I’m delighted to say that my short story SCARLET STREETS will be included in FUGUE II ; an upcoming anthology from The Siren Press.
You can read about and purchase the first FUGUE collection at The Siren Bookshop.
The above picture shows me a year ago at the East Midlands Writers’ Conference, listening, I think, to visiting Literary Agents’ panel. I can assume it’s this from the frightened look I am giving the back of the person in front of me’s head.
Submitting seems to be a very isolating process. For starters, there’s no set formula for responses, and you can’t really expect one as agents are shockingly busy. But it means that both ‘no news is good news’ and ‘if you haven’t heard, you’ve heard’ are both viable options. And no one really talks about their own process. There are a few scattered blogs, but even they don’t mention which specific agents said ‘no’, which said ‘maybe’ and which took nine months to reply. That being said, every single person (be they an agent, writer or reader) on Twitter has been massively supportive and I can’t get over what a great community it is. If I am floundering too hard, they’re lobbing me life-rings.
So what have I been doing (aside from refreshing my inbox)? I’m working on Book Two. So far I’ve managed a first-draft chapter every set writing day, so with any luck the first draft will be complete soon and then the editing can begin.
The only downside to the weird sense of relief I got from submitting has been another WIP creeping out of the woodwork and demanding to be written. I may have plotted it out. And I may have written a synopsis and I may have done the first four chapters just to shut it up.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to press F5 before I open Word again…
I’ve picked up my activities on Twitter lately, and have had the good fortune to ‘meet’ and get to know many wonderful writers. Of course following more people means being able to get a glimpse into their conversations, and one topic keeps on cropping up: support.
Now, I am very lucky. I don’t think it’s right to bluff over my privilege, so I won’t bother: I do not have a full time job. I used to, but stopped when I had my son. It was whilst I was pregnant that The Mr and I talked about me writing as close to full time as I realistically could, and that’s what happened. My mother has J two and a half days a week, and The Mr works Continental Shifts, so I get time in the week to settle at my desk.
My family have always been supportive of my writing (especially my dad, who has a special ‘serious’ expression he puts on when asking me about it). But, as I said, I am lucky.
When I asked on Twitter for people’s comments on the support they did or did not get, these were some of the responses:
The Restless Minds team.
I’ll be reading at these upcoming events, and it would be great to see you there!
Twisted Tongues: 31st March, Derby.
I’ll be reading my short story London Underground, that was included in the Restless Minds anthology.
Reading at Five Leaves Bookshop: 29th April, Nottingham.
At this fiction reading, I’ll be contributing a sample of my WIP Ever After – an LGBTQ+ Paranormal Romance.
Watch this space for more.
However, it was not with this novel. Like many people, my first novel simply wasn’t right. But I still love it, and the characters, and would love to rewrite it one day.
In my time querying I learnt so much about craft and writing, and most of this learning came from reading – something I hadn’t done enough of during my MA because I was so busy with academia.
So don’t be disheartened, friends, if your NOVEL 1 doesn’t gain you representation. Just keep writing.
Original post below:
It would be embarrassing to mention when I first started working on NOVEL 1 (for anyone who knew me then, let me personally apologise). It didn’t have the same name, back then. Or, even, the same target audience.
The story was much shorter, and there were all sorts of threads in it that needed tying up. There were also at least three characters who got the chop and have never been heard from again.
Do I miss them? No. Is the story better for their loss? Yes.
Ditto words. Mountains and mountains of words. When you’re first told that aiming for 80,000 words is a decent target, it at first seems impossibly long, and then, as you get into your flow, impossibly short.
But then comes editing. Glorious, terrible, frightening-as-hell editing. I would have hated to do this bit alone. I am so lucky to have worked with authors, poets, freelancers and bloggers as well as good friends on clipping, chopping, slicing and generally grooming away at the manuscript. As I’ve said in a Previous Post, workshopping is the best thing you can do at this point. As many fresh eyes as possible helps for a good going-over of the text.
So, where am I now?
Actually, I’m at the rather terrifying stage of querying agents. Those busy, busy bees. So NOVEL 1 is off in the world, in their inboxes, waiting patiently to be judged like a toddler in a beauty contest.
Am I scared? You’d better believe it.
But, as the same time, I’m taking what Graham Joyce told me to heart. Everyone gets rejected at some point. And not to sit refreshing your inbox every five minutes. Get on, and feed that creative muse. Write the second book.
So, that’s what I am doing. And right now, I’m hopeful.