Yes folks, I have it.
For the past two weeks my poor little fingers have been banging my poor little keyboard and together, we have churned out 15,000 words, more commonly known as eight chapters.
Alongside my book, we (my keyboard and I) have remastered two old scripts, taken from my bottom drawer; the dust blown off with hearty lungs until the air was filled with the remnants of gone-but-not-forgotten. We have entered three more competitions, the more recent with ‘Narrative’ magazine, who offer a startling $3,500 reward. Oh the joy! And with all that going on, we’ve reviewed a few pieces of great works of literature, penned by virtual friends and I (without keyboard) have finished reading Jane Eyre.
So, I asked myself this morning, what is a girl to do when she is just a little weary of words, battered by books, weathered by witing, otherwise known as fiction fatigue? (And yes, I meant to spell witing that way. Writing doesn’t rhyme). What is a girl to do when the relationship with her keyboard turns sour? What does she do when she takes one look at him and thinks he’s fat and ugly? When she touches his digits and thinks they really need some time apart.
Yes, you’ve guessed it. Go shopping!
So, I’m off. All day. And only after I have bought myself a new hair clip, (desperately needed because, I haven’t left the house in weeks and it’s grown to such startling lengths, that my other poor little hairclip won’t hold it up), and only after I buy my kids some new underwear so that their little bottoms don’t pop out of the top, will I return.
Back writing, I mean. Oh, what joy, to see the words of my new novel form onto a blank white page! You have surely felt this, dear reader/writer, when a story that doesn’t yet exist, begins to unfold, as you, the author of said masterpiece, pens it with ideas originating and unraveling from the far, dark reaches of your suddenly-creative brain.
You won’t begrudge me this moment, dear reader/writer, when I tell you of a week that has been inspirational and productive and highly rewarding. For doesn’t it make a change?
I took a stand this week. I found myself blindingly immersed in an internet site that is, and always has been, a place of high interest, evolving friendships, and great works of literature that one can read and offer opinions of, by way of review or critique. BookRix is the name. A peer review site, which takes the writer’s ego and allows it to prosper; leaving the negativity of agents and publishers at its door, allowing its authors of all ages, genres and skills to showcase their talents via virtual books, where the pages actually turn.
But beware, dear reader/writer if you succumb to the envious attractions of this seductively enticing site, because within its wall lurks something that is both terrifying as it is startlingly addictive, like the most potent of drugs. The beast that lies within its virtual walls takes the form of a forum; a term so easily proffered as it rolls off the tongue, yet one that is dangerous to go amidst for fear of being hooked and captured until you can no longer leave unscathed.
This happened to me, dear reader/writer, and thus I urge you to travel carefully the path to its door. Inside the forum are rooms, called groups. And within these rooms, virtual beings await, attempting to enrapture you with their playful banter, their clever wit and their protective voices as they hear your pain. One such place, I can hardly say its name: the coffee shop; named thus, strategically, with the intention of enticing you to its cyber structure, so that the smell of fresh coffee and newly baked croissants may seduce you, as it refreshes your writing palette.
Its leader, Paper.planes; a woman both mysterious as she is engaging; the coffee shop’s creator and keeper and one who reigns over the inhabitants with a gentle warm embrace. Beware, dear reader/writer, her beguiling, soothing voice, as she takes your hand and leads you inside, and take care when the door is at last closed and the means of escape never to be gained.
And beyond those walls, another, equally as cunning and beguiling, named Lineh; the ruler supreme, the voice of reason when the writers within the rooms revolt and rebel. Lineh: a woman whose influence drives the masses, the one whose undisputed power and effect is unrivaled, a woman we revere with ease and willingness. Mark her word, dear reader/writer, for it is with great wisdom she offers it plain.
So, here I am, free of its clutches for a short time. It was a difficult journey; my escape. It was an action made on a whim as I battled and tore down the vines laden with thorns that held me prisoner within its walls. Then, with the distraction of its jovial and sometimes explosive debates behind me, the rulers of this strange place once again offered cleverly spun tactics to entice me back into its fold: a winning story, giving me financial rewards; an offering of wealth for a simply penned short prose. How cruel they are, indeed.
