Friday, March 30, 2007

CONF 336: REVIEWS

Argh, I just fessed up my 2 horrid reviews on a writers' internet forum chatroom thingy and am wishing I hadn't. Now I'm reliving it and feeling like rubbish all over again. I got 2 slatings out of, I don't know, 15 or 20 including the Amazons, but, like they all say, it's the bad ones that stick.

Everybody get them at some stage or another, head above the parapet and all that. Is it harder to cope with getting publicly trashed when you're starting out or when you're a seasoned old pro I wonder? Euff.

Just so you know what I'm talking about, there I am, prancing and preening about in:

Lightning pace and a superb plot; will be fiercely fought over by both sexes in the race to reach the climactic ending first; it's really witty and throws you straight into the story in the first paragraph; funny and fast-paced, sad, sexy, poignant; an easy and absorbing read, a great first novel; one word - fantastic; intelligent and fun; one of the best modern novels I've read for a long time, it made me laugh, cry and think.

And the axe falls:

One the worst book that I have read in along while (well, at least she's an illiterate, which helps. On closer inspection, she also revealed herself to be a serial slagger. Marian Keyes got 'a waste of time and money'!); the character doesn't grow, I couldn't find anything about her that I liked; the characters are thoroughly unlikeable and for a book that is supposed to be realistic, the situations are frankly not; to be quite honest - utter trash, give it a miss.

Bye bye, thanks for visiting, come again soon.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

CONF 335: NEW SYNOPSIS

Getting the synopsis down to 1 page proved impossible. Did get it to 2 pages however. I wonder now what I was ever thinking sending 4 pages of dense writing off and am fairly amazed that any agents at all ploughed through it.

Taking The Writing Coach's advice, I began with the 'logline' in bold type. "This," she says, "is the one or two sentence description of the book that encapsulates the entire story." All in all it reads as much more of a selling document now. I also drafted a new query letter, with more detail about why I decided to write this book; mention of the two-thirds complete novel; why my last agent and I parted company - and this blog.

I e-mailed the new synop off to the 2 agents who have been considering the novel for some time now, and I've licked up some envelopes ready to send query letters off to 4 more. I think I'm about ready to step away from that novel completely and perhaps give myself a little screen holiday. I've been spending far, far too much time in this one spot. Time to stir up the air around me a bit.

Bye bye, thanks for visiting, come again soon.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

CONF 334: IT HAD TO HAPPEN

The Book Bar brings the alarming news, announced in The Bookseller today, that we'll shortly be getting a new TV dragon's den-like show for writers. Struggling Author gives us a fantastically inspired example of how it might pan out.

I am trying to get my 4 page synop down to 1 today to send out with some more query letters. I've made it to 3 pages. Now to start all over again going for the jugular.

Bye bye, thanks for visiting, come again soon.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

CONF 333: CALCULATING AND PLOTTING

The news from the world of publishing is never good it seems, but, as today's Observer explains, the chances of breaking through do seem to have sunk to an all time low. I'm not a first time novelist. Am probably in a worse position, except I wrote under a pseudonym so suppose I can still claim my own name.

With novel 3 I've not only tried to write a fun book (my favourite review of novel 2 was 'intelligent and fun') but have also gone all out for danger, predicting a trend that hasn't happened yet. All very calculating. The people who are assessing whether I'm worth taking on or not have to give it two enormous ticks. They not only have to think it's good, but also that there's a market they can sell into. There isn't a market yet. The agent who's taken the closest look so far has already sold into it. But that might turn out to be a one-off. There have been no bestsellers. There might never be any bestsellers. It's possible I'll have to wait until an Allison Pearson or India Knight decides to put one out there first, then I just might stand a squeak chance of getting in.

Meantime onwards and upwards with novel 4 which is a lot of fun and seems to be writing itself. Got the pinboard out yesterday and pinned my scene cards up. Tightened the plot and characters. Each of the 4 main players has an element: earth, fire, air and water which has helped nail them nicely. I'm now back at the beginning, cutting the dross and upping the personality conflicts. Reading Chapter 2 to writing group tomorrow.

