THIS illuminating workshop gave a rapt audience the chance to hear at first hand the experiences of two published authors, Claire McGowan and Tasmina Perry.
Judging by the number of notebooks and poised pens in evidence, most of the audience were aspiring authors eager for any tips Claire and Tasmina could pass on.
Writer Cesca Major led the workshop well, preventing individual audience members from dominating the question and answer session and enabling a wide range of topics to be covered.
The three writers discussed the pros and cons of self-publishing versus traditional publishing, how to use social media effectively, what you can gain from taking a writing course and how to cope with failure.
They gave a lot of useful tips — such as finding out who an agent’s assistant is, because that’s who will read your book first and decide whether the agent even looks at it.
It was fascinating to see how different the writing methods of the two authors were.
Tasmina Perry spends weeks researching and plotting before she begins to write, while Claire McGowan writes more organically — “telling herself a story” first, then filling in the gaps and checking the facts later.
Their roads to publication were also very different — Claire attracted the interest of agents when she came second in a writing competition and Tasmina moved from journalism to novel-writing — showing that there is no magic answer to the question of how to get published.
Claire and Tasmina’s advice was to find an idea that sets you alight and don’t give up.
It was an enjoyable workshop which hopefully will have helped the aspiring writers in the audience become published authors themselves one day.