But, while their virtual claws grab at my weakness of self-will, I resist, spending a momentous few days completing four more chapters of my new book. Now my office; a haven away from the attractions of the coffee shop, once more echoes the rattling sound of my keyboard, as my fingers fly across its letters, creating pages of a story, oh so dear to me.
Dedicated to Beth (Paper.planes) and inmate, Faith.Ruelle, both of whom are currently recovering from serious illnesses, and to Lineh, who I hope will return soon.
It’s Saturday night, the family's watching Dr. Who (Yuk), so here I am surfing the internet, in one of those aimless kinda ways. Clicked on Facebook; nothing much happening there. Ebay; yep, got a few bids, nothing much else going on. My regular forums; hmm pretty quiet. My favourite home shopping site; yep, just bought another black skirt to go with my other 30 black skirts (varying, fabrics and lengths, in case you’re wondering) and now here I am writing my blog, wondering what to write about.
I’m at a bit of non-productive point with regards to writing my book. You’ve all gone through it. It’s not so much writers block, more like I-just-can’t-be-bothered-block.
Strangely, I was at the same point last year when I was writing The Perfects. I met a lull. The same lull I have now. It’s not serious. It gives me time to catch up with a bit of reading, concentrating on the kid’s homework, doing proper housework (like dusting), meeting friends for a cuppa and a chinwag. And I am positive that soon I will, as I did last year, get a little yearning to write a chapter or two and feel the fire in my belly once more flare up.
In the meantime I’m waiting to see some results of some competitions I have entered.
One of them is The Brit Writers awards. The results are due out any day now, and even though I don’t think I’ve got a chance in hell, I still allow myself an insy-winsy bit of optimism in the hope I have reached the finals. The other is a flash fiction contest I entered. Once more the results are pending and once more I find myself thinking, if only…
There are more. There always is with me. So I’ll let you know on which day my hopes are once again dashed. I like to be positive!
And while I’m pretty much talking about…well nothing...I must ask you, have you read Jane Eyre?
I’m reading it at the moment (nearly finished, sadly). I read it once when I was a young girl, but now, as I am older and wiser (well older) I have to say it is simply wonderful. Seriously, if you get the mind to, read it again and observe how she does it (Charlotte, I mean). Oh, to be able to write like that. And she did it all with a pen. Classic!
I had a heartfelt message off a reader yesterday and I‘ve promised to respond.
Polly said, “I've finished my first novel but have no idea where to go from here!? Do I look for an agent or just go straight to publishers?? How on earth do I write a synopsis of my story?
Polly, if you find out, could you let me
Seriously and I’m sorry to tell you, but you have only just finished your FiRST DRAFT.
My experience, coming from being rejected by agents many times over, makes me an expert on this issue. You haven’t finished your book and it won’t be ready to send out until you edit at least three times. Then after you have had the M.S reviewed by a peer or someone who specializes in editing (sometimes an expensive undertaking), you get to edit it a couple more times after that.
Edit, edit, edit.
I am in earnest, Polly. I have worn that T.Shirt. I have put ‘The End’ on my manuscripts, and I have popped it into an envelope with optimism gushing from every lick of the seal. Now, here I am; still dragging my feet along that elusive road to publication.
My advice, and if you haven’t already done so, go join a peer review site on the internet and start throwing ideas around with newly made friends.
Here’s a few, but there are others to choose from if you search. http://www.bookrix.com/ http://www.circalit.com/news/ http://www.authonomy.com/
Whilst you are having your manuscript trashed or celebrated by unknown faces, go do your research on agents. Yes, it’s agents every time. Generally, publishers won’t touch a manuscript that has been submitted by the writer.
There are various places you can get a list of Agents, but my personal favourite is First Writer. http://www.firstwriter.com/
If you pay a small annual subscription (£8p.a. or thereabouts,) they will send you updates of what is happening in the market place with regards to agents and publishers.
When you find your list, it is important to choose an agent by genre. There’s no point sending a fantasy based MS to an agent who only handles cookery books. Also, you gain brownie points if you address your cover letter to the agent by name. Just don’t put Dear Mr. Smith
when you’re sending it to Mr. Brown, like I did once. They don’t like it. I still have the abusive email by return to prove it. Ouch!
Ah, the dreaded synopsis! I hate them. I’m terrible at writing them and I have found that most new writers are the same. If you get it right (it may be your strength for all you know), it will be the icing on your cake and you can start munching.
