Monday, 11 May 2009

Ideas needed urgently



A huge THANK YOU to everyone who's commented here so far with suggestions about what I can include in my Author Talks. As I've said before, Cut Short is a real team effort. Thank you again - and please don't stop.


Fellow bloggers, I need your help. Anyone planning to come along to any of the Author Talks I'm giving (schedule on post of 9th April) PLEASE LOOK AWAY NOW.


With my characteristic dash (dashing ahead without thinking, that is) I've agreed to give a number of Author Talks. I can happily ramble on in writing (as you well know if you follow my blog) but I'm not sure how I'll perform talking to an audience. To be honest, I find the idea rather daunting. (I have to talk for - how long? I've no idea! - about - what? . . .)


This is where you come in, my support network of brilliant blogbuddies.


If you have any ideas or suggestions about what you might want to hear an author talk about, were you to attend an Author Talk, please share your thoughts with me. I have quite a few ideas, but I also have a vague fear hovering in the dark recesses of my mind that I might run out of things to say and stand in front of my audience opening and closing my mouth like a gigantic fish . . .


CUT SHORT is available -

JUNE www.noexit.co.uk Virtual Book Launch starts here in June

JULY amazon.co.uk

AUGUST amazon.com

40 comments:

Beth said...

I always want to hear what inspired a story - and what the author's work habits are like. (That's inspiring, too...)

Leigh Russell said...

That's great, Beth. I can certainly talk about what started me off, and my rather peculiar initial inspiration.

My work habits have changed - but would that really be at all intersting to hear about, do you think? I don't have a revolving shed like George Bernard Shaw, or anything unusual or exciting like that.

Leigh Russell said...

I really must start checking my comments before I post them. intersting indeed!

Don't worry, I've made my (not at all funny) joke too many times about needing a proofreader to repeat it again. I won't even mention how lucky it is that my book had profesional proof readers to check it. That reminds me of an anecdote I could tell during my author talk...)

Leigh Russell said...

And I missed out an opening bracket on that last comment. For goodness sake! (I try not to swear here. It's very hard sometimes.) ... (pause while Leigh checks this comment really carefully)

Aggie said...

A set of typing/writing bloopers (as per your past few comments - but for your book) might go down well? Saying them out loud can make people visualise things most ridiculous/humerous sometimes.
eg. "His eyes followed her walking across the floor" - I can see a pair of eyes, complete with legs, following.
I guess it depends on how many boo boos you make that you remember.

Leigh Russell said...

Plenty of boo boos, Aggie! Good tip. I had one in mind but will try to remember some more. In future, I think I'll keep a record of them for talks.

Elizabeth Platt said...

I love hearing about how an author got started, what got them into writing and how they managed to get published. And I agree with Beth, the writing habits are always interesting. Maybe something about music, if you use any, and about characters - what inspires your character designs, that kinda thing.

Leigh Russell said...

Lots to think about there, Elizabeth. Thank you.

I never listen to music when I'm writing. I find it distracting. Curiously, I sometimes don't mind talking on the radio, or in a cafe, station, or other public place, but I couldn't write if someone's talking to me. Isaac Asimov found the noise and energy of busy public places energising and I do too sometimes. But sometimes I need complete silence.

I suppose I could ramble on about this, but is it actually at all interesting? When I'm a famous and successful author (ha!) I daresay people might hang on my words, but . . . back in the real world . . . do I need to come up with something rather better than this?

Elizabeth Platt said...

I find characters interesting. They tend to be what drive my own stories and I like hearing about what drives other people's story ideas.

Leigh Russell said...

Yes, Elizabeth. What my characters want to do and what the plot requires of them aren't always the same! That's certainly an area I can talk about.

Lane said...

I'd like to hear about sustaining a plot. How does an idea develop into a full blown plot with twists, turns and tension

(can you guess that's the bit I find so hard?:-)

And also timescale. I'm always interested in how long from first draft to last edit.

Leigh Russell said...

I find that really difficult too, Lane. As for the time scale - longer than you might think. And the proof reading goes on right until the last minute. I've just received the final proofs and daren't even look at it!

Eryl Shields said...

Read one or two excerpts from the book and then talk about what interests you about those excerpts, why you wrote them, and why you chose them to read. Then take questions.

Leigh Russell said...

That's an interesting idea, Eryl. It might work especially well with groups who've already read the book. I don't want to give too much away to people who haven't read it or to put them off by reading out in between bits... I'm going to have to think about this!

