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!
Filed under Acceptance, Acknowledging who we are and why we write, Banish self-doubt when you write, Being a professional editor, being a successful writer, Being a writer, Believe, Believing, Blogging, Creating fictional worlds, Critique, Dreamers never disappear, Dreaming, Editing, finally being signed, Find a Publisher, Find an Agent, ideas, Learning to be a writer, Living the dream, Mainstream Fiction, Novel writing, Passion for books, Passion for life, Passion for writing, Plot, principles in writing, Publishing, Succeeding, Success, Success is not about money, The Writer's Imagination, Uncategorized, Writing In Process
Late blog this morning as was busy early, but just popping in to say have a great weekend all! The countdown begins and next week I will be posting short extracts of some of my published short stories and maybe novel extracts too on here in my own countdown until Friday!
So watch this space folks!
Today sees the 53rd anniversary of the assassination of John F Kennedy. Three years ago I had the official launch of While No One Was Watching, my debut novel. And what a three years it has been.
The same year I won the inaugural Bath Short Story Award, was shortlisted in the prestigious Commonwealth Short Story Prize and my story, The Theory of Circles, was also nominated for the highly acclaimed Pushcart Prize! It was hard to top that in a year!
The following year also saw successes, the biggest of which was finding an agent.
Since then I have had something published each year to keep that short story momentum going and had numerous signings and events along the way. I also moved to Essex, joined a gym and met a lovely man. So personally and professionally my life has changed.
Give me a WHOOP!
Novel wise, I have still got the other three novels and been working on at least two new novels but am waiting for something to happen. My agent is so incredibly busy and she has now joined a much larger agency where her focus has changed more towards non-fiction. She still represents… me for the time being, but I am now making plans for 2017. I need to have another novel out there now!
I talked about my novel, and this whole idea of using a real event, such as the Kennedy assassination, woven into the fabric of fiction at the U3A event last Friday. Aptly timed of course for the anniversary. We used examples from film and talked about the historical novelists like Philippa Gregory and Sharon K Penman and where the historical novel sits (although mine is not a historical novel per se) in terms of representation of history. Can fiction change what we believe and is that a good thing? It went down really well and I sold 14 books which isn’t bad for an event like that!
I will share links to the U3A site as they also took photos when that is live.
So on this special day, I am sharing links to my novel again (sorry!) for anyone who has not read it! Give it a go! Christmas presents?
Thanks and thoughts to Kennedy and what the world might have been if he was still here.
Would I even have written this novel?
I am so blessed that from the day I started to work with writers on critiques and edits, I have never been without a steady stream of work. I also work with Cornerstones and so take work from them, at the moment I mentor three lovely writers. I arrange my day so I write in the mornings and then some days, like today, I just work, but it’s great and I am so grateful I get to do what I love every day.
On my wall is a plaque that reads ‘Create The Life You Love’ and I can’t actually believe I did.
I plan to introduce a couple of day-long workshops next year; one will be local to where I live, another might be in London if we have enough interest; a day workshop on writing and where to take your edits. If anyone is interested in the London one please let me know as I will need to look into venues. I also would like to offer some more mentoring with novels or short story collections as I feel this works really well so might open a couple of spots initially for people with serious intentions of making 2017 their year. So if interested in this, please let me know.
If you are simply looking to hire an editor or someone to really critique your work then please do check out my website. It gets busy but I am happy to pencil you in for edits — a couple of spots still available for 2016 but then I am booking for 2017.
Check it out!
So I wish you all an amazing weekend whatever you do… and remember if you want to give an unusual Christmas presie to a writer friend why not give them a gift card for a critique of a short story (2- 5000 words) £50 including follow-up… or for shorter pieces up to 2000 £25 and I will send a certificate and they can use it any time in 2017.
That is all!
I keep out of political discussion; I never expressed my Brexit view all over social media nor will I blog about Trump and what’s happening over in the US. While I live in Britain I have a deep connection to the US and hence my debut novel about Kennedy and my many trips over there and my many special friends. But what I will say is in this time of unrest and hate, stay focussed on what matters to you.
Yesterday I did not blog as I, like so many across the world, watched how the events of the election panned out and then, well did what I always do, I wrote and then I went for my yoga class, which is a great way of keeping grounded. And then I had lunch with the man and then edited all afternoon.
Keep in mind what matters and let’s see what happens next. Yes it might be scary, and yes I am with you all on that one… but try to remain focussed and calm, if you can. That is all; please no political responses; that is not the purpose of this blog.
