And no, not as in the film/book by Nick Hornby, but as in pitching your novel to a panel of agents at the Festival of Romance. Sunday morning 10-11.30am. Your opportunity to be given feedback on your synopsis and opening 500 words. A most special treat, enabling budding authors a little insight into the world of publishing and an almighty helping hand on your way up the long and lonely ladder that is writing at the novel length.
So, we’ve arrived on Friday, sorted ourselves into our rooms, slapped on our glad rags and danced the night away at the awards ball. Our table has been dubbed the ‘naughty table’, the title being carried on from last year and we most certainly were the loudest table when our gorgeous friend Celia Joy Anderson received the New Talent Award earning herself a contract and a launch date of the 1st August 2013 for her novel.
Then Saturday buzzes by in a haze of workshops, readings, rockstar parties and the unforgettable Romaniacs’ Quiz. All of these activities and more building up to the Pitch Your Novel to the Agents Panel on Sunday morning 10-11.30am. I’m about bursting at the seams with excitement when the incredibly hard working organiser of the Festival of Romance, Kate Allan, informs me that I can have a spot in the pitching. An early night is required, but impossible to get, and a last run through of the synopsis and first two pages before dropping into a sleep that would compare well with a short course of death. No sleepwalking this time. (That’s another story for another day!)
Sunday is finally here. My alarm wakes me in plenty of time to shower and eat a leisurely breakfast, having first checked out that everything is gluten free. Now, if you are intolerant of a food type you will know that on a day like today the last thing that you need is that food. But somehow I manage to consume some gluten, maybe from the hash browns or a crumb of bread that’s dropped into the beans. Something, somehow got into my food and I knew, before I even finished my breakfast.
Out of kindness to you, my readers and to save face for myself, I shall spare you the details, but suffice it to say that I spent a ridiculous amount of time in the bathroom and three immodiums later, and feeling much the worse for wear, I arrived at the Pitch Your Novel to the Agents Panel at 11.10am in time to hear the opening 500 words and synopsis from Laura E James. Now don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed what little I heard and it is definitely a novel I shall buy, but the most important part of this exercise was the agents’ feedback. It was thorough, direct, questioning and invaluable.
And thanks to probably only the tiniest speck of gluten, I missed my chance. Winding myself up to a fever pitch all weekend ready for the Sunday morning panel, you’d have thought I’d be devastated, and I was, but somehow, because the weekend was so glorious, I brushed it off. Me, the ruminator, brushed it off. I don’t know when it happened, but sometime over the weekend, and most likely to do with my group of friends on the ‘naughty table’, I accepted that there are some things that I cannot change, and turning the clock back and not eating whatever it was, is not possible.
Looking forward and staying positive is all I can do. And for us on the ‘naughty table’, it is what we do and that is why, even now, I feel no sense of loss or missed opportunity and for that I have to say Thank You to my lovely friends Laura E James, Debbie White, Celia Joy Anderson, Caroline Bell Foster, Gilli Allan and Liz Crump for your positivity. Thankfully, it is contagious.