Friday, May 23, 2008

4,141 Words

So I'm three chapters into Pandora's Shoebox. This time I have a grand plan right from the start and it feels good. My writing group seems to like it - one member even described it as 'fun' and another, 'jaunty', which certainly could not be said of Amelia's Body.

Perhaps they're right - the ones who say that books are like pancakes: the first one is for the bin.



Dear A___________

I have now read your complete typescript.

I do think you write really well but I think there is a problem with the over-convoluted structure which makes for a rather disjointed, uninvolving read. I like the initial switches from the crime scene to the other characters but they need to be very focussed and highly plotted, and the timescale needs to be much clearer. After a while they become more confusing and distracting. At the moment it is lacking in narrative drive and tension (and it is also too long - it could be cut by at least 100 pages). There is also too much rather waffly dialogue which does not move the story on. I was left wondering what the point was - and also I was not sure who I was meant to be rooting for. It also sends mixed messages - part police procedural, part suspense, but the two strands are difficult to follow at the same time.

I would be interested to see your next work but I think this needs a massive rethink. I regret it is not something I could successfully handle. Thank you for letting me see your work which I am returning herewith.

With best wishes

Yours sincerely

J_____ M_____


She's totally right, of course. The bright side, I suppose, is it looks like I can take this as an invitation to send her the 'full' of my next WIP (when it's done) without first sending a partial and waiting for her response.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Well, I have nudged. Very gently. And I have also put the first 10,000 words of the book up on the new Harper Collins website -

As for the new WIP, I started writing Pandora in the end. So I suppose I really ought to be keeping a word count.

3,066 words. Fingers crossed for this one.


Monday, May 12, 2008

To nudge, or not to nudge?

It's been two months since I sent my full typescript to the agent. Can I email and ask how it's going? Or will that just annoy her into rejecting me out of hand?

Sunday, May 11, 2008

The Seaside

Just wanted to share this.

On Friday morning, the weather was so glorious that I had a brainwave: the following day we would go to the seaside! Then a reality-check: the roads would be chocka, the car would be hot, the packing and the early start would be a nightmare, etc, etc. It would all just be too much trouble.

Then, I had another brainwave: why not pack up that night and camp near the coast? So that's what we did. I googled for campsites and found one without any of the following words in the description: games room, bar, Sky TV, organised activities. And found one that allowed children, ball games and camp fires, demanded total quiet after 10.30 at night and only cost £13. I rang up - they had space for our tent - we went straight after work and woke up the next morning 3 miles from a perfect, deserted beach. It was pure heaven, and we were home in time for Dr Who.

So this is my plea - go to the seaside! Paddle. Eat a Mr Whippy ice cream and breathe the sea air. The British seaside is truly wonderful!


P.S. Take extra blankets though - it's still bloody cold at night.

Friday, May 02, 2008

Still hovvering

Still no news on the book.

I missed a flurry of activity from my fellow WWers last week - tagging in each other in their blogs, which I missed! I think I've already tagged all them in the list on the right - if not, I will.

So, what have I been doing with my Fridays since I sent off my 'full'? Well, I spent some time in corrections to my manuscript. Shockingly, I found that the typos got worse and worse towards the end of the book. I'd obviously gone over it less often than I had with the earlier chapters. I had even given two of the later chapters the same heading - unforgivable. It's all fixed now. At least, when JM rejects it, it will be in better shape when I start sending the partials out again.

I wrote a short story (Pandora's Shoebox) for the WOMAG market, which I've sent to Woman's Weekly, in the hope that it might make it into one of their fiction specials. Still waiting to hear.

I wrote a story a while ago (Privet) for The People's Friend, but they said it was "too melancholy". On the bright side, they promised to read a revision, and gave me a direct address so that I could bypass the slush-pile. I haven't done it yet. I've thought about it, but I just can't envisage the story without its melancholy bits. Maybe I should just start from scratch.

No further on with my novel-beginning Stina Trolldatter. Still only three chapters in existence. I think it's because I know it will involve a lot of research, and I'm reluctant to begin when I have no idea whether or not such a thing will sell - the idea got a mixed response from my writing group - very mixed.

I'm still filling index cards with ideas for a follow-up to Amelia's Body, but I haven't started writing it yet. It seems stupid to begin the sequel in earnest when I don't know yet whether or not the first book will find a home. You see? Limbo.

My only other idea, at the moment, is to expand Pandora's Shoebox into a novel for the women's fiction / chicklit market. I deliberately kept the story light and romantic for Woman's Weekly, but I had to go against my instinct, which was for a darker, more emotional tale. As a novel, I think that Pandora's marriage would still survive, but with complications. I don't know whether I should begin it. It is the strongest idea I have at the moment, but I'm dithering...