Sunday, 26 October 2008
I’ve been spending a lot of time working on a prologue to my novel ‘Blades of Time’ and putting together a longer, more in-depth synopsis.
Like most of us, I find the synopsis the hardest part of preparing a book proposal. Normally I’ve managed to complete a short, concise synopsis, which usually tells the story, however this time it didn’t tell the whole story so I was asked by an agent to make the synopsis longer and more detailed. I did this and it was okay, only when I sent it although she said the prologue really worked well and set up the book well, and the synopsis was clear and I’ve obviously worked hard, but it wasn’t for her.
I’ve been informed that Cornerstones are offering to read the first five pages and synopsis of a novel for free and are willing to give feedback of sorts. I think I’ll send this off there and see what happens. This will mean cutting down the synopsis by half, as it has to be on one side of A4 only. More work to do, but one day. One day I’ll get the publishing deal I want and start to earn from my writing.
So I’m off now to write, nothing new there then, and I’ll let you know if anything happens with the writing.
Thursday, 9 October 2008
I thought some of you might be interested in this writers retreat weekend. It is being hosted by Novelist Kate Allan (Leighton Buzzard Writers) and Journalist Ian Cundell 9Verulam Writers Circle St. Albans). All writers are welcome. Optional programme of workshops, 'write-ins' and inspiration sessions. 24-hour 'writers' lounge and quiet room. All bedrooms have dedicated word areas.
The weekend is: 29th -30th November 2008 at Silsoe Conference Centre (University of Cranfield) in Silsoe, Bedfordshire.
The weekend retreat including accommodation and meals starts from £98 pp
Book before 18th October 2008 with a deposit of £25
To book call 07973 218434
Check out the website: http://www.writersretreats.webeden.co.uk/
The reason I'm mentioning this is becuase I know lots of us don't get time to go off and write without interuption. this retreat allows you to lock yourself away and write. You don't have to join in workshops if you don't want to. The idea is to give you time to write away from distraction.
I hope to see some of you there.
Sunday, 21 September 2008
I was welcomed with a wonderful cup of tea and a warm reception.
We were quick to set to work, chatting about my aims with my writing and discussing a few of my synopses. We read through one or two and then I was asked to tell her what happened in the books. It was apparent from this that my synopses need much work. It was like wise with all the other synopses - I’m now going to rewrite them all. We then talked about my latest manuscript. Once again the synopsis didn’t live up to the sample chapters. We went on to discuss the opening, which the agent liked, straight in with the action, but as we spoke it was felt that the book could do with a short prologue giving a brief background.
After this the agent told me that I should stick with fantasy writing, as this is what makes my face light up when I talk about them. With this in mind, I’m now going to focus on fantasy rather than trying to force myself to write something I’m not really excited about.
I’ve been asked to send the revised work once it is complete, which I’m hoping will be finished within three weeks. However should it take longer, then it takes longer. I want this to be right before I send it. So there is a lot of work to do and at the same time I’m getting a writing friend to proof read my manuscript. Hopefully there won’t be too many typos, punctuation and grammatical errors.
A very productive and informative meeting, which I hope will help me move closer to my publishing deal.
I’m off to write.
Tuesday, 16 September 2008
I’ve just had the last three chapters handed back to me, with some positive feedback, and that is coming from a seventeen year old reading an 11+ fantasy novel. I’m hoping that a few of the pupils from school would be interested in reading the novel to give me their honest opinion. This can be quite scary, but actually really helps. If they like it, can understand what is going on and feel for the characters I know I’m on the right track.
This book is the first of a duo and the second book is already under construction. I’m working on the plotting and structure. I’ve got a base idea about what is going to happen, but I’m not sure exactly where the characters are going to take me, I only hope they make everything as exciting as they did last time.
Tonight I start my full read through without the red pen in my hand and only once I’ve done that I’m hoping I won’t have found too many errors in this my seventh rewrite. They say seven is a lucky number, let’s hope that is correct for Blades of Time.
