Category Archives: Literature Development

Agent and editor 1-2-1 meetings at WIC 2010

A little more information the Writing Industries Conference 2010, including agents and editors available for 1-2-1 meetings. W00t!


Writing Industries Conference 2010
Saturday 6th March 2010, Loughborough University
A Literature Network, Writing East Midlands
and Loughborough University project.
Twitter #wic2010

Book tickets online here.

The Writing Industries Conference 2010 is now open to applications for 1-2-1 meetings with agents and editors. Writers will have the chance to present their work in fiction, creative non-fiction and spoken word. A limited number of 1-2-1s are available and only ticket holders to WIC 2010 may apply.
1-2-1 meetings are available with:

For guidelines and details on how to apply please see:

WIC 2010 will bring together writers from across the East Midlands and professionals from the writing industries to share knowledge, develop skills and forge new contacts. 200 writers from the region will have the opportunity to hear from and meet with professionals from the writing industries in a variety of settings:

• Agents and editors in one-to-one sessions with selected writers, giving advice and support in their area of expertise.

• Panel discussions exploring specific areas of writing, from breaking into commercial publishing to working in the community.

• Writing industries fair featuring stalls from local publishers, funders and other organisations involved with the writing industries.

• And of course there will be plenty of opportunity to meet and talk with other writers over a coffee.

Details of the full programme will be announced soon.

Book tickets online here.

If you have any questions regarding WIC 2010 or would like further information please contact:

Alyson Stoneman
WIC2010 co-ordinator (part-time)

Writing Industries Conference 2010

I’m organising the second Writing Industries Conference (having organised the first one in 2008). A chance to meet agents and editors and get information from the horses mouth about the writing industries. If you are in the East Midlands region or happy to travel a little way, then take advantage of our early bird ticket offer whilst you can. See you there!

Continue reading Writing Industries Conference 2010

Writing Industries Conference 2008

My big work thing for the new year is a Literature Network project, the first East Midlands Writer’s Conference, dubbed the Writing Industries Conference 2008. If you are within spitting distance of Loughborough on Saturday 9th February 2008 then get along and join in. Agent one-to-ones, keynotes speakers, editors and other industry professionals from across publishing, poetry, spoken word and all other types of writing. Be quick getting your ticket though as they are selling out quickly. I’ll be posting more news about this as and when it becomes available. See website for all the details.

This Message Brought to You By…

Some time ago I made a funding bid to Arts Council England to support my professional  development as a writer and freelance creative. It seems my stars were aligned correctly as my bid was successful, which is great. Thank you Arts Council.

I’ve been waiting all year to make use of the grant. There have been a long series of important projects that I needed to complete in literature development world but I have now made the space to step my hours down to part time, which will start (fingers crossed) at the end of September.

So from October onwards I’m going to have 2.5 days a week to invest into writing and developing freelance projects. Writing will be the major priority for the next 6 months  but there will also be a few developments on the projects front before the end of the year.

The first of those will be an overhaul of this very blog. Check back soon for details!

My Name Is Damien, I Write Fanfic

I have two events this evening and, much as I’m looking forward to them, I’m also a bit bummed out about them. I’ve been working all day, now I’m going to work all evening. Work seems to be stretching out before like an endless chasm, exacerbated by this weeks debt owed to the bank of sleep.

So I’m taking a breather to talk about fanfic, prompted by Cory Doctorow’s commentary on the subject. Fanfic is Fan Fiction. There are twokinds – those based on literary forbears such as Tolkien. And those boased on Multimedia franchises like StarTrek / StarWars. Read the Wikipedia definition for more details.

Theres a great series of essays by Timothy Leary, pretty much the last things he wrote ibefore he popped off in the 90’s, that are all about the democratization effect of ‘cyberculture’. People, Leary reckoned, were getting bored of consuming culture. The next revolution was going to be one of creativity. In what was then the future and is now the present, more people would make culture than would consume it. Through our screens we would make music, films, games, writing, pictures and share them with other people also making their own culture. Low and behold, Leary was right.

Fanfic is the literary tip of the democritised culture iceberg. Fanfic has a pre technological history, but its huge growth in the past 10 years has really been driven by the lure of sharing the fanfic you write with other people, an audience, even if small in number. generaly when someone reacts very badly to the idea of fanfic, its because it threatens their aspirations to be part of an artistic elite – elites don’t do well with democracy.

And here is that nasty truth no one wants to admit about fanfic. A lot of it (not all, but much) is a great deal better than its source material. Some fanfic is a good as anything you’ve ever read. Theres a good reason for this. Writing fanfic is fun! It can bring out qualities in someones writing that the pressure of original work will totally obscure. And its also a fundamentally generous and positive activity. So much writing is driven by the ambition of the writer, the need for status, cachet, kudos. Fanfic by definition won’t bring you those things, the only reason to write it is because you love the world you are writing in and want to share it with other people.

