We had an hour long workshop with DBC Pierre on Tuesday morning; he chatted to us about writing Vernon God Little, the abysmal state of the publishing industry, his attempts to get an agent back in the day, and his working process. He says he looks at it as a two-step thing: getting the words down, the events, the story, and then adding the craft and structure and polish to it. He wrote the first draft of Vernon in a few weeks, blasting it out, and then spent about twenty months sorting it out, giving it 'architecture' is how he put it. He was a really engaging speaker, funny but serious, and he said he envied us, getting a writing education - then again, we envy him, with his Booker and his agent and his publisher at Faber. Bah. He talked a lot about structure - he says that commercial fiction has a structure that's easy to break down - plot-points, rising tension, etc - and that this is reflected in every chapter, not just in the book as a whole. He reckons it's easier to sell a book if it's written in this way; he structured Vernon like a TV play, seeing as it's a satire of that culture. I do recall it was a galloping read, so he's onto something. Anyway, I ended up sitting in the library afterwards making diagrams of my chapters and getting a little worried about where parts of it are heading - but never mind, and it was a morning incredibly well-spent.
(The afternoon involved me sneaking home and eating leftovers, resisting the temptation to have a nap, and reading chunks of The Night Watch, next week's Contemporary Fiction text - I'm finished it now, and I really enjoyed it, it's my first Sarah Waters.)
Then at seven o'clock - drum roll - the Bewilderbliss Launch!
Thanks to everybody who turned up; it was really well-attended and great fun. Matt and Jon, editorial team extraordinaire, did a fine job as MCs and cupcake-makers, and all the readers - nine of them - were fantastic. The bar itself, Cord, in the Northen Quarter, just off Tib St, was very impressive - a red neon sign outside (how I love neon) and very plush upholstered chairs on the inside. Rather creepily, part of the floor in front of the bar is made of glass bricks, so that if you're in the basement room, like we were, and you look up, you could catch a glimpse of sights uncalled-for. Be warned, ladies. But a good night was had by all, and Issue Three of Bewilderbliss is now available to purchase; it costs four English pounds, and will be available from fine Mancunian establishments such as The Cornerhouse and Blackwells on Oxford Rd.