Tuesday, 18 December 2012

If you’re not making mistakes, you’re not writing.

If you’re not making mistakes, you’re not writing. Just like life. It’s as simple as that. – Rita Clay Estrada

I have mentioned this website before but it’s so good I thought I would give it another mention. Recently when I researching something or the other – probably what questions to ask a literary agent I found this site again: Writers beware. Well I actually went looking for it because I knew it would be filled with good nuggets of information. I was right it gave me the information I wanted but I also found something else of interest and that was a good article on Copyright. New authors all over the world want to know how to protect their work. I did read one article where it said – agents don’t want your work – why do you think someone would steal it? I have got to admit I feel a little like this but a small part of you doesn’t want to see years of work being stolen and used by someone else. Another article said post it to yourself – does this count? I doubt it.  But What to do when you are sending out your work? I too have foolishly put a copyright mark on unpublished work. The reality of the situation (as I see it) is this:

Basically if you are in a writing group and they have watched your work develop – this is a plus – it’s a group of witnesses.

However, going through anything legal (if you are relatively unknown) – a basement writer – is what I call people like me - it is going to have a mammoth cost- there wont be a question of witnesses. In fact the only time you would need them is if say you were Dan Brown and rolling in the royalties – then someone else claims you stole their work- thats when the witnesses would help. And never say never remember JK Rowling was once just a house wife or something of the sorts.

I know people are confused about the matter but I think this article on writer beware will help clarify your thoughts on the matter.

This will probably be my last post till after Christmas. I really feel I need a time out. I am finishing The Bittersweet (last edit I hope) to send to my agent mid Jan. It’s then going for a proof read/copy edit so it can be sent to publishers at the end of Jan. Keep your fingers crossed for me.

I have also been trying to understand punctuation in regards to speech marks. I think I need to understand punctuation first. I spent hours last night trying to find out what sentences start with capitals when in speech marks. Google was not helpful – also back to who and whom… I am still struggling with that but I think I am slowly getting there. Hopefully that grammar course will help me next year. So kids the lesson of the day is pay attention in English Grammar- if you still have English Grammar courses.

Of course 2013 will bring many writing opportunities. I am now working on a short stories book for Kindle as well, with Urmi Kenia. To see what we currently do check out my other blog, The Lens and The Quill (see link on the right). I may even put a Chupplejeep short story in there – just to give you a flavour of what is to come…. All the short stories will be set in India – which I guess will tie in nicely with Goa Traffic. Anyway watch this space. I am looking forward to the New Year.

Have a wonderful Christmas and New Year everyone!

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Don't be dismayed by the opinions of editors...

Don't be dismayed by the opinions of editors, or critics. They are only the traffic cops of the arts.
- Gene Fowler
So today I feel like I am drowning. Now that I have an agent and I want to get The Bittersweet Vine (TBV) submissions out as soon as possible I have to re-visit it. Before I was going to give my brain and poor eyes a rest and start editing  it again in January. So Poor Chupplejeep gets put to the back of the pile again. I have now set myself a deadline of Middle Jan to get TBV beyond perfect. With work being as busy as it is and the fact that I have to go to the gym I am wondering if I get up early to do some editing.

You see the kind of person taht I am makes me want to still work on Chupplejeep because I said I would do that. I also have a ton of books to read- again which I said I would do. trying to fit it all in is becoming impossible.

Okay - rant over. Back to work for me. I hope there is light at the end of the tunnel.

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Learning to be more observant...

Learning to be more observant…

So I was reading The Complete Handbook of Novel Writing and I came across a really good chapter- written by Donna Levin about, what she calls Killer Diller details.

Basically in a nutshell the advice was to write down 5 observations at the end of every day. Because as a writer you have to be observant – when you describe a suit for example (and here is showing not telling) say its chalk stripped and double breasted she says – don’t just say it’s a suit- if it’s a manky cat say it’s tail was matted not just that it was manky – I am paraphrasing here.

The level of your description is down to you but make the detail worth reading!  I am one of those oblivious people that could probably walk past an elephant without noticing it. Since becoming a writer I have started becoming more observant – you do by nature- you notice how people react to certain things. And Nature – you notice how beautiful and how ugly things are. But I feel I need to be more observant… maybe because I started life with no observational skills at all. Donna Levin says to notice the things you would otherwise miss. I want to notice more because there is so much out there- as writers we are lucky – our muse’s and our inspirations are out there for free. So that is what I am going to start doing every day or maybe every other day.

Levin says that you should provide more detail if the subject is unfamiliar to the reader. I did this in Goa Traffic, but I think the description was unbalanced by too much telling. Although I have been complemented on the description… to me it feels unbalanced (now obviously and not when I was writing it or published it for that matter). I am going to notice more (which may also make the weekly shopping more interesting) and hopefully my writing will be richer for it!

Monday, 3 December 2012

I have been successful...

I have been successful probably because I have always realised that I knew nothing about writing and have merely tried to tell an interesting story entertainingly.
- Edgar Rice Burroughs

It has been a while. I hope you enjoyed the Next Big Writer Blog tour and have found some new and interesting up and coming authors. It has been a busy couple of months for me...and now I have an agent!

Yes it has all happened so fast. I wont bore you with the details but the gist of it is this: I got a response for my submissions, sent off  the manuscript after a sleepless week trying to get my spelling and punctuation right (that's to H for helping there) - I sent it off on a Friday feeling all happy until I found out it had track changes on which my old version of word didn't pick up- anyway I apologised and set it again. A couple of weeks later I received a lovely review of my book (it is an amazing feeling when someone you don't know says its a good book)- the review was good it picked up bits that I was unsure about and the reviewer highlighted areas that could be improved. It also highlighted just how bad my grammar and spelling is - I'm trying. I really am! I then spoke to the agent and received an offer. Now if you know me you'll know I don't often ask that many questions. I don't know what happened to me but I sent the agent an overload of questions - thus showing I am a complete nutter. Of course you have to ask questions and you have to be sure but - and I blame the stress here- I went a little over the top- Even H agrees. But anyway - I got responses and I was happy with them. So I accepted (cue fireworks and champagne).  I will let you know which agent it is as soon as I have the signed contract back in my hand. The agent agency seems very business focused which appeals to me - as you know juts how impatient I am.  I have a good feeling about 2013.

Also as a little end note of grammar and spelling - it matters- it really does- to publishers and agents. I always made submissions based on the fact that the agent/publisher is going to make changes no matter what. However, I have come to realise. You have to give them something tat is going to be so good - they wont want to make changes and your spelling and grammar have to be good as well. The oxford Style Manual sits at the bottom of the stairs. It is huge I don't know where to begin.

Also I have to get cracking with Chupplejeep!!!! I am currently reading books by Indian authors to give me a flavour of Indian life. Its not hard writing about Goa because its so deeply etched in my mind but sometimes you forget how people talk etc. If you want to read about life in India - read one of Chetan Bhagats books. They are excellent for this type of thing. I am also ploughing through The Complete Handbook of Novel writing. Most of the tips I have read before through research on line but it is very comprehensive and gives some good pointers. Its a good lunch time read.

So things are on the up for me but I find myself wondering when I am going to fit everything in?!

Will keep you posted... Also small 40p increase in Goa Traffic has resulted in highest sales ever this month! what's that about? the experiment continues but my break-even point is now in sight!!!