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Tunnel Vision

It was such a great week last week after the ‘new agent news’ and finally feeling as if I knew what I had to do next. So I found myself up and working at 5 am every day, after a break from that for a while, and fully in that zone: that fully immersive state we all relish if we can get in there! It does mean everything else falls away around you as you write, and some mornings I was aware of the hubby speaking until he probably realised I was not ‘in the room’ and off he’d go and next thing a coffee would plonk down beside my computer mouse. I have him well trained!

So edits under guidance completed along with new synopsis and off to my agent. I am now doing something I have never done before. Working out the plot intricacies of a sequel! I had always intended a sequel to this novel (not saying which one yet) but had not quite worked out what would happen. I spent three hours at 5 am scribbling and thinking. I am not there yet but something is slowly emerging! I often find I need to look the other way for a while to see it clearly as if plots like to take shape just out of shot. My mission for this week is to get something together and find my EUREKA plot moment when I realise what it has to say. And to be ready to start writing it!

Writing is a process of many stages.

  • Planning: advice? Never force it; let it come when it wants to, just nudge it along as I do not recommend waiting for your muse either.
  • Writing new material: is the really exciting part and my fingers get a buzz when I am in that zone. I think that is probably the most exciting phase. This is when the true magic happens and often things you could not have planned!
  • Editing: I relish because it helps your work to take shape and become something so much better than that first draft. And if you are lucky enough more magic creeps beautifully in 🙂

 

Many many rounds of edits later it might or might not be ready but it has to reach a point when you MUST let it go and if you have been working on the same thing for too long — rest it and write something else. We can get too close to it. My advice for anyone wanting a career as a writer and intending to find an agent and a book deal needs to let one novel go and work on a new one, especially when new to it. Get a critique, get solid editorial feedback and learn how to improve — but when you have reached that point know when to rest it and work on something new, taking those newly acquired skills with you. Agents want you for a career, not a single book. My fourth novel was the one that was finally deemed good enough to find a publisher.  But nothing is ever wasted because you have something to later work on.

So that is me, just wanted to pop by to report in mid-editing a manuscript for a client!

That is all. Happy Writing! Happy Week!

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Don’t Give Up

I began my serious journey from scientist to writer close to fifteen years ago. Eleven years ago  I saw my first short story published. My mission to seek an agent and have a novel published took writing four novels (it’s a thorough learning process) until one was deemed good enough to find a home with a publisher in 2013. An agent (after several near misses) followed in 2014 after my move back to Essex. I did the dance…

I had hoped then to finally see some of the other novels, including the new ones that followed, seek homes but it is not always as simple as that. My agent moved to a big agency and while she took me with her, her focus then shifted to non-fiction and I found my submissions and my plans slowed right down. That is not to say I was not writing, and I have had something published every year since that first short story was published — amassing over thirty short story successes. I have still won or been placed in competitions so that was keeping my belief alive. But it can feel as if you lose your momentum when nothing happens with the novels. You feel as if you are writing into a void. We all need to know we are heading somewhere.

As some of you know my life has undergone some significant personal changes over the past couple of years with meeting the new love of my life and then, of course, my focus was the wedding last year. While I did have some excellent feedback from my colleagues at Cornerstones about one of the novels and was empowered when I did the screenwriting course last year because my lovely tutor felt I was on the brink of a breakthrough, I was still uncertain of my next steps. Which novel to develop first.

So, I wrote a list of what I wanted to achieve in 2019. Apart from getting married, I decided I wanted to finally publish a collection of my short stories and that is now all put together. I will do a cover reveal soon 🙂 It is set for a July launch! Thank you Bridge House Publishing. Dancing 😉

I also said I needed to get a new agent. It can be demoralising thinking about starting again when you have already been through all of that. However, if you want something enough you do whatever it takes, right? And I was going to do just that. Luckily for me, I had a serendipitous meeting with an agent while attending an event that was part of the Essex Book Festival with friend and amazing writer, Fiona Cummins.  It was what I would call fated, happenchance perhaps… and lead to a request to look at my work. That lead to a meeting in London last week and… on Friday I signed a contract with the amazing top London agent Camilla Shestopal formerly of PFD but now with her own agency! We met at the Chelsea Art Club and two and a half hours just melted away. We connected. It was exciting, for both of us. Inside I was doing the dance again. It felt right, that’s all I can tell you.

