Last week I had the pleasure of organising a Meet the Author event at Koorliny Arts Centre, with Perth author Bevan McGuiness as our guest speaker. Bevan turned out to be a fantastic speaker, sharing his journey to becoming published with a liberal dash of self-deprecating humour and frankness.
“I’m Bevan and I’m a nerd,” he said, describing his fascination with science as a child and his fondness for role-playing games at university.
“I still play Dungeons and Dragons with the same people…which is kind of sad, really.”
McGuiness has written two fantasy trilogies – The Eleven Kingdoms and Triumvirate – and is working on another, as well as two children’s fantasy series.
What I found interesting about his talk was that only about one in 2,500 manuscripts are accepted by publishers. Why do you think this is? Are the other 2,499 rubbish? Is it just bad timing? Or has the author not researched publishers well enough? What’s your experience?
I still have dreams of getting published one day. I have plenty of ideas… I’ve even written a few children’s picture books. Now I just need to work on my confidence! For now, I’m happy reading others’ books, blogging and freelancing.
But back to McGuiness. He had a lot to say about characterisation and his own writing process – some of his comments were real gems:
“The character becomes real to the writer. I create a world that creates its own characters. I put them together and see what they do…and that’s when it gets kind of weird. Your characters become so real that they start acting the way they want to act. I feel like I’m recording something that happened.”
If you’re in to epic fantasy, you might want to give McGuiness’ books a try. My son, 16, was at the talk and he was convinced after reading the first page of one of the books on display.
And watch this space for a review in coming weeks.