Bye bye, thanks for visiting, come again soon.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

CONF 332: FESSING UP

I keep on writing things and deleting them.

Maybe I should just go and have another drink.

Friday, March 23, 2007

CONF 331: I AM PUBLISHED IN CHINA

My domestic goddess-like cleaning book is out in China, with the splendid new title

THE DECONTAMINATION BIBLE.

So for the first time in a very, very long time I am feeling like an author again. I rarely bother to Google myself any more. My books are so ancient it always brings up the same results. But last night partner went to bed early not feeling very well and, having exhausted the blogs and porn and all (joke, I am the author of a bible now, remember) gave it a go.

There is even a lengthy analysis full of quotes for my next cover:

"It can be said that this is all a panacea decontamination English word Bible."

'First ice 2,895,683 marks, let marks sclerosis solidified after curettage, targeting special trip for their removal."

And best of all:

"You have some unexpected natural decontamination magic weapon in the surrounding life."

I have a new name: Amanda Lagumdizija, and Lola Wang from Taipei has taken time out to give me a 5 star review:

I liked the clothes on my vexing.
看了這本書我才知道,不同的污點要用不同的方法來處理,要不然在以前我都是用X蓮萬用去污棒,結果很多污點都沒效。I know that after reading this book, the use of different methods to deal with the stigma. If it is used in the past, I used X-lian million decontamination rods, a lot of stigma no effect.

As has a person called 'Small Africa and':

Lazy, I have never used them in clothes washing machines Lane on everything and the results are often unable to remove Combination. 後來使用這本書裡的方法,不管是有機還是化學的清潔法都很有效,現在只要一碰到污漬,我就會翻這本書,它已經是我們家的去污寶典了。Later, the use of this book, whether it is organic or chemical cleaning method is very effective. Now if one encounter marks, I will double this book, it is our home, there is a decontamination.

Shame I'm not on royalties.

Bye bye, thanks for visiting, come again soon.

Monday, March 19, 2007

CONF 330: FIRST DRAFTS

I can't think of anything to say.

Um.

Nope.

Nothing.

I know, novel 5 or is it 4?

Maybe should call it 4 until the one put aside is complete.

Reached the quarter mark this morning.

Have to say, am enjoying the 500 words a day thing. There are chunks I have to edit down and the whole lot wants shaking out and all, but it is a first draft. Top priority is keeping the story moving and developing characters.

Jacqueline Wilson talked of her writing pattern over the weekend. She's superstitious about writing something every day to keep the story going. And Louise Doughty, snucked away in her delicious Canadian retreat, talked about her tricks. And the confidence that comes with experience on the writing of first drafts. Which I very much recognise. I love it when I read other writers saying their first drafts are crap. Marian Keyes as well.

Maybe one day enough successful writers will be brave enough to put forward samples of their first drafts just to show the rest of us how a great piece of writing can begin.

Bye bye, thanks for visiting, come again soon.

Friday, March 16, 2007

RED NO DAY


Well, I didn't make it, and seeing the standard of the entries I'm not surprised. Besides, it would have totally bucked the trend of my current big no phase. Glad to see several blog friends and revered blog heroes did, though, and can't wait to read. Isn't the cover great? Buy now !

Nipped out for cocktail hour with a girlfriend last night. I was beside myself at the glamour of it all. Tables with candles in bottles, peanuts in little bowls, and a long list of half-price cocktails, wum. My friend went for the champagne whilst I madeleined straight back to my favourite country in the world as I supped slowly on my Caipirinha.

We talked about the no effect, how, after a run of them, you come to expect nothing else. If anybody said yes to me now I'd think they'd made a terrible mistake - but I'm the person everyone else is rejecting, you've made a mistake my friend, I'll try not to let you know about it, but you'll find out eventually. My friend reckons they do come in lumps, and then when the yeses start, suddenly you get 3 at once.

One pleasantness, in the post today was my ALCS statement. This is the authors' licensing body which collects photocopying rights and things like that from around the world. Anybody who has had a book published in the UK should register with them because they send you free money once a year. Not a great deal of it, enough for a few decent bottles of champers though, or - OR!!!! THAT is what I shall do with it, even though it's supposed to be blocking up the holes in the bank account, stuff it. I shall take myself to Oddbins later and invest in some Cachaca.