There are rules of course, but I find that a lot of the time the rules differ from agent to agent. Some want a single page, some want two pages and others want a detailed synopsis that describes each chapter.
I generally prepare a long synopsis, a short one, a blurb, a logline and a cover letter in advance and store them in my M.S file. Then when I know who I want to submit to, I pull out the appropriate pieces.
How you write it? Take every exciting morsel from you book and write it as if you were preparing an advertisement that will sell your product and make you a mint. Have it in your mind that the better it is, the more you will gain, and don’t sell yourself short, as I often do.
Good luck, Polly, and to all the writers out there who are still travelling the road.
When you arrive, I’ll see you there.
Not really. Just testing. My stats shot up to an all-time high on Monday and I want to see if they shoot up again.
Is it the title I wonder? ‘Axe to grind’. It means trouble…yeah fight…lets go check it out.
Is it: Wendy has posted a new slogblog? Can’t wait to see what she’s written.
…So, it’s the title, huh!
Let’s explore that.
What’s in a title? I have a huge interest in names (same thing) and when I include an unusual name in my stories, I make reference to it via dialogue, so that my own, personal interest in the name becomes real via the story.
My computer guy (he fixed things for me) is called Neil Buzzard. When he visited my house and introduced himself, so enamored was I with his name, I begged him to let me use it in my new book. He was delighted (naturally), so now one of my main protagonists in ‘The Song of the Underground’ is called Mark Buzzard. (Check out the first seven chapters in my ‘novels’ link)
It was a strange occurrence at the time because I was naming my characters that live below ground after birds, so his name suited the plot perfectly.
Recently I took a name from a dear friend, Valerie Byron. ‘Byron’ the bird catcher is also featured in my new book.
Today I met a guy called Merlin. Yes, that’s his real name. I have asked him if I may use it. If he doesn’t turn me down, Merlin will become the herbal dispenser in my city of Sous Llyndum.
In my previous books, I have Tom Stone, borrowed from another dear friend called John Stone.
In another I used Killa for my female protagonist. Killa is my paternal grandmother’s maiden name.
I initially called that book ‘The Killa girl’, but I was critiqued-out when I was told by numerous fiction slaters that it may mislead the reader, seeing as she wasn’t an actual killer. I still dispute that to this day, but naturally wanting to cater to my audience, it is now called ‘In the shadow of Strangers’. A good enough title, but I would still resort to ‘The Killa Girl, given half a chance.
So, if you want your book read, my advice, for what it’s worth, is to get the title right and throw in some unusual character names, which makes the reader wonder why you chose that. A name they can enjoy for just being what it is.
Byron, Buzzard, Stone, Merlin, Killa…Fabulous. Even though I say so myself.
So, off you go. No axes grinding here.
I’ll tell you tomorrow if my stats shoot up again, based on this title. I may be wrong, but I reckon people love a good rough and tumble. (Smiley face with a wink)
What’s the point in having a blog if one can’t use it to grind ones axe? Yes folks, I am a victim…a victim of bbb…bad fff...feedback. I can hardly say the words.
This is what happened.; I met this guy…
Seeing as times are hard, I am selling my collection of autographed pictures. Ordinarily, I am not a ‘seller’. I am a buyer. Have been for over twelve years and I have retained a 100% feedback rating throughout. Very proud of it I was, until this cad disguised as an Ebayer (he's a dealer) came along and destroyed it out of sheer spite.
I sold him five postcards. It was stated in the details that they were printed signatures and he got them for £1.99 each. After allegedly stitching him up on postage (even though I reduced the original total), I sent them off.
I had a message a day later, telling me he wasn’t happy with the condition because there had some marks on the back. Forty/sixty year old postcards! Was he insane? I wondered. Nevertheless and even though my policy was ‘no returns’, I told him I would give him his money back, seeing as he wasn’t happy.
Next minute (I kid you not) he left insulting feedback and my rating dropped to 86.6%. I complained franticly, called him a tosser, or something to that effect, contacted Ebay who deleted one of his comments, but now I am still, after 12, yes, TWELVE years, a bearer of negative feedback. Oh the shame!
So here’s my axe; ‘my blog’, and I’m grinding it all over the name of this cad-esque Ebayer, ‘The demonteacher’, who has left the remnants of his miserable existence all over my home page.