09 Oct The Golden Egg Academy Writing Buddy by Kay Vallely
Something incredible happened on Saturday 30th August. A clutch of new writers, excited, nervous and incredibly keen, arrived at Scholastic Children’s Publishing offices in London to start their BookMap©, and I began the role of the Golden Egg Academy (GEA) Writing Buddy.
As well as being about fantastic and wise editorial advice from seasoned professionals in the children’s publishing industry, Golden Egg is a unique, supportive writing community. As a GEA Writing Buddy it’s my job to support new Eggs from their first day, as their first point of contact within the nest. The Buddy enshrines what Golden Egg’s all about, great advice, honest feedback and unstinting support. There’s so much to take in when you first start, everything from the BookMap© through to the mad Twitter frenzy of #GEAQA every Monday night from 7:30 – 8pm. As a Writing Buddy it’s my job to explain, explore and advise Eggs so they find their way around the nest easily.
A Writing Buddy has experienced the Golden Egg Academy from the inside out and understands the processes involved, which means we have a lot of empathy about the ups and downs of the writing process. We can connect new Eggs to resources or people, or simply reassure them.
The most recent clutch of new ‘eggs’ to join GEA in September 2014, have me (Kay) as their buddy. Those in December 2014 will have Emma Greenwood (@emmajgreenwood) and March 2015’s clutch will have Andrew Wright (@Andrew_Wright_).
If you’re thinking about submitting to Golden Egg do contact me, Andrew or Emma. We’d be very happy to answer any pre-submission questions you have. I know that, for each of us, joining Golden Egg has been the best writing decision we’ve made so far.
Dispatches from A Writing Buddy – The Story So Far
Golden Egg’s first workshop is all about seeing your novel in overview – and if you make it onto the course remember that your writing already has something special about it and you have a talent to be nurtured! As a Writing Buddy I was at one of these workshops in August. I was there to meet and greet new Eggs in the London offices of Scholastic UK. It being the weekend, the office was quiet, but for any writer the offices of a global publishing house are still a very exciting place to be!
At the workshop members are introduced to the BookMap©, which focuses writers new to Golden Egg on the structure and themes of their story, asking them to spend time outside it, looking in. Imogen Cooper (Founder of GEA and previously Senior Editor at lovely Chicken House Publishing) explains at the beginning of the course that whatever stage a writer’s at, they need to understand the beating heart of their story and she challenges writers to identify it before starting on their BookMap©, digging deeper into plot, character and theme. As a Writing Buddy I was part of the workshop’s morning offering, able to give a brief overview of my experience in the GEA so far, reflecting on some of the aspects Imogen mentioned.
Within the first week of joining GE, new Eggs are assigned an editor and will attend their first editorial once they’ve completed their BookMap©.
Whilst waiting for editors to be assigned, my job as GE Writing Buddy has been about ensuring everyone can connect via Twitter as well as answering questions about the BookMap© and the different workshops on offer.
What always strikes you as an Egg, embedded deep in this amazing writing community, is the wonderful support and kindness shown by one writer to another. Our new Eggs are already continuing that theme, deepening and broadening our community with their enthusiasm and experience. Here’s what they’ve been saying so far.
1st Week Reflections from New Golden Eggs – September 2014 Clutch
“I’ve reviewed my BookMap©, got onto twitter, made some friends and found a place where I finally feel like I belong.” Haulwen.
“I just wanted to say ‘thank you so much’ for yesterday. It made a huge difference to me personally to be face to face with, able to listen to, and speak with an author who has been part of Golden Egg for some considerable time and who can talk from firsthand experience. I found it helped enormously in providing valuable insight into that strange new world which most of us are longing to enter and yet somehow fills us with trepidation at the very thought. With Imogen, an awe inspiring industry professional, and yourself yesterday, it was a hugely enjoyable day for me and a privilege to spend time with both of you. Thank you again!!!” JR Redfern
“Just dropping you a line to say thank you for Saturday. It was really fantastic to learn from your experiences and just feeling your positive energy about the whole Golden Egg thing has already been really inspirational! You gave us all such a lovely warm welcome.” Pippa
“I really enjoyed Saturday. I’ve been really surprised at what a welcoming and supportive community GEA is and I really wasn’t expecting that.” Melissa
“Just to say thank you for such a great and inspirational time.” Becky
“Thanks for being there. It is very reassuring.” Jane
“…thanks for sharing so much with us. I really enjoyed the whole day.” Benita
“Thanks for being so supportive.” Adrian
I’ve just finished setting up a group email, as suggested by a couple of the new Eggs, so the group can keep in touch with each other’s progress.
Who knows where the Writing Buddy role will take us, but I’m very excited to be right at the start of it, helping and supporting other writers develop. Obviously I’ll be writing my own book in between all this, but it already feels like I’ve a few more people sitting in my writing room!
The GEA is in a transition process as it grows and develops. There may be current Eggs reading this who feel they would like support with things they don’t want to trouble their editor with. Please connect with me (@kayvallely), Emma or Andrew if this is the case.