Bye bye, thanks for visiting, come again soon.








Thursday, March 15, 2007

CONF 329: PHEW

Normal breathing resumed.

Finally heard from the TV agency woman yesterday and work due in tomorrow.

Big, big sigh of relief.

Thanks to a lovely blogfriend, some ghost-like writing work MAY come my way. I've also had another positive response from an agent to a query letter so hope is flying again and I've just bought croissants and kippers.

I spent the best part of the weekend rewriting. I ditched a whole scene from the vital first 3 chapters. Decided it was too risque too early in & could be what's been putting the agents off . This also means that the vital moving-the-story-on scene is now way up front. (WHY DIDN'T I THINK OF THIS BEFORE??) I've also changed the title. Sent a panic e-mail on Monday to the assistant of the agent who's been sitting on it for over a month now, resubmitting. Fortunately I caught her in time.

Now it's bracing-up time for more no's. The potential over the next few days is pretty impressive:

TV job 1: No bugger off

TV job 2: No communication

Ghost-like writing job 1: Sorry, you're not quite what we're looking for, but good luck. (They've already replied to say they're considering me, and they sound really friendly.)

Inclusion in the wonderful shaggy blog stories: Sorry, the sheer number of entries was overwhelming, hard to choose etc. I am already pleased to receive a thanks e-mail for entering, actually. If I make it or not, will be buying this for everybody I know, even though I don't have a book-buying budget.

Agent 1: Thanks but no thanks.

Agent 2: Along similar lines to my most recent rejection. The market was swamped but now everyone's fighting shy of this genre. Publishing just doesn't know what to do with it.

Anyway, enough of my nophobia. Friend T sent me this yesterday (sorry, no source credit as no source):


"HOW TO SHOWER LIKE A WOMAN

Take off clothes and place them sectioned in the laundry basket according
to lights and darks. Walk to bathroom wearing long dressing gown. If you see
husband along the way, cover up any exposed areas. Look at your womanly
physique in the mirror - make mental note to do more sit-ups/leg-lifts etc.
Get in the shower. Use face cloth, arm cloth, leg cloth, long loofah, wide
loofah and pumice stone. Wash your hair once with cucumber and sage shampoo
with 43 added vitamins. Wash your hair again to make sure it is clean.
Condition your hair with conditioner enhanced with grapefruit and mint.
Wash your face with crushed apricot facial scrub for 10 minutes until red.
Wash entire rest of body with ginger nut and jaffa cake body wash. Rinse
conditioner off hair. Shave armpits and legs. Turn off shower. Squeegee off
all wet surfaces in shower. Spray mould spots with tile cleaner. Get out of
shower. Dry with towel the size of a small country. Wrap hair in a super
absorbent towel. Return to bedroom wearing long dressing gown and the hand
towel on head. If you see your husband along the way, cover up any exposed
areas.

HOW TO SHOWER LIKE A MAN

Take off clothes while sitting on the edge of the bed and leave in a pile
on the floor. Walk naked to the bathroom. If you see your wife along the way,
shake willy at her making the "woo-woo" sound. Look at your manly physique
in the mirror. Admire the size of your willy and scratch your bum. Get in
the shower. Wash your face. Wash your armpits. Blow your nose in your hands
and let the water rinse it off. Fart and laugh at how loud it sounds in the
shower. Spend majority of time washing privates and surrounding area. Wash
your bum, leaving those coarse bum hairs stuck on the soap. Wash your hair.
Make a Shampoo Mohawk. Wee. Rinse off and get out of shower. Partially dry
off. Fail to notice water on floor because curtain was hanging out of bath
the whole time. Admire willy size in mirror again. Leave shower
curtain open, wet mat on floor, light and fan on. If you pass wife, pull
off towel, shake willy at her and make the "woo-woo" sound again. Throw wet
towel on bed. "

Bye bye, thanks for visiting, come again soon.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

BLOG-BAY

TRANSCRIPTION TYPIST FOR HIRE

EX-BBC PRODUCTION CO-ORDINATOR, EX-AUTHOR:

I specialise in television post-production scripts, interviews, re-timecoding for international versions and shotlists.

