As someone wise (it was Marian Keyes, actually) said on Twitter today, ‘The weeks whizz by but nothing changes’ (probably a bit wittier than that, but you get the idea).
It’s all a bit ‘Groundhog Day’, isn’t it? But hopefully things will start to ease up a bit at the end of the month. (Not that I’m looking forward to golf courses re-opening, or anything..)
Still haven’t watched The Serpent or It’s A Sin (but thank you for all your comments, mostly recommending them). I will get to them at some point!
I did watch the Lucy Worsley ‘Blitz Spirit‘ programme (strictly research, of course) and I thought it was excellent but NOT for the faint-hearted (there’s quite a lot of gruesome stuff and it made me cry a bit at the end). But if you are made of sterner stuff than me, you might enjoy it!
I am right in the middle of reading squillions of entries for the Evesham Festival Short Story Competition.
As always happens, in the final week the stories start to pour in.
The competition closes on 12th March – next Friday. If you’re thinking of entering, please note that the closing time is 5pm, not, as you might expect, midnight.
The competition always used to close at midnight and the administrator had to stay up until then, to confirm receipt of the final few entries (ahem, in the past, when I was allowed to enter because I wasn’t on the Steering Group, I’m afraid I was guilty of pressing ‘send’ at about 2 minutes to midnight). Then she realised, that if the time was changed to something more sensible, she wouldn’t have to stay up late. But it could catch a few people out, I reckon, so I’m telling everyone, Just. In. Case.
You might be wondering what’s happening with my novel-in-progress (or should that be novel-ground-to-a-halt)? I am wondering, too.
I sent it over to my agent over a month ago and had heard nothing.. so sent a polite email asking whether I’d missed an email from him? (He’s usually very quick, so I genuinely thought that might have happened).
Anyway, I hadn’t but we now have a date, for a couple of weeks’ time, to discuss The Novel and I sense another lot of structural changes coming up… which was a bit of a depressing thought, until I read an interview with an agent (Lucy Morris at Curtis Brown) on the Women’s Prize For Fiction website today, in which she said, ‘I don’t think I’ve ever submitted a book to a publisher without having done three drafts of the manuscript with the author beforehand. Sometimes it can be more, because books do change as they’re edited.’
Hurrah! So, it’s not just me.
She also said that the editorial process might be as long as 18 months. And the more you edit it, the more you need to spend time away from it, ‘so it doesn’t feel like a slog, and you can feel that thrill of it coming together on the page.’
That ‘time away from it’ bit is sooo true.
I deliberately didn’t look at my novel again, after sending the last draft off, until a few days ago, when I sat down and read the whole thing in one go. It took me over 3 hours, which was a shock (ie: like a proper book!).
Some of it made me cringe. The ending’s still not right. And I know there are other areas that need work. If someone took the book from me and offered to publish it now I would wrestle it from their hands and scream, “NOOOO!” because it is simply not good enough. But, hopefully, one day it will be.
And on that pathetic note, I will love you and leave you! Hope your writing, reading and whatever else you are up to, is going well. Let me know!
I think it’s always good to spend time away from what you’ve written – even short stories, then come back and read them with a clearer eye. Sometimes you get a surprise because what you’ve written is better than you remember, though sometimes it’s the opposite! I’m guessing, that you, like I, have had a look at a rejected story, seen the errors, and rewritten a much better draft. I always wonder why I didn’t write the first draft as good as I was able to write the rejected second draft. The second draft (though sometimes the third!) usually gets me a sale. So rewrites and re-edits are good, but giving yourself space away from what you’ve written always gives you a much clearer view. Good luck with future edits. Good wishes Kate Hogan x
I agree, Kate. It’s definitely worth putting your work away for as long as you can and coming back to it with a more objective eye. It’s amazing how you can spot things that you don’t see when you’re too close to it, isn’t it? I’m just finding it that much harder to do it with 84k, rather than my usual 2k – 3k short stories!!
I’m sure that, one day, it will all fall beautifully into place. Good luck.
Good luck with the editing, at least you have something to work with. I enjoy your blogs immensely and always learn something from them, thank you.
Thank you Karelann, that’s really nice to know! And has encouraged me to keep on blogging a little longer!
Good luck to you and The Novel! I sympathise with that ‘cringe factor’ – with me it settles in at the very moment the ms is in the letterbox, or the email pings away. But it will come right in the end.
Wasn’t that Lucy Worsley programme excellent? All the better for her not dressing up so often. Not that that isn’t fun sometimes, of course, but she really hit the right note for the ‘Blitz’ story. Excellent presentation!
Thanks Penny. Yes, I thought it was an excellent programme. She’s good, Lucy, I think. And it was nice to see a different perspective on The Blitz, wasn’t it? I learned a lot.
I think it’s all this constant editing that’s put me off submitting to agents. Hope you find your great ending soon. S
Thanks Sue. It does all seem a bit relentless! I suppose it’s because I’m doing it all for the first time. If – and when – I ever do it for the second time, perhaps even with a published novel under my belt, I know it’s all worthwhile and that, eventually, the editing does end!