Prometheus said...

Maybe you can talk a bit about what you think/feel makes a good crime fiction book. And what you feel you do good or bring to the table that perhaps others don't?

Devin said...

I think there was a lot of great ideas in the comments section!! I like Aggie's a lot and many others-maybe talk about how you keep your nose to the grindstone when writing?? How your mind comes up with characters-how much are real life and how many aspects are from imagination? With the tiny bit of writing I have tried to do I have always done either a mix of two real people or one real person mixed in with things from my own imagination-but of course i am not a published author like you haha;-) I hope I was of some help )probably not) I think any weird inspirations or habits the audience will enjoy-if I think of anything else I will come back-and again all the best with success and your book-I hope it is a bestseller!! I meant to mention that sometime ago-my brother ordered me a book from amazon on a pre-order type deal. well for some stupid reason amazon said they didnt have the books and on hand and did credit my brother's account-but I was hoping because of the inconvenience they would at least take shipping charges off new order-that is the call where I got transferred to god knows where and couldn't understand a damn thing the man was telling me-other than that-"Hey sorry we know it was our screw up-but sorry no discounts for inconvenience of reordering at higher price." This was the second book this author had written and I really wanted to "punish" amazon in some way-but my brother said he would purchase the book for me at the higher price and I didn't end up mentioning it on my blog because this book was very important to the author-and I didn't want any "negativity" mentioned-even in a tangential way to his book-best to you as always and I can't wait to read your book myself!!

Leigh Russell said...

Hi Prometheus, nice to hear from you. What do I "bring to the table that others don't" is a really useful suggestion... just one problem ... the only thing I can think of is that others probably know what they're doing! You've given me something to think about. Thank you. I hope you visit again.

Leigh Russell said...

Thank you again for your support, Dev. I've been really immpressed by the courtesy and efficiency of everyone I've come across in my dealings with people in the US. It took months to get amazon.co.uk to even list my book. They insisted it was on their site but due to a glitch only they could see it. Amazon.com changed their date from October to August within a few days of my requesting the change. I contacted the US distributor, who could not have been more efficient or friendly.

How do I "keep my nose to the grindstone"... not sure I am right now, Dev! When I am writing, I can't stop. I could talk about that, and my thoughts on so-called 'writer's block'. (Note to self - need to start again.) "weird inspirations" is a good idea too.

Thank you for these ideas. It's very helpful to have a brainstorm like this and I'll be taking a lot from all these suggestions. Thank you and please keep sending my your ideas.

dabrah said...

Leigh, one thing I'm always interested in knowing is how authors plot their books. If I try to plan something I'm writing, I invariably get sidetracked, so I'm always curious about how successful writers go about doing this.

TOM FOOLERY said...

Blinkin' 'eck you posted this Monday and I've only just read it. Hope you haven't reached the emergency/urgent breaking point yet?

Hmmm, (pondering....) I've this MAD notion that I could most probably write (bags of material rattling around in my shell like 'ead) BUT I tend to get very distracted!

So, my humble question would be "How do you focus your mind on the writing task in hand?"

Answer on a postcard please. Oh, I tend to like FUNNY postcards can't be doing with all those scenic views. Too boring by half :) TFx

Akasha Savage said...

I love hearing how writers get their ideas, where and when they write, and also how they manage to get into print: mainstream publisher or self-published; agent or no agent; how they got their 'lucky' break.
If your blog is anything to go by, you'll do fine.
Good luck.
:)

Leigh Russell said...

Hi dabrah. I found it really difficult to stick to the plot. I kept losing my way along random sidetracks and the editor had to drag me back to the main plot. Second time around I planned my route more carefully.

Leigh Russell said...

Hi Tom Foolery, I can see why you can't focus on your task, with your collection of funny postcards to distract you. Thank you for commenting.

Leigh Russell said...

Lots of ideas, Akasha. Thank you very much indeed. I'm going to make notes.

TOM FOOLERY said...

Postcard written. You've been plugged on my blog. If you should get any dodgy comments - don't you be blaming me now! ;-) TFx

Blu said...

Via Tom Foolery's Blog..

I guess I like to know about what research writers do when constructing their story. Places, people, methods etc..The detective work. Or like an actress feeling her way into a role.

Besat wishes Blu

Leigh Russell said...

OK Tom Foolery. I hope I saved your ship from sinking. Keep an eye on the rats... Thank you for visiting.

Leigh Russell said...