Also text editing, ghost writing etc.

Oh, I also write newspapers columns about cleaning things, I don't suppose there's much of a market for that, but it shows I can spell and put apostrophes in the right places and even spell apostrophe when the spell-check's on.

NO I DIDN'T GO TO F-ING EWE KNEE but I have 3 very cosy O levels and I'm very good at looking after horses.

Twickenham based.

Go to View My Complete Profile for e-mail address.

Thank you.

Blogfriends apologies - normal service will be resumed once I'm in fish fingers again.

Monday, March 12, 2007

CONF 328: SUCCESSFUL FAILURES

Two choice failure stories this weekend. In The Independent, an interview with Oscar-winning director Steven Sonderbergh who says "success is like this mysterious person you meet at a party. You feel like you have this connection, you spend the night together, and you wake up the next morning and they're gone. Failure is like the house-guest that won't leave.. Success just feels like lightning struck. You could stand on the roof with a rod for the next two years and lightening wouldn't strike. You just can't conjure it."

In The Telegraph Craig Brown compares two biographies and tells why, for him, failure makes a far better read than triumph. He compares the story of Michael Foot with Terence Blacker's biography of Willie Donaldson - who, 'whenever he suspected that life was in danger of working, reached for a spanner.' When he went for an interview lunch with Tina Brown to discuss the idea of him becoming restaurant critic for The Tatler, he ordered fish fingers and milk. And still got the job. Hurray.

Bye bye, thanks for visiting, come again soon.

Friday, March 09, 2007

CONF 327: SHORT STORY COMPETITION

Another rejection in today. But I did have a good lunch with an old friend and this afternoon entered the Nanotales short story competition.

I had to sign up to Bebo and am now feeling like Sally Nofriends.

It's a story I wrote a long time ago, when I was at college and just loving the writing for the fun of it. It came 3rd in the college competition and I got my first hint of the soaring successes to follow, a £5.00 book token. I was chuffed, especially as the finalists were read out on the stage by the college's drama students. Writing for sheer pleasure. Must keep that in mind. The re-editing of novel 4 isn't exactly ecstasy, and those rejections really do put you off and make you feel utter rubbish.

On a jollier note, our dear little Hilary makes Pet News!

Bye bye, thanks for visiting, come again soon.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

'MOST WORKPLACES ACT AS IF HAVING KIDS IS A PECULIAR HOBBY'

As the preoccupation with survival continues, just loved and adored this piece by Mark Steel in yesterday's Independent about the whole childcare/work conundrum.

Bye bye, thanks for visiting, come again soon.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

CONF 325: WORRYFEST

Multi-faceted technicolor anxiety dream woke me up in the middle of the night. I was having a party of some sort, a tedious ex-boyfriend was there; a small child had carved its name in big letters the wooden floor of the front room (of rental house); Piers Morgan's Bisson Frise had attached itself to me and was following me around (Piers wasn't there, and I don't suppose he owns a little white dog either. It was lost and I didn't know what to do with it); then a mum from primary school playground turned up and started having a go at me for not putting my oar in with the PTA and just writing about it on the sneery sidelines (clue for Debbie McD - Chicago, Mortlake Rd), she wasn't so much mad at me as really, really upset. Ak.

Spent the rest of the night going over and over the reality check-list. Freelance work has dried completely. Four weeks now of nothing. Another fret was call yesterday from newspaper editor. Some advice I'd given didn't work out for a reader and he's fuming. I had to state my sources and go through pattern of how I'd got the information. Thankfully it was from a rock-solid national association of the trade, and she's so nice, the editor, and doesn't blame me or anything, but just a little add-on to all the rest of it.

I applied for another job yesterday. One of middle of night frets was whether putting my writing work on my CV is doing me any favours. Like many I have several, depending on what I'm going for. But are companies becoming increasingly wary of writers? There's all the blog thing (which of course I don't mention). I might be better leaving writing off completely. Even though I'm proud of my achievements and it shows I haven't been sitting on my arse these last 12 years (well, sort of). Or maybe I keep it non-creative, just flag up the non-fiction? But then isn't it worse having a journalist in the company than someone who makes up fiction? So there was all that to mull over. Has the freelance work really dried up so much or am I just at the bottom of the pile because of turning down a job when I was finishing the novel? Do I contact her again? Solution: research other agencies and see if they want freelancers.

