rewrites tagged posts
Where do our ideas really come from?
Often when I’m at my day job character traits, dialogue, scenarios pop into my mind that may add to a section I’m working on in my book – sometimes they get used, sometimes they’re discarded. The point is, for me anyway, 75% of writing fiction is thinking, playing out a scene in my mind, feeling the emotions of my characters in an effort to convey them in the text. Getting words down becomes easier, when you know what you are going to say and how to say it convincingly.
Whilst I am busy creating, indulging, I realise that I don’t think of my book in a business context.
April was a month of diversions in the UK. Easter celebrations meant a long weekend off work, the Royal Wedding gave us all an extra bank holiday, the London BookRead More
Late March 2011
How can we tell if our manuscript is ready for submission?
If writing is re-writing and editing, then there is an argument that it is never ending, that there is always some prose that could be improved upon. But I guess you have to end somewhere.
By the end of March, my Agent called me up to say my novel was ready for submission. Exciting times… He would send it to the major UK publishing houses on my behalf, with the synopsis of the sequel. He was intent on selling the series.
I’ll admit I was nervous. I wasn’t following the trend in crime fiction. I had spent hours, days, months, years even, studying creative writing and specialist crime fiction, deconstructing favourite novels, avidly working out what I liked/disliked. In my psychological thriller I worked hard toRead More
Every word counts. As writers, that’s what we are told, whether in fiction or non-fiction. It may be the best line in the world, your pride and joy – but does it add colour to the narrative? Does it really drive the story forward?
With these thoughts in mind I examined the suggested line by line edits on my manuscript. In some places I could see that I was being indulgent, holding on to precious words and phrases that I really liked, but weren’t essential to the story. They were the easy ones.
Others I didn’t want to part with. You know those odd lines you come up with in the shower, on long lazy drives into the country, when something wakes you in the middle of the night? These had context. But when I read and re-read I realised that they weren’t all really necessary.Read More
Late Jan. 2011
At a recent literary festival, Sophie Hannah talked about the importance of being on board with your Agent. This is a critically acclaimed author and poet, her work has been recently televised on the BBC in the UK, who was revealing how she had been compelled to part ways with an Agent when they couldn’t agree the changes to her first crime thriller.
Turning my book into a marketable product was proving to be a compromise and I wasn’t sure how far I could, or indeed needed, to go to meet my Agents requirements. It wasn’t that he wasn’t approachable; he had seemed like a great guy when we had met a month earlier. But this was a new relationship and we had never worked together before. As a potential debut novelist, I didn’t want to upset the apple cart, but I alsoRead More
Early December 2010 – The submission of my novel to Creme de la Crime resulted in an emailed response to say that they had been taken over by a larger publishing house and they were no longer accepting unsolicited manuscripts. Not good news.
However, the Editor went on to suggest two Agents that were actively seeking fiction submissions from new authors and two publishing houses that welcome new writers, namely Macmillan New Writing and HarperCollins Preface. Finally, a breakthrough!
I started with the Agents – checked their websites for submission policies and drafted a query letter to send with my sample chapters and synopsis. Harder than you think. We are told to ‘keep it brief’, some people say ‘no more than three paragraphs’… Mine ran to six paragraphs. But there were allRead More
Procrastination should have been my middle name. As much as I love writing (and believe it or not I do!) I don’t have to look too hard to find another pull on my time. But a couple of years ago, I dropped off the face of the Earth, gave up the odd freelance assignment, writing forums, hibernated from friends, even stopped yoga, to concentrate on writing my novel.
Finally, last November I sat back in my chair, heaved a huge sigh of relief and put it to bed. I had actually written a book. Wow! Now I would land a publishing deal with a major house, tour the world, become famous… OK, so a girl can dream. This is when the real hard work started; the rollercoaster that takes you from pen to publication – if you are lucky.
I started with the usual dilemma: Agent or Publisher? A little bit ofRead More
December 3, 2009 Uncategorized
I have decided, seeing as my brain is currently, as Edward said on the forum, full of cotton wool, to see what famous authors have to say on the topic of writing and what we can learn from them.
“I’m not a very good writer, but I’m an excellent rewriter.” So said James Michener, Pulitzer prize winning author of over 40 books.
What I love about this quote is its honesty. I know that I am not a very good writer – not where first drafts or blogs are concerned – but I do know that with careful editing and re-writing I can usually turn out a sell-able article. Yet when it comes to writing fiction I suddenly expect myself to get it right the first time.
I’ve lost count of the number of short stories and novel chapters that I’ve given up on because I wasn’t happy with what I’d written. Read More