Friday, 7 March 2008

At a loose end

Its been a month since I handed in my novel and you'd think I'd be chilling out, enjoying the freedom of all this spare time.

To be honest, the plans to have no plans never really came to anything. The moment I put away my laptop I zoomed off to Portugal and France with work. And now we're moving house - with three travel sick pets in tow - not exactly taking it easy.

But still, I find myself itching to start the next novel. Life without a my 'imaginary friends' feels directionless. One dimensional.

Maybe its because I know that, career wise, I don't want to be doing what I'm doing now for the rest of my life - I want to be sitting at my kitchen table in my pajamas, writing novels with my dog at my feet. It's as if I can't sit still until I get there!

Meanwhile, the feedback from my agent on novel 1 has been positive and out of the 5 top flight editors he sent 3 sample chapters too - 3 have now requested the full manuscript! Whoopeeee! Another reason to have ants in my pants.

Sunday, 17 February 2008

Going going gone

Phew! I finally handed my novel in to my agent on Friday! Hurray!

God knows if its good enough - I suspect there may be more work to be done - but after 5 (count 'em) redrafts, I was starting to see double and finding it hard to care anymore... I was just so desperate to get rid of the thing!

The rewrite was the hardest thing I've ever done. It was actually painful. For my brain. For my stressed-out body and for my poor husband, who started to think he was married to a laptop.

The hardest thing? When to stop. It was never going to perfect - but when would it be good enough? My teacher said keep going till you're happy with it. But I felt like I might go on fiddling forever.

By Friday, I reached a point when I felt like I was doing more harm than good - there's only so much you can cut and tweak something before it gets painful.

Who knows what my agent will make of it. He signed me up on basis of 15 chapters out of 7o! But even if it's crap at least I've done it. Stuck at it. A lot of people want to write a book. Few start. Even fewer finish, and fewer still get up pre-dawn and sit up past midnight polishing the thing into oblivion.

Keep telling yourself that, Jude.

Tuesday, 1 January 2008

The End

Hello all!

Just a quick one to say I hope you all had a jolly Christmas and champagne-filled new year. As 2007 comes to a close, I'm celebrating not just the end of a wonderful year for me - 'I do', a step on the property ladder and a new dog! - but also the end of my first novel. I finally wrote the last full stop at four o' clock on New Years Eve! Hurray!

January will see me frantically tweaking, polishing and honing all 70 chapters in time to hand it in to my agent ASAP. Where to start? Its a daunting prospect but I'm starting with a chapter-by-chapter review of the plot and an emotional life line of my characters, just to make sure it all hangs together. Err... right. Only then will I start obsessing over adjectives and tackling the nitty gritty.

2007 has been a great writing year for me. Here's hope 2008 is a great one for all!

PS the new dog is a Collie-Corgi cross from a nearby rescue home, who arrived with us on Christmas Eve. His name is Lucky and HIS end wags like a charm.

Thursday, 6 December 2007

Once upon a time

A lovely writer held a Christmas party at her Victorian town house in Berkhamsted. She invited all her eager students, her black dog and her ginger cat. Even her rock and roll son with his funky earing came along.

They brought chocolate crispy cakes sprinkled with silver balls, cocktail sticks of cheese and lots of fizzy wine.

They talked about ghosts and books and how hard it is to stare at a blank screen, still 1000 words away from your daily word target. There was a literary quiz, which although interesting, never got played and a short story competition.

And the winner was me ME ME!

They all lived happily ever after.

Tuesday, 20 November 2007

Twist and shout

As you all know, I've been dawdling along, trying to finish my novel for a while now. It seemed to be chugging along OK - the wordometer was creeping up nicely - all except for one small detail... I didn't have a clue where it was all going.

Honestly, I was at serious risk of rambling round in self-indulgent waffle forever! But I've never been one for planning so I wasn't overly concerned about my lack of ending. I assumed my sense of direction would pitch up at a crossroads sooner or later.

And - hurray! - it did. The inspiration came when I was reading Lorelei Mathias's novel, Lost for Words. This sweet romance (which tells the story of a girl who knows she's in love – but she doesn't know who with) got me thinking. What if the situation in my novel wasn't all it seemed...

So, following a lot of back tracking and three point turns to see if it could be done, I decided to spring a shock on Mazie (and the reader) and throw the map out the window. It's time to jump-start Mazie's decision making process, goddamn it, before I get motion sickness with her toing and froing. Well, that's the idea, but I've never been particularly good with directions (I can't even drive) so God knows where I'll end up. You'll have to wait and see!

But in the meantime, don't worry - I'm not en-route to plagiarism-ville. My shock tactic is completely different to Lorelei's. But if I can pull it off half as elegantly as she did, I'll be chuffed to bits.

Can't wait to get on with writing now. The only problem is, I'm so excited about this new idea, I'm on the verge of shouting about it to everyone I know, ruining the big surprise. Opps.

Thursday, 8 November 2007

Ten thousand tiny steps

Whoo hoo! Have been tapping away at the computer and on my last count, I'd clocked up 70 000 words. So legally, I only need 10,000 more of the little buggers before they all line up and officially count as a novel.

How exciting. Suddenly The End is nigh! Its been a long time coming but these final few chapters seem more achievable with every full stop. Anyway, must get my head down and keep pushing on to that final paragraph!

Monday, 29 October 2007