The Monastery OK. So here are a few photos of the lovely abbey.
It was so peaceful, even with a boarding school in the grounds. The monks wore black robes, and were perfectly lovely and polite, if scarce. Apparently there were only 30 there. I had supper with the headmaster (a monk) on Sunday evening, and had cajun chicken and tequila-laced salmon, drank wine and elderflower cordial before retiring to my room at 9:30. It was a good event, the Higher Education bit that I was there for, and a pretty unique experience I suppose. Yorkshire is lovely - I think I may have to have a special day trip to explore properly another time.
The Writing Industries Conference I had a very good day, with the quality what I've grown to expect from a Literature Network/Writing East Midlands event. The programme was just about perfect, and they made up for the fact that attendees couldn't attend everything I wanted to by recording each session as a podcast. There wasn't too much waiting around for sessions to start, but similarly it didn't feel rushed. The theme was about New Media, and the need for writers to diversify to become successful. My agent one to one went very well, but probably not for the reasons you might think. He tore my work to shreds, pointed out the gaping holes that I have been in denial about, and made the most liberating suggestion of my life (in regards to Inter Vivos anyway!). I hate it when people give feedback and they're afraid to hurt your feelings, so they use stock phrases and platitudes, and this guy did no such thing. I know some people couldn't have sat there taking it without crying or arguing or something, but I thought it was great. Because it means that I should not waste anymore time on a project that is fundamentally flawed (no matter how hard I try to resolve those flaws) and that I should work on something else.
The day after my meeting, it did hit me that I wasn't as far ahead as I had thought, but - well - nevermind! Back to the drawing board. I'm going to salvage what I can from Inter Vivos, perhaps take a few characters that I like and play with them a little, and treat Inter Vivos like you do your first ever boyfriend - you look back fondly but think, what was I thinking?
So what does that mean now?
Well, I'm going to stick to Fantasy, which is where I'm more comfortable, and I know a little bit more about. I'm going to have a think about what it is I want to write, what I like to read, and go from there. I may revisit the Banshee story, because I think that has some potential, although the plot still isn't clear to me. I'm going to write more short stories and practice the "craft". And I'm going to be more honest with myself. I knew IV wasn't working - I couldn't get my head around the core science in the book, and no amount of characterisation would fix that. There was a reason I hadn't been able to finish it for NaNoWriMo, why I'd been working on it for 4 years with little success, but I'd blinkered myself to it. Everything negative that the agent said, I knew already but had been denying it to myself.
So all in all, the Writing Conference was extremely valuable. Now I just have to work out what to do next.