Well I can proudly say Saturday 20th February will go down as one of the few best days of my life.
Not only was I in my favourite local city with my best mate but we were surrounded by nice men in battle gear, the sounds of clashing sheild and sound and the great war crie of ‘Vikingr!’ ringing in our ears all day. Plus I met Michael, a guy from the team behind www.dismorphia.com who I feel is going to be a real push and encouragement in my young unprofessional writing life.
The day began with me and my best mate Milli going to the Museum Gardens to watch the warriors from a range of re-enactment groups practise battle strategies with spear, shield, sword and axe. There was one guy who was basically a dwarf but supersized with a big burly belly and a deep booming voice who would often yell aloud ‘I am very annoyed!’ when his side lost. We also watched the Jorvik Vikings re-enactment group show off some killer viking battle tactics. Video of their display can be seen at my youtube site www.youtube.com/user/ValkyrianSanctum.
It was there I met Michael for the first time in person and he actually recognised me before I did him. I’ve spoken to him many times before in correspondance in regards to feature pieces of my Valkyrian Ventures (mainly the original – part one) in the Dismorphia Viking Chronicle e-newsletter which comes out once per month). But amazingly I didn’t realise it was him when he asked ‘who are you looking for?’ as his voice was completely different to how it sounded on the phone! But he was super nice and was busy himself running around covering events, taking photos and talking to participants. We eventually all met for lunch after following the March to Battle from Museum Gardens to Coppergate Square. He proved his worth by offering and kindly paying for mine and milli’s lunch at humble BHS store. Where we talked for what seemed and probably was hours about anything else but what he actually wanted to discuss business wise. Which was about just having a piece on me as a writer, why I write about Valkyries, why I set them in modern day york etc as I was finding it difficult to select let alone cut down extracts from a 4000 word short story to be suitable for his newsletter. Which is FANTASTIC! A little bit more publicity on my part as I’m slowly taking over the web (twitter, deviantart, youtube, flickr, wordpress and blogger). I mentioned to him all I ever hope of doing is being noticed for my talent and hopefully end up with a publisher or an agent. Michael then mentioned that they do actually send their newsletter to an American Literacy Agency! My day was just getting better and better thanks to this guy! Yes I Know it’s highly unlikely that they’re looking for my type of material but who knows what can happen with the right contacts.
Michael then had a lengthly discussion with me about my writing, about how to fashion it to be more suitable for internet readers, newsletters etc and more importantly for me how to catch anyone’s attention. By being brief, snappy, simple and catchy. He says I must come up with my own ‘tag line’. So think newspaper heading but that summarises my writing for example ‘norse mythology in modern york’. It’s quick and easy to understand (hopefully) and to get the internet browser (ie YOU) to think ‘hummm norse mythology? modern york? how can the two possibly work? etc etc etc. So they are interested or at least curious enough to read the first paragraph which is where you must start setting ‘hooks’ or teasers or mini cliff hangers. You must get them to read the first paragraph but leave them with something in order to make them want to spend the time and effort of reading the second, then the third. This technique is of course best used for brief newsletter material as of course the internet browser could be clicking somewhere else, reading somewhere else, doing something else – the trick is to make them want to spend time on your piece! But Michael did say this technique is also good to be used in the first page of any good novel as a lot of publishers and even agents (from his own experience of working with them) won’t read the synopsis or the letter you wrote, just the first page of your manuscript or first chapter. If you get them ‘hooked’ within the first page (not by the bottom) then they want to turn to read the next page and so on and so on. So there you have it some very helpful advice so all writers I believe.
Anyway on another exciting note Michael also said he is quite happy to let me have my own banner or logo image as part of his ‘friends’ listings on the Dismorphia website so when people click on that logo they get taken to my blog (yay someone might actually read what I natter on about!) and they will give me their logo to feature here so they get links back too. Another fantastically generous deal courtesy of Michael.
Back to Viking Festival stuff – after we had our lunch and finally left BHS about 4! We made our way to the Traders Marquee and saw lots of wonderful medieval gear from shoes to swords, cloaks to metal fittings and fixtures, furs to wooden tableware. Sadly I only bought one thing from that place and it’s a card with a rather modern interpretation of Odin on the front with this wolves and ravens. He looks like an elderly heavy metal rocker with a longer black jacket and curvy tatoos on his chest and hands. But it was something different and unusual so I bought it.
Next with evening fast approaching we hitched a taxi to the York Race Course to witness the finale battle, boat burning and fireworks. All three were splendid although it’s at the time of night where my camera is only useful as a videocamera as photographs come out too blurry to be worth the effort. So I have lots of footage waiting to be uploaded but only had enough time to upload footage filmed from earlier in the day so please be patient as all will be made available soon.
On the whole me and milli thoroughly enjoyed our day in Jorvik with a host of vikings and I’ve never been more proud to wear my own designed viking cloak.
My favourite photographs from the days events can be seen at my Flickr site www.flickr.com/photos/valkyrie1008.
Until next year ‘May Vikings Rule Forever in Jorvik! Long Live Eric Bloodaxe!’