Thursday, 27 September 2012


It's been weird giving up the constant struggle to fit writing time into my day. I wonder what I did before...? Toddler and baby wrangling, I suppose.
At first, I kept opening my laptop and blinking at it, feeling a bit freaked by there being nothing inside it for me to dive into.
I should start a new story really, but waiting...waiting...and more waiting for feedback from agents makes it hard to settle to anything.
So, instead I have been repainting the dining room in Parma Gray...

And I've been doing endless autumn baking - cakes...pies...beef stews and chicken casseroles - mmm!
Marvel at my coffee and walnut cake - which I ate in my parma gray dining room, oh yes.

And I've completed my slightly-too-childish-and-icky dolls house project. Pastel walls, felt carpeting, tiny curtains - even paper roses climbing the outside walls. Please God somebody remind me I'm a grown-up!


 Do you want to see inside? No?
Well, in that case, I'm going to have to insist...

Before - bit boring and slightly grubby...

After - ooh luxury!


Of course pastel paint and paper rosebuds are all very well, but it bothers me that there's still no bathroom. I feel like a slum landlord *sigh*

No wordcount obviously - maybe I'll have a go at some short stories or free writing of some kind. I don't want to forget how to do it!

Friday, 14 September 2012

Submitting time...

September. It's already little bit chillier and ever so slightly darker in the mornings and evenings. I'm in socks again - and the occasional jumper.

Outside my window, there's a horse chestnut tree with a very brown and tired look. It's going to start dropping those giant leaves all over the garden any day now...
I've sewn all the little name-tapes into the new school uniforms, I've labelled the new lunchboxes and waterbottles and the boys have been back at school for a week now.

And, just like this time last year, it's also time to start submitting to agents again.

I know, I said I was going to practise my editing skills first...
As it turns out, I have no editing skills. I've read through my ms again and found a few typpos. I've shown it to a friend who said encouraging things. I think I'm just going to submit to a handful of agents and see if I get any feedback.

These are the agents I've chosen so far. They all seem to welcome commercial YA  - and they all accept submissions by email.
I'll try to find another three agents who don't look too scary later today, then wait to see if I hear anything.
It's a nerve-racking process, not least because all the agents want something different. The first five pages cut and pasted into an email...the first 10,000 words in a Word doc...the first three chapters in PDF. One requests a SHORT synopsis, another a VERY short synopsis. One wants this included in the covering letter, another prefers it as an attachment.
The pressure of getting it right makes my brain seize up and refuse to work properly. Statistically, I am bound to send something stupid to at least one of the above.

However...I read this quote from Sarah Davies yesterday - "Agent land is a feeding frenzy at the moment. Mss flying around, everyone reading madly, everyone seeking The Talent and jumping fast."

Ooo! I felt a real surge of excitement at the thought of being identified as Talent and jumped on fast! a literary agent, I meant...

Wednesday, 5 September 2012


So, there was champagne after all.
Husband booked a table for afternoon tea at the Montpellier Chapter and ordered champagne (very lovely champagne) to celebrate my having written lots of words - whether publishable or not.

The Montpellier Chapter Hotel

We sat in the conservatory amid much tropical undergrowth. There were rattan chairs, the sort of old encaustic floor tiles that I wanted to take home with me - and did I mention there was champagne? 
And a light made of floating glass bubbles...which we'll have to go back in the evening to fully appreciate.
Ooh - and cake!
 "Hurrah! I've typed many - many - words!"

I've printed it all out - and it's encouragingly weighty. My six year old said he couldn't believe I'd written so many words. "I'd've given up after ten pages," he said solemnly.
I had a go at 'editing' the first two pages and my wordcount shot up by over a hundred words - just like that! I find it impossible to spend a year making stuff up and trying to increase the wordcount - and then to suddenly whittle it away again. CAN'T DO IT!

I think I'm going to try easing myself into it by editing something else first. A while ago I met up with a couple of would-be writer friends and we all agreed to enter stories in the Costa Short Story Competition. Of course I went home and forgot all about it, but I was reminded the other day when I read a blog-conversation between two 'proper' published writers about whether to enter or not. They decided not to submit anything since it would be impossible to tailor their stories to meet the approval of the judges (intelligent  writerly types - who would want lyrical prose and meaningful subject matter) AND the voting members of the public (ignorant plebs - who would surely want sensationalist material with a twist at the end). Pah! I thought they were being both snooty and lily-livered.

So, I shall dig out an old story and take it apart - add bits - change the order - generally practise my editing skills before sending it to the Costa Awards. I can't see what there is to lose.