So you’ve written that novel that has been consuming your brain for years. Finally written it down and typed those magical words, The End. What now?
Or maybe you have written novel number 15, but still don’t have the courage to send it out to anyone for feedback.
Or even, you’ve written numerous novels, had other people read them and give you feedback, but still don’t know what to do with it.
If any of these scenarios describe you, then Jane Wenham-Jones is the perfect person to help you.
Jane has piloted a TV series called, ‘Wannabe a Writer.’ As part of this series, Jane takes an unpublished writer and introduces them to a top literary agent who reads their first three chapters and gives feedback. What an amazing opportunity! In the first episode, Delphine (the unpublished writer) is introduced to Carole Blake, of Blake Friedmann Literary Agency, and Carole offers some extremely important advice about Delphine’s manuscript. She highlights key points in Delphine’s story that are not working and tells her where it is going wrong. There is no sugar coating with Carole, but I loved that. As an unpublished writer myself, I don’t want to be blinded by happy smiles and ‘well done’s’ (although those are nice to have, too!) but I want to know how it really works. I want to be prepared for when I meet agents and be told just how blunt they may be. As Carole says in the film, she gets in excess of 20 manuscripts a day, so they don’t have time to think about how to say to someone that A,B and C needs changing in a nice way that wont hurt their feelings. That’s just the nature of the industry and that’s why every published author will say that you need to have the stomach for writing. So when I watched this first episode, I felt refreshed that it was putting forward an honest account of the writing/publishing industry.
Saying this, Jane does a very good job of making sure the writer feels supported afterwards. She is very encouraging and arranges a meeting with a bestselling author – I wont disclose who in case you haven’t seen the video.
Meeting the bestselling author was enjoyable to watch. She gave advice and tips to Delphine about her novel and answered all of her questions with expertise. I particularly liked the fact that Jane also got involved with giving advice and would throw in snippets as and when. So essentially you are getting two for the price of one! Fabulous!
The episode ends with Delphine returning to literary agent Carole Blake, with a revised opening chapter. Carole then gives her feedback on the new piece and is quite encouraging – showing that even though she was hard on Delphine at the start, it was all so Delphine could improve an already promising story.
Jane presents the programme extremely well. She is a very friendly person and this comes across on screen brilliantly. She is encouraging the whole way through the programme and makes the whole process relaxed and positive.
I do find sometimes, with things similar to this, that advice is sort of pushed upon you. You have asked for advice so here it is and you must listen. But with this programme, this is not the case. Advice and tips are offered constantly throughout but never at any time is it forced upon you. The bestselling author even says at one point about you having to use your judgement with the advice you’re getting and basically pick what is best for you and your work.
I absolutely love the whole idea of this TV series and I think it will do really well. There are so many people out there, like myself, who desperately want to break the barrier into being published and I think programmes like this are both informative and real and are exactly what we, as writers, need to help prepare ourselves better.
I asked Jane for a few words about her new venture and he is what she had to say…
It’s here! The fluffed lines, fits of the giggles and the marvellous moment where a certain best-selling author’s cat strolled into the scene, mewing, have been safely consigned to the cutting room floor and Wannabe a Writer – the TV Show is available on a youtube channel near you. This is a ground-breaking new concept I have been loosely billing as Come Dine With Me, meets Through the Keyhole with a dash of Britain’s Got Talent – except designed to appeal to anyone who’s ever thought they might have a book in them, rather than those who want to sing or show off their carrot stroganoff and pecan pavlova.
We’re going to be pitching this to the TV channels this autumn, so we’d love you to watch, love you to comment, and love you to apply to come on a future programme (please also tell your friends).
This baby is the brainchild of me and my mate Steve – an ex- ITN TV producer– who I first met when he obligingly spilled the beans about how much tape Barbara Cartland used to hold her face up when she was being interviewed, for my book Wannabe a Writer We’ve Heard Of? (One way, for those interested, is to make news crews wait 24 hours while you bathe the room in pink light, get the florists on standby and use the aforementioned tape to hitch back your forehead.) Not that I am without sympathy, having seen myself in the opening shots, looking as if I have a particularly nasty hangover!
“I hope you’re bleaching out my wrinkles,” I’d squawk at Steve at regular intervals throughout filming. He appeared to ignore me but was clearly listening. Hear that jaunty piece of music that plays as would-be author Delphine, and I board the train to London? It’s called “Botox Babe”…
To apply to be on the show, visit : www.wannabeawritertvshow.com
Thank you, Jane, we wish you lots of luck with it.
And here is the all important link to this fabulous show – enjoy!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1kJWTbsjbR4 - Part One
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_ycfeR3Zze0 - Part Two