Thursday, 25 October 2012


It's been a damp, misty and chilly old half-term...and we've all been a bit subdued.
The nine year old has been dreading his twice-yearly dental appointment with a quite unprecedented terror (although his teeth are always fine). The six year old hasn't been getting on very well with his best friend - and doesn't have a clue how to deal with it (mainly tears so far).  And I've been feeling a bit glum about the predictable lack of agent-enthusiasm for the book I spent a year on. God, I hate feeling all the hope gradually seeping out of me as through I have a slow puncture.

To cheer ourselves up we have...
...shopped for new Nintendo games and art supplies, then had a lovely lunch at Pizza Express. Tony Adams and his family were at the next table - which delighted my husband, although me...not so much. I was more interested in my Vanilla Fudge Sundae.
...been to see Hotel Transylvania with bagfuls of smarties, mini-eggs and jelly worms. Husband and self looking forward to Skyfall next week - with rather more grown-up treats (dry martinis are probably in order!)
...And this morning we caught the Halloween Special - a little train that took us on a treasure hunt through the Forest of Dean...

The woods were pretty and autumnal...

...and a little bit spooky. There go the boys looking for clues!

And there were lots of pumpkins...

The stations and the cafe were decorated with strings of sparkly ghosts, spiders and (more) pumpkins!
And here's the loot - both boys found gold coins, halloween badges and balloons.

I've been avoiding my blog a bit lately because I started it to document the progress I was making with my writing and to be honest, there simply...hasn't been any. 
It was to be expected, I know - I've read the statistics a million times. That doesn't make it any less depressing though.
I got fairly swift rejections (all form letters and no feedback) from half a dozen of the agents I submitted to. From the remaining six - a deafening silence. I suppose they've all been net-working madly in Frankfurt instead of trawling through their slush piles *sigh*
The first one always stings a bit because it means your book is resistible. Until that one arrives, you can cling to the impossible dream that your ms will take agentland by storm and spark a frenzied bidding war. (Admittedly that was always a very distant dream!)
Then there's one that comes out of the blue and somehow makes all your hopes crumble - as if you've received a sudden, unexpected kick in the shins. For me this was the rejection I got from PFD yesterday. I sent it late on Tuesday evening on a sudden whim...and was rejected at 9.30 the following morning. It felt as if Janelle Andrews had batted it back to me like a pesky mosquito! 
Ow, ow, ow!
That was the one that really forced me to come to terms with the likelihood that my book isn't going to get picked up this time.
So I'm going to have to focus on all the reasons I want to be a writer (I doubt I could give up now even if I tried) and remind myself of all the key words from the many writer's blogs I've visited over the last few years - such as PERSEVERENCE...DETERMINATION...PATIENCE...HARD WORK...(I feel exhausted just muttering them!)

I think there's a good chance I'm not pitching the damn thing right - or sending it to the right people.
I wrote about teenagers because that seemed like the most fun at the time. Teenagers take stupid, reckless risks, they get hopelessly - and hilariously - drunk when they're least capable of handling alcohol, and their romances always seem melodramatically intense. So teenage characters were irresistible!
But I wrote it for me - rather than a teenage audience. My friends who've read and liked it aren't teenagers either. And the teenagers who most inspired me, were those from  books like 'The Secret History' or 'The Beach' - not books aimed specifically at the teenage market.
Then I read that if my main characters (especially the narrator) were teenagers, then my book was Teen Fiction. It seemed to be A RULE!
So I've been sending a book full of sex and drugs and swearing to children's agents, who may well have been recoiling in shock. But if I send it to agents of adult fiction, I can't help thinking they'll see at a glance that it's full of teenagers and turn it down flat. Teenage characters seem to inhabit a no man's land in writing.

The only answer is to try not to think about it too much (some hope!) and get on with writing the next one. I'd forgotten how daunting it is to begin all over again - with a blank screen, an empty notebook and characters I don't know the first thing about.
The only thing I know for sure is not to make them teenagers this time!!!

Sunday, 7 October 2012

Bed Hair

And whilst on the subject of hair...
I'm in the mood for a post in celebration of BIG hair. Nothing smooth or sleek or well-behaved here.
No. I prefer hair that's bouffy and pouffy and tousled.

                         All pouffy hair pictures from the lovely Lou, Boos and Shoes site.

Wednesday, 3 October 2012

A Little Extra Colour

I've been spending some time reading the blogs of YA writers Laini Taylor and Stephanie Perkins. Not only are the entries fun to read - sometimes funny or moving or silly or thought-provoking - they also support the theory that real people can be published writers.

They really do sound just like real people!
There's only one obvious difference between them and me - they have brighter hair. This weekend I decided that even if I couldn't be a published writer, I was damn well going to look like one. So my hair now matches my pillow cases...

Other people's reactions are quite good fun. Some people are complimentary, some are downright rude - almost all of them laugh. The children in my 9 year old's class have no qualms about laughing hysterically right in my face - it's strangely inoffensive laughter when it comes from nine year olds, though. The children in my 6 year old's class are liable not to notice at all - I think they still identify people from their eyes or faces - like babies do.
Lots of people have suggested I'm trying to look like Jane Goldman...
...And they would be right! Since she's yet another excellent writer with really loud hair. So that's what I've been up to this week - teasing my new hair and scrubbing pink dye off the bath. And the shower. And the sink. And all the towels *sigh*
Oh, yes! Handy writing tips - I haz em!