Thursday, February 26, 2009

CONF 588: PITCHING

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Writing fantasy is one thing but trying to describe it in a matter-of-fact, synopsis-like, way that will also excite (without sounding bonkers) and sell, and all inside 2 pages, has taken me all week. A grumpy week with days that ended with 'this is rubbish' followed by days that started with crossing most of what I'd done the day before out. Anyway, it's done now and am sending it off to agent with the first few chapters.

An email came in from agent in the middle of all this, always an exciting moment. It was an offer to pitch for a ghostwriting-type job. It confused me for a while, I'm going to finish the novel I'm on no matter what happens, that's my deal with myself. Pitch will involve writing about 9,000 words on spec with by no means a definite commission at the end of it. But with my situation the way it is right now I have no choice but be in the 'say yes to everything' mode. So there's the next task sorted. If I gun it I should be able to do it in a week.

Did you see this Mick Brown interview with Anita Brookner, 'one of the most extraordinary women' he's ever met? Touching.

Bye bye, thanks for visiting, come again soon.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

CONF 587: PUTTING A GLOSS ON IT


'Shall I clean it before I bring it in?' I asked the dealer. 'No need,' he said. But garages have to get all of their trade-ins properly cleaned don't they? It's probably being polished up right now ready to go to the auctions where a kid racer will fall in love. Isn't it. Isn't it? Unlike Lucy Diamond, who couldn't get rid of her old car fast enough, it's all been quite emotional this end. The last school run, the last parking, last drive ever, the last wave goodbye. Remembering the progression of tiny pale blue baby backwards seat in the front to chunky booster seat in back to teenagers weighing the suspension down so that it crunched and growled along and every speed bump was a challenge. The drives around Dorset, my old mother enjoying her last views of the sea. So, farewell old faithful and, onwards and upwards, heeere's the new girl:





Nearly all the new car ads are red now. Why is that? Grey in boom times, red in bust? Anyway it worked with us. A nice touch is the first two letters of the numberplate turn out to be my mother's initials, LC, so there's her name, Elsie, and all bodes well for my shiny new life.

Bye bye, thanks for visiting, come again soon.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

CONF 586: AND SO ON

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Sorry about that. It was a particularly dark and rainy Monday morning. Everybody who wasn't Kate Winslet was probably having a quiet grumble about something or other. All is fine again now. Have my synopsis back with some very good, clear advice. Mainly, it's much too long, and too dense - more of a story outline. I now have to make it into a selling document of no more than 2 pages.

Meantime lots of journalism work has come in which always makes me feel wanted. We've also solved the car problem - the 16 year old is going. I, me, second-hand me, who doesn't even replace an oven glove when it's got holes in it, is about to take delivery of a brand new, shiny red, steering wheel controlled MP3 ipodded-up, hatchback. We toured the car dealers of Chiswick yesterday, slightly fearful but most of the dealers lovely and gentle, until we stopped at Spanish Tony who had an offer we couldn't refuse. It's coming to the end of the car numberplate year, the crunch is obviously biting and all that so it seemed like a good time to do it now rather spend lots on repairs and wait another year. I then had unexpected fun last night doing the online car insurance comparison thingy. At the risk of sounding like the woman in the ad, it's completely brilliant - knocking over 400 quid off my broker's quote. Hurrah for moneysavingexpert once again. They also have a useful job description tweaking thingy for those of us in the risky, untrustworthy professions. I actually called myself a journalist, insurers, it seems, prefer them to TV people.

Bye bye, thanks for visiting, come again soon.

Monday, February 09, 2009

CONF 585: WHOOPS

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Having sent synopsis out to be read by a kindly friend am now convinced it's seriously bad. My instincts are telling me that it's time to draw a line underneath the writing lark and dedicate my time to being a little bit more constructive, either helping others outside my immediate family or earning a proper income.

Did some voluntary work yesterday at a travel fair, much as I hate chuggers it wasn't far removed, selling stuff for charity, and though I am the world's worst salesperson it was still fun. The polar opposite of sitting at a computer all day every day not interacting with anybody face to face. Yes I'm the carer of a young person and a sick person so am not a total waste of space but the loneliness is getting to me. I won't stop writing. I have a couple of credit crunchy non-fiction ideas I want to test out on my agent; it's a remote possibility that the 2 editors who wanted me will come under new regimes, or their superiors (ie the salespeople) will suddenly wake up to the gap in the market I felt I was filling; I still do the newspaper column and have done a few articles for a new magazine in this last month. None of it adds up to making a proper living though. Ironically, hugely successful author next door is In Residence at the moment. I know She was once like me etc etc and it could all turn a little way in my favour, but, actually, statistically, it probably won't.

I also followed my own advice and Listened Again to Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday's Radio 4 Book of the Week I recommended last week and became increasingly irritated with it and was thinking gaah, and I've said how brilliant it is now.

Bye bye, thanks for visiting, come again soon.

Thursday, February 05, 2009

CONF 584: SYNOPSIS TIME

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The car failed its MOT yesterday. In fairly spectacular style. 'It's belching, backfiring and filling up the garage with blue smoke, come and get it and I'll talk you through the list of failures.'

I had a bit of a row with the assistant mechanic when I delivered it, never a good thing when you're taking your car in for its health check. Not a row exactly, he was upsetting me at a time when I'm easily upset. He went berserk in his hatred for the area of London I live in. He really was quite aggressive about it. I was bantering back fine but then I just lost it... in a girly, teary way. And thus it seems the car's engine decided to splat and misfire whilst it was in the hands of this twat - it was fine when I drove it in. His boss is lovely, though, and I've been going there for years. I really didn't even consider that this thicko might have transferred his rant at my postal code from me onto my engine when his boss wasn't looking until partner suggested it. Anyway that's it, the car is screwed, and, of course, they can't work on it straight away, will have to take it back next week. Well, am waiting for a phone quote which will decide if it's for the scrapheap or not. The car is ancient, I should add, an L reg of the last alphabet vintage, and probably decided there was as good a place as any to start misbehaving.

Made the school run this morning, jerking along the A316 on 3 cylinders, going into neutral and handbreak at each traffic jam/red light, revving up in case it conked out.

Have nearly finished writing the synopsis and feeling quite good. My writing is actually making me feel happy. This, I know, as any writer will know, is only a temporary situation. When I re-read it tomorrow, or in a moment even, I will probably revert back to default this is utter crap mode. Beyond crap with this one because there's no in between. It's either really original in a good way or complete and utter nonsense. Also, heard two fantastic writerly things on the radio this morning. Charlotte Roche on Woman's Hour reading from and talking about Wetlands and Rachel Cusk's The Last Supper on Book of The Week - her descriptions of Naples were beyond brilliant in a way that made me want to go straight out and buy this book even though I don't buy books. Listen Again while you can.

Bye bye, thanks for visiting, come again soon.