Before attending this talk I’d no idea what book packaging involved, I thought it might mean designing or typesetting books. I soon discovered how wrong I was when David Richardson of SCBWI introduced the two speakers, Benjamin Scott and Michael Ford.
Michael is an editor for Working Partners, a book packager that’s produced hundreds of successful series and sold them to publishers around the world; Benjamin is a children’s author who ghost-writes for various of those series.
The introduction of the characters in the first couple of chapter was brilliantly funny and all of their banter and bravado had me smiling and laughing out loud as I was reading. It’s has that spine-tingly quality of a good horror set up, where the scares are cut with the laughter for relief – especially in the opening sequence with the summoning scene, which really captured that tone perfectly and was reminiscent of many a classic horror movie.
As the story develops it becomes more of a mystery than straightforward horror, and we start to learn about Mary and what happened to her, as we are drip-drip-drip fed little clues to how she met her untimely end. This dampened the scariness for me a little, because, as is always the case, the more times and the clearer you see the monster the less frightening they become. But I still loved the way the story developed and the overlap between Bobbie’s and Mary’s worlds. Bobbie and Naya and Caine make endearing and funny heroes and the ending seemed a great nod to both Victorian gothic and modern horror movie type stories.
A thoughtful and original ebook on writing, filled with great hints and tips and writing prompts, many that I have not read before. And all expressed in succinct paragraphs and short bite size chapters, which end with inspiring quotes or suggestions for further reading. The book has good advice on finding ideas and on developing methods to cultivate and percolate them, plus some interesting thoughts on what makes a good short story. It has made me itch to get back to my short story writing, and put the lessons to use.