Welcome to my writers blog.

Writing to entertain and encourage other writers. To keep you informed of events, workshops, retreats and conferences available for writers.

The Love of Dance

Sunday, 21 September 2008

The Task Ahead

After a rather torturous journey down to Surrey, hitting traffic jams, going wrong in Slough and getting confused in Staines; I gave up travelling the back roads and headed for the M25. After that finding my way was relatively easy. However I did arrive half an hour late. Thankfully the agent I was meeting was very understanding and thanks to the invention of the mobile phone I was able to phone ahead and explain.

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

Blades of Time completion.

Having completed Blades of Time, I set it aside and left it for my son to read before doing a thorough read through. I have to admit that when I last posted, I had thought I’d finished, but soon realised that I hadn’t. It is strange how a story will sometimes do that to you. You believe that everything has been tied up and all the characters have grown in developed in the way they should have. But that wasn’t the way. As I was fiddling with the last few sentences, when I realised I’d missed a very important part. Thankfully with a couple of carefully crafted paragraphs the plot didn’t stumble.

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

Is it adieu, farewell or goodbye?

I’m about to write the last sentences of my latest novel ‘Blades of Time’ and am feeling sad to say adieu to my characters. Hopefully it will be farewell rather than goodbye, and this won’t be the last time I meet with them, because book two is now in a sketchy plot form (needs much work) but promises to be a challenge for me. So many ideas, now all I have to do is work out how they will interlink and weave to create the book I’m aiming for.

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

A Sense of Achievement.

Some days you set up your workstation and everything goes to pot, but not today. Today my characters managed to do exactly what I wanted them to do and set themselves up nicely for the next and final section of my book.

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

SCBWI Agents Party

I don’t like travelling on trains and the underground is worse. But, I braved the crowds and wormed my way around the seemingly endless tunnels and resurfaced outside Charing Cross Station. A little walk down Villiers Street, left into John Adam Street, up the stairs at the Theodore Bullfrog and relaxed.

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

What a Summer!

Okay, it’s been raining – loads of rain and not much sun, but that has been brilliant in an odd sort of way. Having the summer off of work is great; it gives me time to really write. The down side is that I don’t get paid. On the upside when I do sell a book at least I’ll feel that I’ve earned every penny.

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.