I've only finished the end of my contemporary chapters, though. I still have another three or four historical chapters to finish before I can break out my celebratory dance moves.
My wordcount is now 90, 000 words long - and it makes me feel an odd mixture of achievement and...doom. My first attempt at a novel was 134,000 words of utterly valueless writing. (Except as a learning experience, I suppose.)
That time, I bought a cheap (and quite nasty) bottle of champagne to sip as I typed the end. Then I went out and bought the Writers' and Artists' Yearbook - in a state of great excitement...
I spent a small fortune on stamps, envelopes, paper and inkcartridges and got to know the woman in the post office pretty well. And I can see now that I quite enjoyed it, in a way. It was all part of pretending to be a writer. But I don't want to go on pretending...it ends up with me feeling a bit stupid and delusional.
This time, I'm going to be more realistic about the fact that I've written 90,000 words that might never be read by anyone. There, I said it.
I've started making a list of the agents that look approachable and - more importantly - accept submissions by email. It's my sensible new rule. I'm going to try to invest slightly less - emotionally and financially.
And I've started to think about how I might word my covering letter (not too grovelly...but not too stand-offish...and not too informal or jokey or...oh, I don't know...) and synopsis (Um - it's a historical mystery romance for young adults? Gah - it's a jumble is what it is!)
Titles too... So far it's been Holiday at the Haunted Castle (but it isn't really a comedy - and if I don't take it seriously, I can hardly expect anyone else to, can I?) Then it was The Ghosts of Darkmere (but it isn't really a ghost story, so that wasn't quite right.) After that it turned into Kate's Holiday (meh!) Now it's The Hungry Castle (or is that awful?)
|The Hungry Castle?|
I'd like to enjoy the holidays and not keep trying to sneak away from my children to write a couple more lines. I want us to have pyjama days and DVDs...splashing in the paddling pool...play-dates and sleepovers with school friends...painting and modelling and lego... trips to the park, the cinema and the local cafes...
There are some great photos on the Cheltenham Art Gallery and Museum site...
...that show one of our favourite cafes and make me feel quite summery...
So that's my summer in picture form. Hopefully, I'll have finished my manuscript by the time it starts and will be able to relax. I can always fit in a little late night editing and polishing with a glass of cold pink wine...then it'll be all ready for the rigors of the submission process in September.