National Novel Writing Month – November 1 – 30
The UK publishing industry has not moved fast enough to reflect our current society. And when you’re talking about children’s fiction, it’s particularly white.
Creative writing tutor and programme leader Barbara Henderson’s fifth novel will be released on 1 March. Barbara uses the writing name Bea Davenport for her children and adult fiction. The Misper, her latest novel, is aimed at readers aged thirteen-plus.
‘Bad writers often believe they have very little left to learn’. And this, for me, sums it up. As soon as we start to dig in our heels and claim that no one can tell us anything useful, or that everyone else just doesn’t get what we’re trying to say (yet somehow, one day, a publisher will) then we’re in dangerous territory.
I was delighted to hear, on BBC Radio 4’s Today Programme, that the British Library is to make available online its archive of contemporary writers. It means any one of us, regardless of geography, has the privilege of peering into the workings of a writer’s mind.
In the last blog post on the detested rejection letter/e-mail, I mentioned that the word ‘No’ comes wrapped in all sorts of sweet and sour coatings. Agents and publishers are practised at the art of rejection. Writers, though, have no training in how to receive the bad news. We promise ourselves we won’t be hurt if someone doesn’t love our work, but deep down, we know it’s a lie.
For an aspiring writer with a few rejections under their belt, the name J.K. Rowling is either an inspiration or a curse. The fact that the impossibly successful Harry Potter books were initially turned down by almost every UK publisher is something that can keep the weary author’s chin up. On the other hand, it’s what well-meaning friends always trot out when they’re trying to raise the spirits after another ‘no’ from an agent or publisher. Before my own children’s novel found a publishing home, I remember thinking that if anyone else mentioned Rowling’s name to me, I might just scream.
‘If writing seems hard, it’s because it is hard. It’s one of the hardest things people do’
Barbara introduces herself…
Ever gone back to a much-loved book and found it disappointing? Barbara shares her experience of making an unexpected discovery from rereading a book from her childhood.
What technology do you use when writing? Barbara shares some of her latest finds thanks to the help of OCA students.
Are you on social media? What works for you? Do you think it’s essential for writers today?