Friday, 29 June 2012

Tears are sometimes an inappropriate response to death.

Tears are sometimes an inappropriate response to death. When a life has been lived completely honestly, completely successfully, or just completely, the correct response to death's perfect punctuation mark is a smile. Julie Burchill

So how polished do you have to be when you send out submissions. Well of course your submission should be word perfect. Why? Well for one ,if you havent taken the time to be word perfect, punctuation and all, are you really that keen? how bad do you want to be published? It doesn’t show much willing if you don’t try and be perfect. I realised this with Goa Tarffic- maybe I had conceeded failure before I had even sent the submissions out. I can say for sure my first chapter wasnt thrilling- Goa Traffic has a slow star- but some books just have a slow start don’t they? Well maybe they shouldn’t as S J Watson recently tweeted – you wouldn’t watch a film where nothing happened in the first hour…. Dare I mention Castaway... maybe not FYI Tom Hanks is my favourite actor so I watched anyway – although the non-speaking business was a little tiresome.

So I have given my submission to someone in my writing group o punctuate (well I will send it this weekend). How have I reached this stage in my life with no idea on how to place a comma? I am ashamed – I cant even begin to describe! I am definitely going to be reading my language for dummies book again! 

But it got me thinking – what are agents looking for? Are they expecting really polished pieces of work? and if you are that polished surely it inhibits your creativity (or its me just being jealous of people who know how to punctuate) But lets move away from the puncuation… back to my age old argument that everything is subjective – What does an agent pick a writer on- well it must be a combination of things: 1) a novel will sell 2) a writer they like – likeability is super high on the list I think – it’s very important 3) a writer who produces good quality work – but what is more important – I would say the creativity – the plot but maybe I am wrong maybe it is the quality of work. I suppose it is all subjective and each agent will decide their own criteria- but anyways – I am waiting my return of the submission package so that I can send it on to 5 agents – Watch this space!

Ohhh and also H has finally started on my mobile site so you can now look at on your smart phone or i-pad without your eyes being totally offended by the garish unmatching colours!

Thursday, 28 June 2012

I Paint my own Reality

I paint my own reality. The only thing I know is that I paint because I need to, and I paint whatever passes through my head without any other consideration. - Frida Kahlo

Great so I got my first two star review- on good reads. Well it was bound to happen wasn’t it?! It was just a star rating not an actual review- I would have liked some words to see what exactly they didn’t like. It is good though in a year I have only had one bad review. I expeceted more when the kindle sales started to rise because the more people that read it the more will write reviews. What is comforting is the fact that if you are annoyed and don’t like something you are more likely to write about it than if you do like it. So I take some solace in that- although for £1.00 on Kindle are you really going to write a review if you don’t like it- some will of course but others are probably apathetic about it.

Another question I had was this- well not so much a question but a thought. I have just read Sugar and Spice by Saffina Desforge – if you have read my previous blog posts you will know that I loved it.   now that is solely on Kindle ( I think) and I gather the author is doing really well. Say J K Rowling (and I use her as an example because everyone know she got oodles of rejections and went on to be a multi-millionaire) well say she just self published Harry Potter – would it still be as successful? Of course not – because Harry Potter has had uber Marketing. This is what the publishing houses have I suppose in order to make millionaires-most of us don’t even want that- all we want is to make a living out of it so we can spend our days writing and not working!!! I think with the correct marketing a self pubbed book can make it – like Sugar and Spice but what marketing did she have? or was it just such a controversial book that it got people talking? after all Word of mouth marketing is unrivalled surely

FYI I love the above quote - writers like artists write because they have to, they need to and I definitely write whatever passes through my head... which begs the question are writers insane? or do they just have very active imaginations... or is it just creativity? I am not sure. I wouldnt call myself creative and I am pretty much straight down the line (not insane) but my thoughts are random- I have realised this from fellow workers. I do create scenarios in my mind all the time about what if's? Anyway thats another blog post altogether.

Friday, 22 June 2012

Treat every chapter as a short story

Treat every chapter as a short story – that’s what I keep telling myself and its working I think my writing is clearer and I am cutting down on the pointless info too. So I wonder how many words I will end up knocking out of The Bittersweet. It currently stands at approximately 82,000 words. I’m happy with that.

It’s odd I look back on when I first started writing. Googling ‘how to write a novel’  when I was in Goa, scribbling in a little notepad my words – that were soon to be edited so that they bore no semblance to what I had first written. Looking back it has been  along journey – well not so long – from 2008 till now that’s only 4 years – well 4 years is enough time. A book every two years in now my mission. I was reading Danielle Steels blog post the other day – she said that she types till her fingers bleed and that she works on a manuscript for 20 hours a day- wow no wonder she is where she is – after all she said it has all been down to hard work. Interesting fact - Did you know that her first book was published but the next 5 were not! Crazy huh! Its tough out there- it always has been – is it any harder now? Well now publishers don’t take your work directly you need an agent- or has that always been around- probably so.

I finished Sugar and Spice and I must say – go out and buy it- its good very good. I haven’t read much about the author although I started following her on Twitter. She is extremely knowledgeable about her subject matter which is probably why its such a good read and of course its controversial and makes you think… and we all like a thought provoking book.

I am currently reading a friends manuscript (from writing group) – of course I am in awe of his writing and his grammar and its nice to read something that someone you know has written. Also it’s nice reading the full thing as opposed to just snippets when we are in the group- I am going to provide general feedback about the book and not specifics- I am better at that then normal critiquing. 

