Mid-Twenties Syndrome author, Connor Thompson went to UCLan to complete a three year combined honours in Film Production and Screenwriting and now he is about to finish a Masters in Scriptwriting.
Here is what Connor hads to say about his experiences on leaving university and entering the big bad world of writing.
What did you do once you graduated?
I moved to Manchester and I’m skint. It’s how the best writers start, or so I’m told.
What is Mid-Twenties Syndrome about?
It’s a book of short stories and rants about my crippling gripes with life. There are some stories which I pulled from the strangest memories, from which I extrapolated into fictional tales. Others are purely written from experience; one story is based on my time standing in the queue at Aldi and being frustrated with every single thing that was happening.
How long did you get published?
I reached out to publishers in February and I was asked to get it ready for July. Getting the artwork and illustrations done for the same time was up to me as well; I got a friend Daniella Birkbeck, who is a UCLan graduate to do the artwork. I also got fellow Screenwriting student Niall Baxter to write the foreword, where he slags me off to no ends. It got published at the beginning of September.
Was writing the book difficult?
It wasn’t difficult coming up with ideas for the book, it was difficult finding time to write it. Having a full time job alongside a masters was hard enough without writing a book. I did a lot of writing on the train back home to Newcastle; I wrote one story about what I could see on the train which was a man that I thought was my dad.
How did you overcome writers block?
Just do things. I had loads of freedom with this because I just wrote about whatever I wanted – I still gave myself goals with what I wanted to talk about. If I was struggling with a particular story, I just moved on to something else. The best thing I learned at Uni about writer’s block is: if you have zero ideas, do things. Anything. Go to a random lecture and write about it. Go to a coffee shop and watch someone and make something up. Go to Blackpool and start a fight, you’ll have a black eye like, but you’ll have some cracking material.
Is there any advice that you’d like to give a budding author?
Keep writing. If you’re writing short stories, it’s always good to keep a document of progress and give yourself deadlines. I used to miss my own deadlines I set myself but I gave myself extenuating circumstances because I’m the boss of me.
Are you working on any new material?
Yeah, I’m still terrified of this book, mainly because it looks like a GCSE textbook full of typos. It’s not a massive book but my next one will be much longer and a smaller size. I’ve started a list of story titles with ideas, once I’ve got to 50, I’ll start actually writing. Hopefully it won’t be full of typos, if it does then I’ll be pretentious and say it’s endearing like I did with this one.