I got over myself and booked a session called Quick Pitch 3 at the Emirates Literature Festival, an annual event that takes place the first week of March in Dubai. Essentially, this was a 2+ hour round trip in the car for a 5 minute event, but…I don’t take this morning as a complete loss.
First of all, I did the thing. I did a thing that was not particularly comfortable or easy for me to do. In making commitments like this, I am inching ever so closer to admitting that I am a writer. And also, just for kicks, I also entered the Montegrappa First Fiction literature contest, but certainly do not expect my name to be called out tomorrow
when I will not be present anyway.
So, my expectations were low. I mean, honestly, what can you do in 5 minutes? Sure, maybe if I had a hook like Gone Girl or the Time Traveler’s Wife, I might have had a different outcome, but mostly my intent for the session was, is my writing okay? Is my book marketable? Do you think people would be interested in reading it? With 4 unpublished manuscripts to choose from, I decided to go with my newest endeavor, The Queen of England. And we had a good chat. Mr. Bonomi wasn’t there to intimidate and I wasn’t there to make a hard sell (he doesn’t represent my genre anyway). It was a good conversation, and I wished we had more time. While I do not think I will be taking the suggestion to make my protagonist a 21st century American time traveler (!), I do take the point that she needs to be more at odds with her situation. She needs more tension. I get that. Also, the ‘show, don’t tell’ is always advice I need to hear. Also, hey, maybe he said it to everyone who came through, but it’s always nice to hear someone wants to read your finished project. Especially when that person is a literary professional. And, like almost anyone who reads my work, there was the advice/compliment that this project would make an excellent film. Yeah, I write with a cinematic view.
The thing that honestly made the trip worth it was the chat with other Emirates based writers in the cramped hallway as we waited for our five minutes with Mr. Bonomi. Not having a lot of success with regional writing groups, it was nice to be in the vicinity of like minded types. Representing various genres, none of us were there to step on each others toes. And, as the session went further and further off schedule (I saw Mr. Bonomi at close to 11:30, 45 minutes after my scheduled 10:45 session), there was more and more to time to chat. I’m optimistic I’ll be able to speak with some of these individuals at a later time!
Will I go back next year? Most likely not, but I’m always open to see what sort of sessions will be offered.
Was it worth the money and the drive? Yes, I’d like to think so.