So I announced the news from our weekend getaway in Brighton where we celebrated with cake (as you must… an ENORMOUS piece of cake for ENORMOUS news!) and now I feel as if I finally have a focus and begin edits today. I will not say which novel we are working on first, suffice it to say, I could not be more thrilled or excited.

So, writers: the message is clear: never lose sight of the goal even when life changes. Accept that life is change and there is no rush. Sometimes what happens is exactly what is supposed to happen. Oddly for me, good news always seems to come when I look the other way. It just kind of happened. We do not know what will come next but all I can say is I have a great feeling that this is the right time. I feel like a real writer again.

Validation is everything.

So, stay strong… and keep writing. Keep learning. Don’t give up.

My new pen pot bought in Brighton… nice eh?

Humming bird pen pot

Oh… and I am doing the dance! Dancing like no one is watching 😉

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A Blog With a New Name!

So I renamed the blog ‘Writerly Debz’. Do you like it? WordzNerd is still in its link name but I thought I would change the heading title to something easier to say!

I rather like the word ‘writerly’ and I think it sums me up pretty well. It feels less wordy than ‘WordzNerd’, right? And I also had a play to try to make it the banner and appearance more appealing. I think it was time for a facelift! 🙂

I do intend to blog more and start the daily postings. It is a time thing more than anything,  so my good intentions at the start of the year did not quite work out… it has been hard finding the balance with writing time, gym time, editing time, family time but I enjoy posting and interacting with you all. So I do want to start up again. Please let me know if there is anything in particular you might like me to cover. So anything to do with editing, critiquing, publishing?  I started this blog about eight years ago and for a long time I did blog every day. I feel as if I have probably covered most things now so I took a much-needed break. But I am now open to suggestions.

I would like to host more writers on here again as well, so if you have a book coming out this year and would like to be a guest blogger then send me a message or an email and tell me about it. Or anything writerly, a project for example that you think would be a good fit and fun to post about…  I am open!

As for my writing, I am busy putting the finishing touches on my short story collection and next week will be with the photographer sorting the cover, so watch this space 🙂 We are aiming for a July release and there will be a local launch event. I can also do some workshops on short story writing and come to schools, etc. I will have to charge of course but I will post more about this as well.

I had hoped to do more with my mentoring programme. I mentor a lot for clients through Cornerstones and the writers find it has been a real help. One found an agent off the back of the improved novel so it can happen. Please drop me a line if you fancy it. I rather like the idea of getting together a small group and we go through the programme at the same time? It will be one to one but we could share some work and have a FB page. So either short story writers or novel writers…? Get in touch for more information. Could be a summer holiday 6-week thing?

So I will be back very soon!

Hope you like the changes!

person using ballpoint pen

Photo by rawpixel.com on Pexels.com

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Feeling Buzzed

A short post this morning, I do not Blog every day for fear of repeating myself but the good news this morning as I am about ready to submit my Japanese POW story! This is the most personal story I have ever written and I was thrilled with the way the folks reacted to it. They absolutely loved it and it made them cry. Oops! I generally advise against sharing with family, especially when starting out, as a more neutral and more ‘writerly’ opinion is usually best. However, since this one is so personal I felt I had to. They were also able to comment where something was inaccurate! And hunt for the elusive typos!

I love that feeling when something you have been working on is finally coming together. I get a buzz in my fingertips and a sense that I am absolutely on the right path with my life!

With a lot of work on my whiteboards and a busy day with walks and gym, I don’t always set aside as much time to write as I would like. So I have been trying to do some in the morning as usual but the new goal is to work Monday to Thursday with Friday as my writing day. I also work Sunday so I think that makes perfect sense to me. It is not always possible but I am going to work longer hours the other days if I need to. I also had a weekend in Brighton last weekend at the beautiful Air BnB we love in Withdean Park. So while the man was on a yoga course during the day, I got to do what I have not had the chance to do for a while… and that is just to write! I got the first full draft of the story finished that way and after a week of tweaking and refining, I think it is there. After the gym, one more read and I will send it out into the world.

The new mission now is to work on the short story collection that comes out in July! Then back to the Chutney novel and my mission to find a new agent. This is the year!

