Wednesday, 30 January 2013

The Sound of Silence

 My book is finished. After months and months and months of revisions I've sent it out into the world and now I am left bereft.
 There is a strange sense of something missing. An emptiness almost. A space in my brain where my story used to be. The silence is deafening.
 But it is also quite pleasant. After a few days of wandering around a little lost I start to enjoy the peace. My subconscious isn't constantly worrying away at plot problems and character motivation, I don't have a nagging voice in my head pushing me to keep writing and the empty space in my brain is slowly filled with the usual stuff of life.
 I find I have time to do other things, to go and see Les Miserables twice at the cinema and listen incessantly to the soundtrack, to go out sledging with my family in the snow, to go out with friends and make plans for holidays and spend a few hours mooching around the shops.
 I talk to my husband and my son and I listen to what they say - properly, without the distraction of the voice in my head that needs me to find a way for a to get to b or whatever.
 I am entirely of this world for now and not lost in my imagination and it's actually an enjoyable place to be. Of course I know it's only for a short time, soon the call will become too strong and I'll plunge into yet another idea/world/plot and be lost again but I believe this time is important. It gives perspective, it makes you appreciate all the things you already have in your life and it allows the creative part of my soul to rest and enjoy just being for a while.
 Now I'm off to enjoy a bit more down time, a bit more Hugh Jackman and the honest satisfaction of having completing a project to the best of my ability.

Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Sending your baby out into the world.

 Our books come to us as a new born idea. We must love it and nurture it and watch it grow. As it develops we must work hard to ensure it grows the right way, we must curb bad habits, prune away the unnecessary and hope the true beauty of our idea shines through.
 But all of this time we lavish, all of the care we give results, unsurprisingly, in a very strong attachment developing. We love our idea, the story it has become and the thought of sending it out into the world to be judged can be difficult.
 At this point it's useful to give it to those we trust, those whose judgement we have faith in and who we can rely on to be gently with our feelings. They can show us where we need to put in more work, areas that we might find difficult to see because we are standing too close.
 Hopefully those critiques will give us fresh perspective and with more work and care our stories can begin to shine.
 But the next stage can be one of the hardest because now we're expected to send our beautiful baby out to be judged by experts. And they might not see it's beauty, the care and effort we've invested, the love we've lavished. They may only see the things that are wrong with it, the mistakes we've made, the areas we forgot to polish. They may *SHOCK/HORROR* not love our baby at all. They may  *HORROR/SHOCK* reject it.
 The urge to protect out baby is strong, to keep it safe and warm and free from harm so surely we'd be best off keeping it in our hard drive and far away from those experts? can our book ever shine if it never sees the light?
 How can our work ever be appreciated if it's not out in the world?

And so, despite the fear involved in hitting the send button, in sending your baby out into the world, at some point, at some moment we have to let them go and find out if they can survive on their own.

Thursday, 17 January 2013

Super Submission Letter - Mark 1

Submission letters are hard. Trying to sound original but not quirky, trying to pitch your book but not sound arrogant, trying to make each letter individual but not sound like a stalker.
However, you should be reassured that as long as your letter sounds nothing like the one below you're probably not doing too badly ;)

Dear Sir/Madam

 I have riten a 900 page children's picture book about a vampire rabbit called Bunpire. His jurney to self enlitenment contains many important mesages that children need to know. I am sure once you have read the enclosed handriten copy you will agree that this book will make me milions.
 I have chosen you to reprezent my book and ensure I get the best deal posible including a large persentage of all film rights and merchandizing.
 I expect you to contact me forthwith with a contract so that no time is wasted and I can begin my meteorik rise to fame and fortune which will make even JK Rowling's career look mediocre.

Yours expektantly

A. L Ousywriter

P.S - I have also included my own drawings for which I expect to be paid dubble.

P.P.S - Please don't keep me waiting, if you miss out on this deal you will always regret it!!!!!

P.P.P.S - I have riten another 17 books about Bunpire's adventures and these will be available to you once the contract has been signed.

P.P.P.P.S - Please don't suggest any changes or editing as my genius cannot be interfered with or even understud by most people.

Monday, 7 January 2013

Happy Blogaversary!

Yes indeedy, my blog is officially one year old  (Wahooo!!) and I thought I'd host a little party!
Who to invite though, that's the problem? 
Well, a few of my favourite authors of course -

Roald Dahl - a genius in the art of writing for children and despite not being with us any more his work lives on forever. 

Cressida Cowell - author of the fabulous How To Train Your Dragon Books

Stephanie Meyer - I loved the Twilight Series and can't wait for The Host to be released as a film in March 2013

Suzanne Collins - Hunger Games trilogy is a masterclass in plotting and voice , adooore it!!!

Laini Taylor - Daughter of Smoke and Bone is incredible, read it now and then buy the sequel!

Kristin Cashore - Beautiful writer, read Graceling or Fire for some fantasic  fantasy world building.

I'll also need to invite some of the people who have written fab books on writing  - my personal favourites are these -

Harry Bingham - Getting Published - author and founder of the writers workshop  penned this very helpful book that covers all aspects of the journey to publication.

Nicola Morgan - Write  to be Published -  the crabbit old bag herself offers up some great advice on writing, agents and getting published.

Mary Kole - How to write Irresistible Kidlit. Mary is an American agent and her book was one of my Christmas presents (to myself!) It offers up very specific advice for childrens and YA authors, covers a great deal of writing craft and offers up examples from books on the market right now. Love this book, definitely recommend it to you all if you have any crimbo money lying around waiting to be spent!

Must not forget to invite some of the other blogs I've been reading over the past couple of years that have offered up such brilliant advice and support.

Notes from the Slushpile
Wonderful blog by Candy Gourlay, Maureen Lynas and others with a wealth of information. A must read!

Help I need a Publisher
Unfortunately Nicola Morgans blog is no longer active but has some brilliant posts on everything about writing.

Tall tales and short stories
If you love reading interviews with other authors and agents this is the blog for you! It's on a break at the moment but will hopefully be back with more insights into the writing process soon.
This is Mary Kole's blog, full of brilliant posts on the craft of writing plus a plethora of info on everything agent.

Most of all though,  I must invite all the lovely people who read or follow my blog - THANK YOU!!!!!
Let's face it, as writers we all want an audience and it's amazing to know that someone out there is reading what I post and your comments or emails really help me to know I'm not suffering alone!

I'm planning to keep blogging in 2013 and would like to start the year off with a positive vibe. It's all too easy for me to sink into despair or doubt or angst (as my faithful readers may have noticed!) and no doubt I will again as I gear up for another round of submissions but to begin 2013 I'd like to say 

                                               Hurrah for writing!!

 The creative process has far surpassed what I ever imagined when I first began writing two years ago. The journey has led me to discover much about myself, has taught me how to cope with challenges and rejection and just keep going. It has also led to me making some new and very lovely friends so with that in mind I wish everyone super good luck this new year -  including myself!

Let the party start ....