Monday, 17 October 2011

True love and inspiration

On Saturday night, the women of the Ciren Writers Group - joined most thrillingly and unexpectedly by the lovely Katie Fforde - headed out for a spot of dinner and the True Love session at the Cheltenham Literature Festival. The session featured Jill Mansell, Adele Parks and Penny Vincenzi in a panel interview. Jill Mansell was the key attraction for me when I booked - I think she nails perfectly the funny end of women's fiction - but I'm now also keen to try some Adele Parks as she was simply charming on the stage.

The session was full of interesting anecdotes and pieces of advice from three very successful novelists. Rather than summarise the whole thing, I thought I'd just put down the bits that are sticking in my memory now...

Jill Mansell's hand-written manscripts are typed up by her daughter (formerly her mother), so there is no, um, you know, in her books. I'd never noticed so they clearly don't suffer from the lack of them.

For Adele Parks, true love is all about forgiveness for the daily little things. I couldn't agree more with this. Sometimes I'm utterly horrid to my husband and he's still here, being supportive and generally wonderful. Similarly, I stick around, even though he always leaves the makings of his after work snack on the kitchen bench...

Penny Vincenzi's suggestion for writing ensemble novels is to construct a list of names of the characters and place a tick next to them when they're mentioned. In this way, you can see when you're forgetting someone. I haven't tried an ensemble approach, but it seemed like a useful tip.

Thanks to these women and the encouragement of the writing group, I came home and spent my baby's nap time on Sunday working on my main character for my new novel.