So, here for the first time in public I present my own fanfic masterpiece, penned around the events and character’s of Games Workshops Warhammer 40,000 universe and called ‘The Emperors Sacrifice’. Its the last piece of fanfic I wrote. I had almost stopped writing altogether after finishing my MA, and getting back to writing something purely fun completely rejuvenated me. If you are ever struggling to find the passion for writing, then pick something you really enjoy (not admire, enjoy) and spend some time messing around in the world of fanfic. I highly recommend it.

The Emperor’s Sacrifice.pdf


One of the projects I have been working on for the last few months has hit an exciting point – the Literature Network today publishes its first spoken word podcast as part of the Tripod project. Its a really amazing feeling when projects like this come to fruition. A year ago this was a conversation between four people about how great it would be to have a literature podcast for the region. And now here it is!


The brand new Tripod Podcast brings you the liveliest and best spoken-word work from the Three Cities of Derby, Leicester and Nottingham. This debut episode features performances from Rob Gee, Daljit Nagra, Helen Frances of Flying Donkeys and Mark Gwynne Jones and the Psychicbread. Listen online at the Tripod website, download to your computer or subscribe to our regular feed via I-Tunes or any good podcatcher. Let us know what you think!

Listen to Podcast here!

Watch out for the Tripod magazine launching in early March 2007 and available from libraries and other venues around the Three Cities.

Tripod is a Literature Network project supported by Three Cities Create and Connect.

The Names Have Been Changed to Protect the Innocent

I’ve just started a 6 month mentoring programme that has grown out of both my literature devlopment work and my interests as a writer. I’m going to make a few posts about it here on the Don’t Look Down blog as a way of recording my progress and I thought it might also be of interest to others.

My mentoring programe has been organised by NALD , the National Association for Literature Development. Lit.Dev is a somewhat unusual career path, it is both problematic for being quite insecure but also very useful in terms of flexibility and developing experience. Literature Workers often move on to freelance work, writing or into other cultural sectors – theatre, film or even TV. Navigating this complex career path can be quite a challenge, so giving workers the chance to tap into the skills and knowledge of more experienced people in the field seems like a very good idea.

I was a little skeptical about how well I would personaly engage with a mentoring process when it was first suggested. The term itself is quite off putting, probably as much for the ‘mentor’ as the ‘mentee’. In popular parlance its only one step away from Guru or even worse Life Coach. In practice however the mentoring process is about gaining an outside viewpoint on your own situation. It’s also a chance to avoid a few wrongs turns on the path ahead, or at least get them flagged as wrong turns before you go plunging on down them regardless.

The first mentoring session gave me an opportunity to talk through a whole bunch of issues realating to my work and my writing. The last six months have been an incredibly active time on both fronts, and having the opportunity to just talk through each of the things I was involved in and getting an outside perspective on how they might fit together was tremendously useful.

I’d given the mentor a portfolio of my writing in advance of the meeting. The mentors key criticism was that I was avoiding writing scenes, which in turn was strangling the characters voices and replacing them with my own. To get over this I’ve set about a new short story that I’m trying to write at least 70% ‘in scene’ rather than stepping back to a broader narrative viewpoint. So far its going well, and its also pushing me into a third person narrative where previously I’d been stuck in 1st person, which is where I’m naturaly more confident.

An unexpected aspect of the mentoring process has been the level of self-reflection its incited me to engage both in preparing for each session and then in thinking them over afterwards. The mentoring itself has acted like a catalyst, which has sparked off a number of other processes of thought and activity. With one session gone its already started to have an impact on what I’m doing, so I’m looking forward to seeing how the rest of the programme unfolds. I’ll post regular updates about it here, so if you are interested please check back.

Oh…the madness…

Sitting out of rehearsal for the event I was working on this afternoon I outlined two more chapters of Sword&Sorcery. This gives me the the first act in detail and the whole story arc in broad strokes from last weeks work (thats all long hand and as I don’t need it directly I’m not going to transcribe it directly just for the blog). I’ll get into act two in the morning and aim to have two and three done by the end of the weekend. I might throw myself into a few chapters then to reassure myself the new outlining process is a good one.

And the kids go crazy…

I spent the morning introducing children’s writer Jacqueline Wilson to a school full of 7-11 yr olds. I’ve never seen that many kids so excited about meeting a writer before – and who says books aren’t cool!

Unfortunately I left my camera on a table in a cafe after the event. Doh! Hopefully I’ll be able to track it down and post some photos to the blog from the event.

It’s always a little odd meeting famous writers. They are never quite as you expect them to be. It’s especialy odd when you get to know somebody through their writing – you build up an image of how they look and behave based on the chracters they write. The odd thing is that even when there are nothing alike there is always something of a person reflected in their writing.