I did a couple of Jubilee short stories the other day on the lens and the quill- weak is how I would describe them but Urmi said they were strong together- I’m not sure. Sometimes I worry that putting up ‘not so good’ and ‘never refined’ (I spend about a half hour on each max) stories up on that blog that people may read them and not want to read my books – which are totally a labour of love- I might add- I worry about this but I suppose at the end of the day its me-  My writing isn’t perfect and the stories are part of me and its all learning at the end of the day I guess… gee I’m such a geek.

Gee… I haven’t used that word since I read Archie comics. What happened to Archie comics? Jughead Jones was my favourite- I wonder what that says about me. I am sure someone somewhere has analysed this… The fact that I like Jughead Jones the best. Well Betty could be a little flaky, Veronica was up herself along with Reggie and Archie was okay but he still always fell for Veronica when we all knew Betty was nice- but I suppose nice doesn’t count sometimes…and I was only about 10 years old!

That’s another blog post all on its own!

Friday, 15 June 2012

When writing a novel a writer should create living people;

When writing a novel a writer should create living people; people not characters. A character is a caricature. Ernest Hemingway

Well, well, well let it be known that my punctuation is appalling. Well it is already known but I read out in writing group ( when ever I say that I feel like a toddler) - and several people offered to punctuate my submission for me. I have to get the comma placing sorted. Why didnt I pay attention in English? someone else read out my work because I am hopeless at it. I showed them the first chapter of The Bittersweet Vine. The good news is that everyone liked it. I think I even got a 'terrific' - The general consensus was that my writing has improved a great deal. I dread to think of what they thought of my work when I first started there and I also got a few constructive criticisms that I have taken on board and added to my first chapter.

By the end of the weekend I should be all set with the first fifty pages. I have shortlisted 5 writing agents to send my submissions to as well. I am pretty happy with my new editing technique. Spending a full evening on a chapter is good. Giving myself that goal has slowed my impatient nature down. So now I know that it will take me 50 odd days to finish the final draft- well its never really final is it- lets say penultimate draft- and I am taking my time on it- The reaction to chapter one from my writing group tells me this method is pretty good. So obviously the first 4 read throughs were a waste of time - never - now I know the characters and what I am trying to put across to the readers.

I am pretty excited about completing The Bittersweet Vine. I am closer to where I want to be in my life- do I think I will get a publisher? I don't know - in my heart or hearts - no- Its a great psychological thriller but they are two a penny these days surely?! I don't know.
My new plan is this - send out 5 submissions -meanwhile doing a deep clean edit of my draft - wait for feed back and submit another 5-10 three months later (that's October people) - Then next summer self publish - first to Kindle - then paperback.

Now I know a couple of people of the editing variety I am hoping I can get the book edited cheaply. Three very kind members of my writing group offered to punctuate my submission for me!

 I am taking some of the pressure of on trying to get so much done (writing wise).

If you fancy something to read- have a look at


Monday, 11 June 2012

Dying is like coming to the end of a long novel...

Dying is like coming to the end of a long novel--you only regret it if the ride was enjoyable and left you wanting more.

well... what to say Max died this morning. RIP Max. Cinderella is left on her own but looking much better if a little weak. I hope she picks up. Anyway I wont bore you with the fish saga - however I have noticed that I have more followers on twitter since tweeting about them. Maybe it is more exciting tahn my writing.

I had a pretty productive day yesterday - edited the first chapter of the Bittersweet. I am taking a new approach to editing. I normally race to get through each chapter which results in me having to do hundreds of edits but this time I am only going to do a chapter or two a day - they are short chapters- so in about 40-50 days I should have the final edit. Lets see if I can do that. I'll let you know how I go.

I am still reading Sugar and Spice and enjoying it and I have decided to follow more people in teh writing world on twitter I am hoping it will inspire me.

A new set of short stories is being drip fed onto my other blog as well: and currently I am happy with my writing-life balance - it doesnt happen often!  Recently I was inspired by the Market series on BBC (It made me feel like I wasnt really esxperiencing life- just working 9-5 in an office- like I was on the periphery of life which made me think markets are a hub of life - they  are packed to the seems with different things going on) and  I would love to do a short stories selection set in the markets... Hopefully with photos but maybe I will just do my own if I cant get photos to match. Mmmm now there is an idea - a short story compilation.

Thursday, 7 June 2012

If today were a fish I'd throw it back

If today were a fish I'd throw it back.

Oh the drama. I havent been on here in a while as I have been busy with my synopsis - constructive comments from Abingdon Writers and I am polishing it ready for submissions. I have to of course work on my first three chapters amd I need to do that stat.

The issue I have had has been with my pet goldfish - Max and Cinderella. They are not well after three weeks. H has been to the pet store and the nitrate level in the water is too high... They also have white spot- I am treating them for all and sundry but who knows if they will pull through - I dont know why I am so attached to them but I am and now look what's happened.

But back to writing. I am currently doing quite a few short stories - which can be found at The Lens and the Quill (see link on the right) at the moment I am doing stories set in Berlin, Madrid and Paris and I am really enjoying writing them. Sometimes I think a short story just an introduction to a novel - with many short stories you can probably make them into novels. It's an interesting thought and concept- maybe I will try it out.

We really wanted to self publish a selection of the short stories on to Kindle - but with Pictures I dont think that will work- maybe I will email one to my kindle. Now that I have worked out how to do it.

Anyway... lots has been happening in the literary world and my reading. I am now reading Saffina Desforges Sugar and Spice - it is definately an interesting read - and I dont feel so bad about the formatting of Goa Traffic now that I am reading stuff on Kindle- I think I did okay.