Saturday, 13 September 2008
Previously I mentioned winning a meeting with an agent. Well let me update you. I’ve sent off some sample chapters, synopsis and a mini statement about myself. I’ve been chatting with agented writers who have given me some idea of what to expect and the things I need to know. The questions to ask and information the agent will require. However, before I can do that the agent has to be interested in my work and me. I’ll let you know how it all goes, as always.
As for now, I’m off to write.
Monday, 8 September 2008
Before I can continue to write the final part, I have to work out how to skin a pig. No honestly I really do. It’s crucial to the plot and needs to be written correctly. Research, even in a fantasy novel is necessary and needs to be accurate.
I remember once, I read out a chapter of a book that I was completely happy with, only to find my physics were all wrong. Things can’t physically fly in space - major plot flaw there. Thanks to members of the Verulam writers circle this issue was soon corrected and with a good rewrite of the chapter and character everything was soon knocked into shape.
So whatever you are writing check the accuracy, which is what I’m just about to do.
Friday, 5 September 2008
Having been unable to attend any of the other SCBWI events in London due to work commitments, I was pleased to find this meeting fell at a time I was able to participate. Approximately 50 authors and illustrators were in attendance and all to gain knowledge from Illustrators or Authors Agents.
Each of the agents spoke about their agencies and what services they provide. Those in attendance were: Eve White from The Eve White Literary Agent – www.evewhite.co.uk and PFD were represented by Daniel Neilson assistant to Suzy Jenvey – www.pfd.co.uk For the illustrators amongst the crowd were: Mark Mills from Plum Pudding – www.plumpuddingillustration.com and Edwards Burns from Advocate Art – www.advocate-art.com
After a very informative question and answer session, a great deal of networking took place. This was not only a time for authors/illustrators and agents to chat, but for the group to socialise, meet or reacquaint themselves with other SCBWI members.
Everyone in attendance had the opportunity to win a one-on-one appointment with an agent. There were five agents willing to participate including Jo Williamson of Antony Harwood Literary Agency – www.antonyharwood.com who was unable to attend during the evening. There were three very excited authors (one of them me) and two thrilled illustrators selected for this great opportunity.
The whole event was well organised and ran smoothly. It is through networking like this that we writers/illustrators keep abreast of trends, and get to chat with likeminded people. In this way you pick up tips and contacts that help you move forward in your work. It is also a chance to keep up with current trends and things to avoid writing about.
I guess trains aren’t that bad after all. Without them I wouldn’t have had such an excellent evening.
Monday, 1 September 2008
Over the last six weeks I’ve been rewriting, rewriting and rewriting. It’s been illuminating. The book I’ve been working on is ‘Blades of Time’ is a fantasy quest aimed at the 11+ market. It’s been great fun treating my characters cruelly, putting them in peril and disposing of some of them in odd and peculiar ways. Making my characters think on their feet and knock them sideways once in a while keeps them a live and active. I don’t suppose they like it much, but hey, their lives would be boring if they knew what was going to happen all the time, wouldn’t it?
At last the book is complete apart from one last read through, red pen job and final polish. Book two is now getting put down in plot form, but before I get down to write that I’ve got to get book one out there and sold. So while I’m going to start sending out, I’m going to get back to another book ‘Intergalactic Orksnog’. This needs a full jigsaw puzzle treatment. By this I mean pulling it all apart, removing bit, adding bits and putting it all back together in hope that it will mould together to from the perfect picture or in this case the perfect book.
So with that I’m off to write.
Monday, 28 July 2008
I’ve two novels to complete. Both are on their sixth rewrite and I’m hoping to finish them by the end of the summer. Each has had a major overhaul and I think are much stronger for it. Now all I need to do is find an agent willing to read my work and for them to fall in love with my characters and plot and take me onto the next level.
I’ve had interest from publishers before and I’ve also had requests for full manuscripts from agents and publishers alike. But when push comes to shove the book just isn’t right for them. I’m hoping that these two fantasy novels will evoke interest.