Hi Blu - yes, research has been interesting. The internet is fantastic for snippets of information, like the time of sunset on a particular date. How did authors dig out such items before the internet? But for a lot of knowledge, there's no substitute for real people to ask. I've been fortunate in having excellent medical and police sources, always ready to help.

At the risk of sounding like I think I'm at the Oscars, producing a book really is a team effort. As well as my expert advisors, there are the publisher, editor, proof reader, designer, production team, PR, distribution, bookshops (I'm sure I've missed a few vital people out - sorry) and, most important, YOU, THE READER !

Chicklit Addict said...

Hi thanks for stopping by Chick Lit Sanctuary - I loved the intrigued surrounding your blog, so I just had to have a look!
Love your idea for the virtual book launch!

Leigh Russell said...

Thanks, Chicklit addict. I hope you join in the virtual book launch. I'm hoping to make this a big event on the blog involving people from all around the world - a global meeting over the blog.

Rod Duncan said...

Sell, sell, sell! That's my advice :-)

My experience from giving talks is that if you do focus your talk towards the reading at the end, and if you make the reading short enough and leave it hanging at a high-point, then people will buy far more books at the end.

I have given talks that people loved, but which were addressed to slightly different questions (as that is what I had been asked to do) and the result was a much lower percentage of people buying.

This all makes me sound like the worst kind of money-grabbing commercial writer. But when I write it is in the hope of an audience. And sales represent people reading. And for every person who reads there is the chance that I'll have someone come up to me and tell me what they though about it and maybe they'll say it moved them. And THAT is such a wonderful feeling.

All the best.

Leigh Russell said...

Thanks for the input, Rod. It doesn't sound 'money grabbing' at all. Sadly these days you have to try and get out there promoting your book. If people don't know about it, how are they going to buy it? At the moment I'm focusing my energy on my promotional events. I can't wait to get through all this and return to my real obsession - writing. But the promotion has to be done. My publisher had a book returned from a major chain of bookstores because it wasn't selling. That book was one of the ten New York Times best reads or equivalent. As a new and totally unknown author, I really appreciate your suggestion and will think about it very seriously.

Middle Ditch said...

Well, so many advices, I don't think I've got anything to add.

Maybe just one, how come that you don't know how long you are allowed to talk? There must be some leeway somewhere? At least you can plan what to do with the time. If I were you (and unfortunately I'm not) I would enquire as to how long the talk is supposed to be.

Good luck Leigh (green with envy) LOL

Chris Eldin said...

This has always amazed me---what writers of adult fiction talk about!! I could never do it....if I'm ever published, I'll be doing school visits.
Anyway, back to you. How about asking the audience "Any interesting characters in your own life you'd like to see in a book?" Then steal their ideas.
Just kidding!!
(sortof)
:-)

Sounds like whatever you do, it'll be fun!!!!

Leigh Russell said...

Yes, Monique, you're quite right. I need to find out how long I'm supposed to talk, how many people will be in the audience, whether there's a microphone/table etc and whether the audience have read the book... and... oh heck, so much to think about. (PANICKING MORE LOUDLY NOW)

Mel said...

I think I would start with how I came up with the original idea and how this turned into the book. Also maybe a bit about how I got the publication deal and how frustrating it can be waiting and how long it takes as many of my friends seem to think it is the easiest thing to do!
Also working habits and an opportunity for people to ask questions. I might also choose an excerpt to showcase the book to make those who haven't yet purchased reach for their wallets!
Good luck

Leigh Russell said...

Thank you, Mel. I can certainly talk about how producing a book is not as easy a process as you might think. You need to have endless patience and be prepared to turn things around really quickly as well when required. If I'd known beforehand what I know now, would I have gone ahead? (YES!)

Barbara Martin said...

A good thing to do for a talk is to write a list of brief descriptions of your intended subject. That way you can briefly remind yourself what it was you were to speak about.

I always like to know an author's routine in writing, whether it's in the morning or evening, if they plot in a cozy chair or at a desk and computer, whether they write the story out ine longhand by pen and pencil or use a computer from start to finish.

Leigh Russell said...

Thanks, Barbara, lots of ideas there. I like the idea of a cosy chair but I'm not sure I'd get much work done in one!

Fiona Pitt-Kethley said...

When I´ve given poetry readings or talks I always find people enjoy a question time afterwards. It´s a little dangerous because you never know what will be asked - but fun...
Fiona Pitt-Kethley