Emma Burstall, who lives nearby came to talk about her new book Tremarnock, set in a Cornish seaside village. This is the first of a new series. I have to say I have never read any of Emma's books (I did look in my library for one but couldn't find any).
A crowd of six came together (so sad these things are not well supported) to hear Emma speak about her route to becoming a published author, her method of working and what she is currently doing (second draft of the next book!). She then read a short passage from Tremarnock and answered our questions. Of the six of us, two were men, one had written but said he wasn't writing at the moment, and one lady was contemplating writing a book. Emma happily answered my question about whether to pay for someone to do a professional read through of a manuscript. She advised trying agents first and see what feedback came (if any), then try a few more. If I had no luck she said it might be worth it. She was lucky and was picked up quite quickly.
Emma also answered a question on whether she used real people as characters and whether they recognised themselves. She said one woman was convinced a character was based on her....but it wasn't! We writers are not that stupid! I guess friends might think writers do that. We might take one thing from someone, but it gets mixed with other traits which come from others or are made up. And to be honest even the writer is in there somewhere!
Other questions included the choosing of words, dialogue, length of book, ideas and research.
I found the evening boosted me up and took away those negative feelings I've been having (too much time writing alone). These events are my lifeline and I was able to give some encouragement to the lady who was thinking about writing and wish her well. We all need these things, a few words of encouragement, either to get us going in the first place or to keep writing when the nagging doubts start to fester. A nice inspiring evening. Thanks Emma.