Although I say it myself, my Day for Journalists and Nonfiction Writers at the Writers House in London last Tuesday 27 April, turned out to be informative and helpful for all. One of the items under discussion was Interviewing for Journalists, which is an extremely useful skill for any writer to acquire. It is the best primary source of first-hand information, and by preparing for an interview it helps the writer to focus on the job in hand and think of all aspects of the subject. It is also one of the delights of writing because writing can be a lonely business, but interviewing brings the writer directly into contact with people. Each delegate was asked to interview the neighbouring person for five minutes and then introduce the neighbour to the rest of the group. Although no one had prepared for this session, it worked very well and it was surprising how much information could be gleaned in just five minutes. Other subjects covered during the session were preparing to write a feature (the process of development), preplanning and setting up the interview, venue, interviewing techniques, problems one may encounter, ending the interview and writing it up. The second main discussion point of the day was how to write a Nonfiction book proposal, which more and more publishers are asking for these days. We discussed the purpose of a book proposal, points to think about before approaching a publisher, thinking about your target reader and a tick list to help with your book proposal. Other subjects under discussion were some general tips for nonfiction writers, a saleable knowledge probe where writers were encouraged to look at themselves - what makes them tick, their likes and dislikes, favourite subjects, hobbies, etc - for inspiration for ideas, the general state of markets today, and fees. The feedback from the session was good with plenty of ideas for the next day, which will be held in October.
As we move into May I have a busy month ahead of me - what's new I hear you ask! In the background I am working on the final edit of an update of The Story of Gower and sorting out the photographs, which has to be with my publisher by 30 May. A the same time I am gathering material for Shipwrecks along the South Coast, which has a deadline of 30 November, and I shall look forward to exploring the south coast in the summer months. On the 4 May I will be talking to Chichester Writers Circle about their entries for a short story competition (modern fairy tale) and announcing the winners, and giving some general tips for writing short stories, which I am looking forward to. It is always enjoyable to visit Writers' Circles and chat to fellow writers about their projects. Thursday 6 May is the South East Regional lunch for the SWWJ at The Birch Hotel in Haywards Heath. It is good to have a day away from the desk, and I am looking forward to chatting to fellow writers and listening to our surprise guest speaker. 14 May sees me in Surrey talking to Sutton Writers Circle on the subject of Writing and Placing Articles, which I know I shall enjoy very much., although the markets for articles seem to be dwindling by the week. The following day, 15 May, is the second session of my course on Secret Worthing run by Chris Hare, a local prolific author. This session is on the Great and The Good of the Town - Town Officials, Councillors and Aldermen, and I know I am in for a treat.