Thursday, March 08, 2012

Emirates Airlines Festival of Literature - Heritage Evening with David Nichols

I wasn't sure I would be able to stay awak having landing at 1 AM and had a wonderful time in Sharjah during Education Day but boy was I happy I'd had a double espresso and attending last night's session with David Nichols.

First the setting...coming down the to the boardwalk the venue was beautifully lit up and the sound of Arabic music filled the air. Carpets and cushions line the way and people we sitting relaxing watching Emirati men sing and dance. It created such a lovely feeling as we walked down the red carpet into the 'heritage' venue.

So here are my hastily scribbled notes of Rosie Goldsmith in conversation with David Nichols author of ONE DAY...(as always these are just my notes...and will not be represent what I could capture when not laughing :-))
Rosie Goldsmith and David Nichols

-He's working or not as the case may be on his 4th novel
- writing novels took him by surprise as he wanted to be an actor and spent years trying
- this is his first trip to Dubai

Rosie asked if he still recognized ONE DAY as it has taken off? He replied yes and that he still loves the book but this is the last event he is doing with it as his focus. He needs to move on. In his house he has packed away all copies as they are distracting him from getting on with book 4.

-his first book, STATER FOR TEN did well in the UK but didn't travel. His second book THE UNDERSTUDY didn't do as well and he expected ONE DAY to continue the downward trend.

- ONE DAY was pleasure to write.

- He hasn't written fiction now for three years other than a short story

-ONE DAY is like 20 snap shots, a love story in 20's about friendship and it's a social & political novel

- he loves the hidden significance of St Swithan's Day

- for a screen writer structure is everything...before dialogue and action must come structure which is not the case with novels. About half way through ONE DAY he shared it with ket people and they told he needed more exposition in it so he rewrote at the stage.

- he is trying to improve as a novelist

- of any character he's most in Ian

- everyone journey into writing is unique

- he pointed out that there is an in-built hostility to university student in the UK. There is no sympathy for them and for actors and so some of TV ideas were turned down

- STARER FOR TEN is a coming of age story

- he finds now trying to write book 4 he is becoming self-conscious about writing

-Screenplay writing is different...something a bit lazy in adapting the a screen play - the genius is already there- this work is more editorial - it's a privilege and you get to keep all the brilliant bits

- all adaptations have a little bit of the writer in them as the you get to chose what bits go in

- he loves Rom Coms and sites Much Ado About Nothing as his favourite

- Mismatched couples create great friction in a story

Rosie asked how he kept is the love story of ONE DAY from becoming too sweet? He replied  that he undercuts, keeps a meanness, a darkness/bitterness, an irony that makes them more enjoyable and more meaningful.

In the Q&A session here were the key points...
- always tries to write the best book he can
-he writes to be read
unlike many other writers of popular fiction he gets reviewed
- he's worried about book 4 because it needs to be different but not too different
- planning is less fun but the planning for ONE DAY had to be quite rigorous because of the structure and in the end it was quite close to the plan
- it took him two years to write it
- his key tips for writers was to print the book off..hand write the edits and then retype the whole book...when it's on the screen and your editing it's too easy to say 'thanks okay, it will do and ignore it' if you are retyping then you look at every word..
The Queue for David Nichols' signing

Well, that's the it for now...hope to be able to bring you more tomorrow depending on access to a computer (I left my brain behind in London...did I say brain I meant laptop)....


Carol McGrath said...

Thank you for taking time to post this. I heard David N during the summer and met him then. I was very interested in his tip for editing then. I know another writer, as do you, who takes the work out page by page to edit for similar reasons, so you can see hard copy. I am thinking with my final edit I need to do this too as it is so different in hard copy. Enjoy the rest of the festival. Your description is evocative and immediate and maybe next year I'll get over to the middle east for it myself.

Jenny Beattie said...

Thanks Liz. I absolutely loved Starter for Ten; it was my university experience in those pages (without the Uni Challenge!)