How about you?

follow your passionWhat are your writing dreams?

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Writing Prompts

We had a great meeting last night at Canvey Writers.

I set out with three different types of writing prompt: one envelope called Plotting, one called Sculpting and one called Subtext. The idea was no one knew which was the more fiction one, which was more memoir and which was screenplay and they then all had twenty minutes to work. The ones who chose the Subtext one, of which I needed four, had to go elsewhere to work as a team.

It was really interesting to see how people got on and what we learned about each of them as a writer through the work they produced.

I will share some of this with you later in the week, but first, let’s look at what each prompt was and perhaps some of you might like to play along at home!

  1. Plotting: each person who chose this had three questions on a piece of paper. Here are some examples:
  1. Who just snuck in through the window?
  2. What were they carrying?
  3. Where were they going?

 

  1. Who is Ethan?
  2. Why is he crying?
  3. What is he going to do about it?

 

  1. Whose house is Julia leaving?
  2. Why was she there?
  3. Where is she going now?

 

  1. What is Alfie’s big idea?
  2. Who does he share it with?
  3. What is their plan of action?

 

  1. Why is the dog barking?
  2. Whose dog is it?
  3. What happened to the owner?

 

  1. What big secret did Maisie overhear?
  2. Who will she tell first?
  3. What will happen next?

 

2. Sculpting:

In any order, time-wise write out five life-defining moments.

 

3. Subtext:

In a group of 4 we will explore ‘subtext’ in a scene through action and reaction.

 

Person one: Employee

Person two: Boss

Scenario: Employee is asking the Boss for a pay rise.

Person three: the thoughts of Person one.

Person four: the thoughts of Person two.

Create the scene, location, time of day, brief visual on the two characters speaking.

Write their dialogue (actions as direction based on how you would act out the dialogue: hands to face, looking down etc.)

Person three and four must narrate the internal dialogue after what is said.

Create a scene that time permitting can be acted out!

So how did they get on… find out later this week!

The Canvey Writers hard at work…

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Mentoring Programme for Writers

I seem to do a lot more mentoring these days which I find fruitful for many reasons, for both myself and my clients.

We are all so busy in our lives and so writing that novel, finishing that short story collection, completing that project gets pushed aside. But when we have a weekly phone call and an expectation to produce something it forms a focus.

I am not sure how some of you are getting along with your new year’s resolutions but February is often the time when we flounder. So, I am proposing a six-week mentoring programme that begins next month for a small group, let’s say 6 writers with partially finished projects and serious intentions. You would need to set aside at least two- two and a half hours a week to work on it, but really if you call it 3o minutes a day and get up earlier, for example, it is pretty easy to do. And then another 30 minutes to an hour for a discussion which can be one-to-one or we can do a group chat later as we progress so we support one another.

All it will cost (and we do really need 6 of us) is £125 for 6 weeks of mentoring and finishing with a meet-up if not too widely dispersed so I am suggesting London. I have not run this before but my feeling is that it will be worthwhile as a way of kick-starting serious projects, so you do achieve that dream this year. At the end of the course I will offer guidance on what to do next including submitting your work.

If you are serious I need an email telling me about your writing project and intentions, how far you are along with it and what time you have available.

Email me now writer@debzhobbs-wyatt.co.uk

Success

 

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Taking stock

Sometimes all you need to do is stand back and look at your life and appreciate just how far you have come to see where you’re heading.

A lot has happened this past month and now I am beginning to get back down to earth and focus on my writing and my editing work. I have work scheduled into April so all good 🙂

I am also still working on the new short story since there is a looming deadline I would like to meet. It’s an odd week as I have a touch of the lurgy and so under advice from the lovely Mr B I am not at the gym! NO!!!!!! I feel fine (ish) but the cough is doing my head in!)… but I am sure the world will not implode if I miss the gym for two days! But I do need to write!!!

If you need a reality check stand still and look at what you have because I promise you there is always always something to be grateful for ❤

That is all. Enjoy your day folks…

 

A photo of us (in glasses) as we read our own vows after the real ones! I am not sure I have achieved the I promise to try to talk less though!

Us 3Debz and Mal with The Revd Canon David Tudor, 19.1.19, St Nicholas Church, Canvey Island, Essex

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