Just got back from Dunford Novelists’ conference which is held in Bournemouth in January. This is definitely my most favourite conference in the world. It’s a working one for novelists. From beginner to best selling authors we’re all in the same boat.
How it works
You take along the first chapter of your novel and you get it critiqued on three levels. You get written critiques from other writers in the conference who opt to choose your chapter. Each writer chooses about six first chapters to critique over the course of the weekend. You get in depth verbal critiques from the five other people in your group, you read the entire chapter to them.
Plus – and this is the really scary bit – you read only the first page of your novel to the entire assembly of novelists – the idea being that’s all they would read if they went into W H Smith and picked it up. Then you keep very quiet while they tell you exactly what works and what doesn’t.
Trial by fire, but it’s fabulous. I want to go again right now. And it really inspires you to write the rest of the novel.
Incidentally I’ve done some research on the first page of novels, which I shall post here later. It’s fascinating stuff.