On a really brilliant note, two of my writing friends have just signed contracts with agents and are about to unleash their novels into the world of publishers. They both have strong novels and it won’t be long until they see their work in the book shops. Two names to watch out for: Tim Blinko and Steve Barley.
The talented Toby Frost’s book Space Captain Smith is making a good name for itself and we are all awaiting for the second book due out I believe in September. If you haven’t read the first one then go out and get your copy now – it’s a romping good read.
Anyway I’m off now to do some real writing.
Thursday, 26 June 2008
So here goes:
The bad first. I received another rejection, but as rejections go it was basic and said nothing about the book or the plot, writing or target market. Which is frustrating, although you may think I should be upset about this, I'm not. I'm quite lucky in that I do have contact with publishers and other agents who take time to make personal comments on my work. It is obvious to me that the subject matter in this case didn't appeal to that particular agent. Therefore it is going off to another agent and with some luck it will be more to their liking. It is just a matter of finding an agent who loves my work as much as I do. On and up.
The good news: Well this is different. I'm off to Winchester Writers Conference again, but this time as a mentor. This means I'll be helping delegates find their way around and answering questions etc. I'm also looking forward to catching up with old friends I've made over the years along with the networking with possible new contacts. A few friends from my writing circle are attending for the first time, I hope they find it as informative and useful as I have over the years. I'll report back once I've attended and let you know how it all went.
I hope this helps you face rejection and realise that you will get rejected many times when you aim to be a writer. Even once published it isn't always guaranteed that you'll never receive a rejection. So my advice is 'get used to it' then it won't hurt quite so much or for as long. After all you are selling a product. It is a business not a hobby.
Tuesday, 24 June 2008
We had all prepared for the walk. Out every Sunday in all weathers, thunderstorms included. Walking at night we didn’t practice, but although it was dark we were still able to see quite clearly. We set off at around 12 midnight and returned some three hours forty minutes later – or thereabouts. However the younger members of our group, Emma, Lorna and Rita arrived back twenty minutes before us.
At the beginning of the walk it was warm and dry. In fact we had all worn a second t-shirt underneath our ‘Walk with the Stars’ t-shirt by the time we’d reached Berkhamsted from Hemel Hempstead we were all too hot. We slipped off our under shirts and headed off nibbling on our bars of chocolate and sipping our water. We’d gone about 500 yards when the heavens opened and we got drenched. There was a quick struggle with back packs and waterproofs and we were heading back to Hemel Hempstead. It is a strange thing, but the walk back appeared to be much easier to do. I don’t know why, I guess it was the call of a hot cup of tea that made us walk faster.
My pity was with those we passed going back that hadn’t yet made it to Berkhamsted sports centre, but were still just entering Berkhamsted town. They were soaked and still had a long way to go.
Walking into the school hall after the walk was great. You received a round of applause and after registering, got a medal and a leaflet telling us how stretch out over the next few days. We had bacon rolls, I just had bacon, and a lovely hot cup of tea. We took a few pictures of ourselves and
We set off to our cars, more walking, and as we did, it poured down again. Our thoughts were with those struggling through the second downpour. We were soon safe and dry in the car and heading home. Again past ladies still walking.
It was a great evening. One of challenges and self achievements. I’m glad I did it, and although we all ached the next day, we felt that we had achieved something special. Altogether I think we raised around £700 and the total so far from the hospice has been £170,000.00 a great amount.
You can still donate if you want to, just go to http://www.justgiving.com/susanfranklin or http://www.justgiving.com/christinebayliss or http://www.justgiving.com/clairehughes10 or http://www.justgiving.com/emmaandrita
For more information about the hospice of St. Francis go to their website: http://www.stfrancis.org.uk/index.htm
Thank you for reading this and for all your support.
Thursday, 12 June 2008
I love writing, fantasy and will one day be shouting on here saying I've done it but until that day occurs, I'll keep on submitting and writing.