Then the novel agents. It's with 2 at the moment, and I must send out some more query letters, but am still rewriting. Shouldn't I wait until the rewrites are in and then go full on again? So why aren't I writing now? Solution: Get off this blog NOW.

Bye bye, thanks for visiting, come again soon.

Monday, March 05, 2007

CONF 324: NOT A DOG BUT...


This is our dear little Hilary. Our third hamster and by far the cutest. She doesn't bite and will actually sit on your lap and be all furry and cuddly like a proper pet. Probably because, unlike the others, she was handled a lot from an early age. She's has a very funny way of sitting on her bottom with her legs in the air and has escaped 3 times so far.

Good start to the week. This morning filed my six journo pieces, added the daily 500 words to novel 5 before returning to rewrites on novel 4. Am on rewrites on the first 3 chapters now, plus a new chapter 4, the latest rewritten draft of it which I think have managed to lose. Have been feeling a bit weary about it all, but thankfully after today's fiddlings am feeling enthused again. A new twist has come into a latter part of the story and I think I've changed the title yet again.

We went to see Music and Lyrics over the weekend. We had gone to see Hot Fuzz but daughter was too young, so it was very much second best choice. But we enjoyed it. Am not a Hugh Grant fan, don't despise him, fairly neutral feelings, but in this he was the best I've seen him, funny and all. Yes it was formula, but what major studio films aren't these days? It went beyond that, I thought, very well written and the music was all right and - mainly - a laugh. I like looking up reviews after I've seen a film. The Guardian said this film 'lingers along like someone trying to tap dance in flippers.' Not fair at all. It's bad enough getting a bad review for a novel, getting a bad review for a feature film, which requires you to put not just all your mental energy, but all your physical energy and relating to people energy and doing very complicated things with money energy over many many years and all must make you feel, if possible, even worse.

Bye bye, thanks for visiting, come again soon.

Saturday, March 03, 2007

CONF 323: BAD WRITING DAY

Nothing like a rejection to start the day with a bang.

He says it was, of course, enjoyable reading (the 'of course' is his, not mine I speedily add later) but the market is so tough he has to be bowled over by enthusiasm to offer to represent anybody and he's afraid he fell just short of that.

That leaves 2 outstanding, plus I sent a reminder to one who's had it since the beginning of December in case it was never received. Will put one more out there later.

Bye bye, thanks for visiting, come again soon.

Friday, March 02, 2007

CONF 322: A GOOD WRITING DAY

Got stuck into the Point of No Return high dramas yesterday, going over the 500 word a day budget; this morning woke early with the what happens next scene trotting along in my head. All I had to do was come downstairs, write it out and that was me done by 9.30.

If only it could always be like that.

Happy weekend.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

CONF 321: NEW DIVERSION

At last the whole mums going back to work dilemma is getting a proper airing. I mean, it really doesn't add up. That's what my first novel was all about. I'm so glad it did get published even if it does remain obscure. There was no way I could have possibly gone back to TV work after daughter came along. I'm now a supreme example of someone who's landed up, 12 years later, as virtually unemployable but I wouldn't have had it any other way.

A quick check on the job website shows that now 94 people have applied for the tellygambling job. And I got a reply. An e-mail from the TV company, well, all right, their computer, saying go to their website. I did that but the job's not up there. And so the fun begins.

I've applied for another one, too. The application form was online for that so I got straight down to it, smattering in a selection of those lovely jobspeak words. I really don't expect to get very far, but an interview would be a day out, a peek into the world I left so long ago. I'd love it actually, being with people again. Getting a bit alone and miserable here after the excitement of finishing novel and now the dullment of no agents leaping at me. Am waiting on 3 at the moment, 2 have had it about 3 weeks, 1 about 1 week.

Bye bye, thanks for visiting, come again soon.