Imagine 45 writers in one space, the atmosphere thick with anticipation, creativity and a just a hint of competitiveness. Add to mix Cyprus Well Director, Tracey Guiry, who partnered with me to make it happen, plus author Sarah Duncan, and Dorothy Lumley from the Dorian Literary Agency. Simmer gently serve over the course of a day.
The event has been a long time coming, and without the input of Cyprus Well would never have got off the ground. I can say that categorically because I'd been flapping my arms around for at least a year before Cyprus Well came on board.
And what did we learn, on the day?
Sarah talked about her experience as an author and the realities of earning a living as a writer. She also led a pitching exercise. Dorothy talked about approaching an agent and some of the attendees had the opportunity to make a public pitch for their prized project. She also went through everyone's first page - all 45 of them - and added a few comments to think about.
However, for me, it was the personal touches that made a difference. Sarah and Dorothy made time for people, listening to them and offering advice and experience. Many developing writers have little access to those who have signed a contract and gone on to develop their craft commercially. And as for agents, most writers I know tend to feel that they are akin to unicorns - a lovely, mythical idea of something no one has ever seen.
There seemed to be a real appetite for an ongoing writing community, which we're hoping to provide through Cyprus Well's website. As for me, it proved that with the right people, the right location (and special thanks to Truro Community Library and the team for making us so welcome), the funding in place and some steely determination, great things are possible. Even in this economic climate!
Here's to the next project!