Sunday, 25 May 2008
Waking early, Saturday morning with many ideas on how to improve my MS I set to work. Making notes and scripting lines. Breakfast was the full English, as it turned out to be each morning. For a girl who normally only eats a small bowl of cereal to start the day this was a great indulgence. I had to put thoughts of my waist line out of my mind. After breakfast we had time to write before we went for our first work shop with Shoo Rayner. There were two with Shoo, both of which were informative. I’ve since written up mind maps for all my books and this technique added to my own trusted method has improved my understanding of plotting and character development. I was interested in the software ‘FLASH’ that Shoo uses to add elements to his illustrations. I’m going to see if I can save up for this. I liked the way he produced online books for his website. I think this would be great for the children at school to try and for me to produce my own online books for children to look at on my own website, once I’ve built it. Between the writing, workshops and food it was a very productive day. The food was delicious and they were kind enough to cater to everyone’s needs. The evening was spent writing then a quick drink at the bar before bed.
The following day, Sunday, I set about writing before breakfast then again after. Before our first workshop we met up for coffee/tea then went in to listen to Julia Golding, another inspiring writer. How she manages to do so much, I’ll never know. Again Julia shared her plotting, character development stages along with many other fabulous tips. She got us to work on our own pitch. This was to sell ourselves to agents or publishers. To start with I found this daunting, but after taking a moment to think, It came to me in a flash. After that we had to encapsulate our novel in just a few words. For the novel I was working on was easy, but for others I’m sure it won’t be that easy. We read some out and Julia gave us guidance on where we could alter and improve our pitches. We played a game of top-trumps with the characters from her current book; I was the slave with shackles. Yes real shackles - okay plastic look-a-like ones. The whole day was one of learning or reinforcing knowledge. After dinner we met up to read our reworked pieces. Thankfully everyone thought my piece was much better and heading in the right direction. Everyone’s work had improved some amazingly so. One member of our group had written a completely new piece – oh to have such talent. We all met up for a drink before bed.
On Monday morning, we had to check out by 9:30 then we set about writing in one of the upstairs rooms. This was quite a powerful session. A room full of writers, writing. There was an aura of creativity flowing through the air which made the writing seem more focused. After morning coffee/tea we joined Tessa Strickland from Barefoot Books http://www.barefootbookstore.co.uk She is a lady with vision, direction and drive. You couldn’t help being impressed and inspired by her. She chatted about the state of publishing in general, and about the direction Barefoot books are heading. We learnt a little more about booksellers and distributors along with the difficulties publishers have. It was quite illuminating. Then she told us exactly what she was looking for. Yippy! A publisher saying what they want. I can’t tell you what that is, but I am going to be writing something for her as will the other members of the retreat - quite a few of us really. Tessa wrapped up with a question and answer session and once again I was scribbling notes.
This was a wonderfully inspiring retreat, one I would do again.
Tuesday, 6 May 2008
With this excellent endorsement from Dirk Maggs it can't fail to be a hit.
Tuesday, 8 April 2008
Well, I'm hoping that that isn't the case with my latest novel. I've just finished my latest 7-9 novel Wybird's Secret Pet and still love the last line. It leads on to the next book in the series - Wybird's Circle of Stone, yet to be written. I'm hoping this will be the book to get me the publishing contract I crave. With a good bit of luck and a lot of hope I'm keen to get this one under the nose of the right agent or publisher or even better both.
Sunday, 30 March 2008
Here is the link http://www.justgiving.com/susanfranklin
Thursday, 27 March 2008
Click on the front page of the book and see it open. Click on each right hand page to get a new page. Use the eyes to make it easier to read. This is a brilliant website: If you have children or just love children's books this is the place to go.http://www.lookybook.com/index.php take a look at their site, register or just read the books. You can find both fiction and non-fiction books. Brilliant!
I feel I’ve learnt quite a lot during the process of writing this manuscript. It feels deeper and stronger than anything I’ve ever written before. I only wish I could have more time to write. I’m off for the Easter break now and for next week, then back to school. I need to get as many chapters polished as I can before I go back. So its nose to the computer screen, pencil to the hard copy and polish, polish, polish.
