but not anymore! I need more hours in the day, I really do. But then don't we all!

Happy writing and reading!

Julie xx


Diane Perry said...

Glad that you had a much better time, I wish I had gone to some of these events now, you have fired my interest and will put it in my diary for next year.

Julie P said...

Yes, the children's events were excellent - it's just a shame they weren't better attended by more children really as they would have enjoyed them.

Nicola, who I bumped into yesterday, said she'd enjoyed the sessions she went to, so I think I'll just have to choose more carefully nexy year. Why don't the poets amongst Wrekin Writers approach Anna Dreda and do something at next years poetry festival? It would be an ideal opportunity I think.

Or maybe we should start our own Wrekin Writer literary festival?! Just a thought!