Archive for the ‘Writing’ Category

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Another rejection to add to the collection

August 9, 2010

Woe and alas, Laura Cecil will not be my agent.  It seems she enjoyed The Path of the Moon but did not feel ‘sufficiently enthusiastic’ to market it.  She did, however, wish me luck and offered me advice on where to seek other potential agents.  This means it was the good kind of rejection.  The, ‘it’s not hopeless, it just isn’t for me’ kind, rather than the ‘this is awful, give up now’ kind.  So, all is not lost and I will live to write another day. I’m just not quite sure what I’ll be writing…

(This was written on 7 June but it seems I failed to post it. Ah well. Better late than never.)

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Safely received and zebra for no reason

March 31, 2010

Just had a heart-in-mouth kind of moment when I checked my emails and saw that there was one from my (hopefully) future agent… but it was just to say they had received my submission and would be in touch in due course.  Ah well, good to know it’s there.  Now, everyone think positive take-on-a-new-client thoughts and send them down to London.

For no reason other than that I have found myself thinking about Africa today, here are some zebra to keep us amused while we wait for a real response:

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First fence cleared

March 19, 2010

Feeling rather chirpy having just checked my emails to find that the begging letter recipient/agent has requested to read my work.  A positive response in less than a week.  Hurrah!

Technically, this puts me no further on than I have been before.  I’m about to send off three chapters and a synopsis (I think I may need to rewrite my synopsis first), something I have done several times… but this time is different.  This time I’m not unsolicited.  That’s a first.  And it somehow makes the whole process feel a little more hopeful.

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And so it begins (again)

March 15, 2010

It has been a long time since I last submitted my book to a publisher or an agent.  I’m assuming that the people who rejected it back then will now have moved on… this means it’s time to get rejected by a whole new set of readers!

The first time around, many publishers accepted unsolicited manuscripts.  Now, most of them don’t.  No great surprise there.  What does surprise me is that there are some agents who don’t accept unsolicited material either.  What insanity is this?  Are we going to reach a point where you need a pre-agent to get an agent?  Is it not hard enough to find someone to read one’s work?

So, instead of merrily sending off three chapters and a synopsis like I was expecting to do, I have now written my first ‘please will you read my book’ begging letter.  It was tricky.  I didn’t really know what to say.  But it is written.  And sent.  I have no idea how they decide whose work they want to read.  Perhaps I’ll find out soon.

In other news, I have happened upon this competition by Chicken House.  I will most definitely be entering.  Chicken House published Inkheart by Cornelia Funke.  For that alone I love them.  They have rejected me once before, but maybe they won’t remember that.  Fingers crossed.

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Not knowing how not to

March 11, 2010

In one of my many rejection letters – this one from an agent – I was told not to be disheartened.  “We get 2-300 submissions a week and take on 2-3 new clients a year” they informed me.  I’m not sure which part of that sentence was intended to hearten me.  Perhaps I was supposed to take some satisfaction from the knowledge that I was one of the 2-300 who at least got a response.

As soon as you start reading about writing you get confronted with figures like these.  You get told, over and over again, that your work will probably never be published and that, even if it is, you’re unlikely to make a living from it.  Recently I read that most published writers earn less than minimum wage from their writing and the article suggested that those of us aspiring to reach those heights “get a day job”.  I would hazzard a guess that most aspiring writers already know these things.  That most aspiring writers already have a day job.  I am tired of the negativity and don’t care to hear any more of it.

A friend of mine who once worked for a publisher told me that there are different levels of rejection letter.  There are those that just reject your work outright, and then those that offer some form of encouragement or critique.  Mine have always been of the latter variety which apparently means that my writing is not completely awful.  So that’s something to feel positive about.  That and all the lovely comments I’ve been getting on Authonomy as The Path of the Moon slowly works its way up the charts.

I’m not writing to get published.  I’m writing because I don’t know how not to.  I’m not saying I don’t want to be published – of course I do – but, even if I knew for sure it would never happen, I would still write.   There are always stories in my head.  I don’t know where they come from but I know they can’t stay there.  And so I write them down.  And I always will.

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‘Varmints’

March 7, 2010

Yesterday afternoon, while in a state of general perusement in Edinburgh’s old town, I stumbled upon a picture book called ‘Varmints’ by Helen Ward and Marc Craste.  I was instantly smitten.  It is beautiful.  It is powerful.  It almost made me cry in public.  It’s the kind of book that makes you believe that the earth is not doomed and that the little things we do really can make a difference.  I don’t understand why I’ve never seen it before.  It reminded me a little of ‘The Red Tree’ by Shaun Tan (which is equally beautiful and powerful).  And it made me really miss spending my days surrounded by books.

Today, I went online intending to purchase a copy of ‘Varmints’.  Imagine my delight when I discovered that it has also been made into a film.  It is downloading from iTunes as I type.  Having watched the trailer, I am in a state of blissful anticipation.  The next 24 minutes are going to be really quite special.

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Inappropriately Bereft

February 24, 2010

Yesterday, only three days after having a good old stream of consciousness moan about how I couldn’t possibly find the motivation to finish the sequel to The Path of the Moon… I finished it.

When I began this blog, I hoped it would help to motivate me – but feared it would be more adept at providing a distraction from my novel writing.  I don’t really know why I began it… except that I had been unintentionally pondering the thoughts expressed in The Deadline for a while and ponders do have a habit of becoming scribblings.  In this case, those scribblings became a blog.  A blog that has helped me to focus my attentions and, in doing so, given me the push I needed to write those final few chapters that have been eluding me for the past few months.

As I typed the last line of the sequel (I’m still not entirely fixed on a title) I was waiting for a feeling of achievement, a sense that this was something that should be celebrated.  Instead, I found myself feeling a little bit sad.  If you are aware of where and how it all began, you will know that I began work on the first book 10 years and 7 months ago.  10 years and 7 months is a long time to carry the same characters around in your head.  10 years and 7 months is ample time to get to know them, to grow quite fond of them.  And the typing of a final sentence seems an abrupt way to part from them.

Ok, so we haven’t quite parted ways just yet.  The sequel isn’t really finished.  It would be more accurate to say that draft one is complete.  I have weeks, possibly months, of proofreading and editing ahead.  But editing is not the same as creating.  I don’t think there will be a book three – my next book will be something completely different – and so everything that these characters will ever do has already been done.  They have had their ending.

And is it the ending I expected?  No.  Not exactly…

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