Late nights, early mornings and tons of PG Tips tea – strong, hot and by the bucket full will get me through.
See you later – I’m off to write.
Wednesday, 26 March 2008
Sunday, 23 March 2008
You can imagine that my initial thought was that it was an automated response. No it was a real response from the lady herself. Excitement welled up inside: "Wow! she must think it is really brilliant!" -
This is the opening to the email:
Amazingly, I’ve been able to read this incredibly quickly –
However the next sentence said it wasn't for her, but she did give me some great pointers which will help with the rewrite. That's when I get down to pulling it apart, using all the jigsaw pieces and slot them back together in a different order all glued together with creative sticking plasters.
With writing in any form it's the staying power that will make you a writer. Don't give up at the first or come to that a dozen or more. You have to take note of the comments, judge them with others you may have already got. See if you agree with them and then rewrite what feels right to you. All in all you have to be true to yourself.
I'm off now to get back to work on Wybird.
Saturday, 15 March 2008
I'm off now to write, surprised? No of course you aren't. I need this year I need to get my work out there and accepted. Now just how do I do that? Well that is the thing that aggravates us all. If ever I find the secret, I'll let you know.
Thursday, 14 February 2008
We discussed how visual stimulus and musical stimulus can influence your writing. Many of the writers said that they might use this method to help them develop their work. For me, well, I think if I want happy thoughts and I'm feeling a wee bit down it might work, but I don't think I want to experience the dark side again.
Monday, 11 February 2008
Sunday, 10 February 2008
Here are pictures of my lovely girls.
Mischa sultery and sophisticated.
Inky's just scatty.
Mischa and Inky
Saturday, 9 February 2008
This has not discouraged me, because I'm in this for the long haul and will not be put off I just need to get my children's work underneath the nose of the right agent or publisher. In that lies the hard work that is continuous.
I'm currently finishing Wybird (7-9) having Out of Body read and about to submit Starmite my competition entry to agents/publishers. Looks like I'll be working hard over the halfterm.
I've recently had some good critiques for my work and this has inspired me. I think this has helped me to perserver. One publisher likes my writing and would like to find a book from me that she can publish, but she doesn't do fantasy...I need to find a storyline and characters that will stay away from fantasy and I might stand a chance. Until then I'll carry on with the fantasy in hope that someone somewhere will fall in love with my work.
I girl can dream, can't she?
Friday, 4 January 2008
I'm awaiting responses on five pieces of work and a competition entry. It isn't for the lack of trying and determination to become a published children's author. 2008 has to be the year.
After attending the SCBWI Writers Day 25th November 2007 I will be amongst those taking advantage of the Writers’ Retreat in May. It promises to be yet another great opportunity to network and gain or hone new skills.
Anyone can attend this retreat for children’s writers, you don’t have to be a member, but it is cheaper if you are. The weekend is held at: Pendrell Hall, Near Wolverhampton. This is nineteenth century Victorian country house set in 10 acres of landscaped gardens/grounds. Visit their website for directions etc: http://www.pendrell-hall.org.uk/index.php Accommodation and all meals are included in the price of £270 for members. Check out the SCWBI website for pricing details. http://www.britishscbwi.org/
The weekend programme starts on Friday evening with dinner with likeminded writers and relaxing before the real work begins. Networking on the Friday night would be advisable.
During Saturday and Sunday various seminars, talks and networking will take place. There will be plenty of time to make new friends and to get chat to some of your favourite authors or illustrators. Julia Golding, award winning author of Cat Royal series and The Diamond of Drury Lane will be in attendance along with Shoo Rayner author/illustrator of many children’s books. But you will be able to work on your own work or partake in creative exercise along with having the opportunity to have your work critiqued.
After breakfast on Monday morning, Tessa Strickland, co-founder of Barefoot Books, will talk about the publishing house, its future and how to submit. A friendly lunch will bring the weekend to a close.