Love one another ❤ Do what you love ❤ Be with people you love. ❤ LOVE.
That is all.
And anyone wanting to read my novel who hasn’t yet… here it is! American flag and all!
Got yours yet?
Have a good day folks. Find your peace.
If not… read my novel!
Here is a simple message. I have been thinking a lot about all my lovely clients and the way we often become friends. I feel as if we are all in a dream factory; we support one another towards our goals. It’s important to have those dreams — those things that get us out of bed in the morning. If we have no drive then we have no sense of purpose in life. So today I am celebrating dreams and hopes and wishes. If anyone has ever knocked those down, said dreaming of being a writer (or whatever your dream) is all ‘pie in the sky’ use that anger to fuel your drive all the more.
It is not easy being a writer and rejection is part of that, but for every rejection you learn, you move forward, YOU MUST be receptive to criticism and take it as a place to learn from. If you believe: YOU WILL succeed.
Have a great Monday and an amazing week everyone!
Where do the weeks go, it’s like God has reset all the clocks in the house and it can’t really be mid-October can it?
Yesterday we had no power and I had the oddest experience… at midnight; my dad standing in my room shining a torch in my face saying, “There is no power.” What? ” The new boiler…” (only fitted Monday!) “… has leaked water all over the garage floor.” Oh. “And none of the power will come back on.” In my half-dazed state, I think I grunted and couldn’t help think the torch in my face was really from an alien and the apocalypse was upon us. Well, am reading The Girl With All The Gifts! Then he said, “So no point you getting up early as you can’t work, is there? Thought you needed to know.”
“Oh. Yeah. Thanks, Dad.” I think.
So that is why there was no post yesterday.
I got up at a ‘normal’ time, went to the gym, the man put me through my paces personal training me and boy can I feel it this morning. Then I took him out for a healthy lunch (a reward for hurting my muscles? Er…) as it would have been Lee’s birthday (in heaven eleven years next week) so I thought in an odd way, going out with the new man seemed a good thing to do… well you know what I mean. We toasted Lee with our slimline tonics. And when I came back we had power (boiler isolated) and being looked at, hopefully, fixed, tomorrow. So we don’t have heat but thankfully it’s not that cold.
And so here I am today with power. We all have power.
The power to write. The power to be whatever we want to be. The power to live our dreams. And right now the power to look forward to another weekend. I will, of course, be working all day Sunday as I have three lovely mentoring clients at Cornerstones at the moment so have some chapters to read 🙂 as well as the other 7/8 novels all lined up and being edited on weekdays over the next few weeks. Did I tell you I love my writerly life? 😉 I have the power! Oh and my own writing in the mornings too of course!
So everyone, have a fantastic weekend, whatever you do.
Do you have the power?
After the gym this morning, and enticing as it is in the new gym I have to try to prise myself away from doing as many classes (!) I will be lunching with Mum before I work this afternoon, a bit of bonding time that I feel we need 🙂
I do have a lot of work and I am trying to meet deadlines, but I also think if you don’t find the time for one another, friends, loved ones, nearest and dearest, life has a way of running away with itself and chasing deadlines doesn’t allow you stand back and live in the moment. So. Do. It.
Today, take the time to live in the moment. That is all. Simple message.
What with everything else that’s been going on in my life lately, I have had less time to write in the mornings, and somehow that stops me feeling right. I am sure you all know where I am coming from. This week work is pushing me to edit in the mornings and so some of the writing is being pushed until later if at all and I get techy! But from next week my new routine will be back into full swing and I can not not write!
I remember when I first said those words: I write therefore I am and even in another job at the time I told people I am a writer. I made the switch inside my brain and as soon as I did everything else fell into place. It was a truly empowering feeling. If you write and you wish to be successful there is no other way than to write every day, or every week day in my case but to establish a routine — and to show up at your desk to write, no matter what. I need to remind myself of this simple thing as I start a new chapter of my life next week and hopefully, very soon, all the other pieces will fall into place for our new home to follow in the next few months.
Writing is a passion; it’s a way of connecting all the dots; it’s a way of making sense of the senseless. It’s when I feel most at one inside my own skin. So when life tugs and pulls me in other directions it can be hard, it can be a challenge. All I ever used to want to do was write and now I find I want also to make the time for other things: to live my life, right? So I also realise that those forces are part of reshaping; of changing the patterns of our lives and sometimes we need to listen because from that change can come wonderful things.
Do what you love, every day. Listen to your intuition… but whatever you do, feel it in the heart — because that way you will always be happy.
That is all. Have a wonderful Wednesday everyone!