Tomorrow, I’ll be sending out my first three chapters of my murder mystery novel to a number of UK agents who I think might, no must, be interested. The day after I’ll sit back and begin to fret no doubt whether I composed a good introductory letter, compiled a brilliant succinct synopsis and, of course, did I cross all the i’s and dot the t’s in my sample manuscript? Then I’ll begin to wonder if I selected the appropriate agents to consider my work and if I did, will they like it. Next will come, when shall I hear I’ve been rejected?
The first chapters had been reviewed by the Writers’ Workshop last year. Since then, I have turned a lot of the novel on its head, written the MC in the first person and viewed the rail crash through the eyes of a survivor.
Rail crash, what rail crash?
Ah, should I have told you that?
Well OK, the novel involves the worst rail disaster to have happened in England, when 112 died and 340 were injured, and that’s all I’m giving away at this time. The chances of getting it published are about 1:1000. The chances of getting it published for the 60th anniversary of the crash by the traditional route, are even smaller. Time will tell, and you’ll be the second to know about it if it happens, if you sign up to my blog – see below. Of course it will happen – think positive, man.
Those first critical chapters have been tweaked countless times by me before going out to my beta-readers. Amazed at what they picked up on, I incorporated changes, added more detail, took some out, adjusted some characters – poor Lorna’s eye-colour went from black to brown and have ended up blue – and I corrected punctuation and tense. Then I tweaked it another 50 times! WW call it ‘polishing’.
So, it should be word perfect and make absolutely addictive reading, for everyone and their dog. As I said earlier, time will tell.
with thanks to Writer’s Workshop on letter & synopsis guidance. For more information about that, see http://www.writersworkshop.co.uk/Get-literary-agent.html
and you can sign up for my blog here at http://www.edwintipple.wordpress.com to see how it all works out. Go on, I promise not to blog rubbish.
The other day, I was re-writing chapter 11 (it needed splitting, and then I needed to re-write the content so it fit in with my other re-writes) and I had a fretty moment where I wondered ‘am I re-writing too much of this?!’ followed by ‘Oh, Dear Lord, this first draft is SHIT!’. Now, I’ve mentioned before how crappy my first draft is, and I think it bears repeating – My first draft is crap. Bollocks. Terrible.
And the chances are yours is, too.
(And I'm leaving it there, to be deliberately controversial! ^^D)
Read the rest here: http://adarkwhimsy.wordpress.com/2012/02/29/heavy-engineering/
Congratulations! You are the First Prize winner of our competition held in collaboration with Mumsnet. Your entry was chosen from 120 entries and was judged by Helen Garnons-Williams- Commissioning Editor at Bloomsbury Publishing, Ele Fountain-Senior Commissioning Editor at Bloomsbury Publishing and Alysoun Owen-Editor of Writers’ & Artists’ Yearbook.
We will be featuring your winning book idea and the editors’ comments on our website from tomorrow, but in advance, here is the review written for your entry:
This pithy, fast-paced description hints at a story full of thrills, intrigue and passion. It has all the ingredients for a rollercoaster of a ride through the murkier parts of the protagonists’ pasts and presents. I defy you not to be caught up by the drama that has been so concisely but dramatically evoked. Will Danko and Saskia get to live happily ever after?
As First Prize winner, we are also pleased to offer you a free How Strong is Your Book Idea? review (RRP £119.99) from an established Editor and top Literary Agent. I will send a further email tomorrow with details on claiming your prize. In the meantime, here is a link for further information on the How Strong is Your Book Idea? review service.
Celeste Ward-BestWriters’ & Artists’ Yearbook Assistant | Bloomsbury Publishing Plc
I just don't feel the same about you anymore. Don't get upset, it's just.. we've grown apart.
I used to get a tingly fizzy feeling when I wrote, I was so excited and driven, proud to tell my friends I aspire to be a writer.
Now, not so much.
It's not just a dry spell, it's a drought of massive proportions. I haven't enjoyed writing or reading for half a yearish and it's not nice.
Will I ever get that special relationship back?
The thing is that he’s the second uncle to go this year. Which leaves me with just the one uncle left and he is in pretty bad shape. About a month ago my father had a heart attack, mild but his third one of those and also a small stroke thrown in for luck, which medical science has detected was his second. I dragged him to hospital by main force and got him sorted, but he’s now planning his exit, by which I mean putting things in order as he “doesn’t want to leave me with any problems!!”
It seems most likely that before too long, a year or so at most I reckon, that will be it for the preceding generation of my male relatives. Which means, however long it may take, I could well be next up.
Sobering thought that. But then again, I could be next up when I cross the street this evening. Crossing the street doesn't make you think about these things though. Perhaps I should get on and do all of those things I haven't yet done while I can.
It’s always later than you think.
Many thanks for all of your well wishes folks. It means a lot.
We had Barney put to sleep last night. It was very peacful and the old boy even thumped his tail on the floor one more time. We just about avoided complete meltdown at the vets, and we once we reached home again it was such a relief. I guess we had hung on with him a few weeks too long to be honest. No, it was me that dithered; Mrs Mac was far more pactical this time.
Of course little scruffy Sam was waiting for us. He is such a faithful little beast, but to me has always been a secondary dog; Barney's chew toy. Well he's gonna get a whole lotta lurve now!
I rang our two sons to tell them and they agreed we'd done the right thing. Of course the question now turns to do we get another dog to keep Sam company? I think we'll wait a while yet. I put this to the boys, and James, the youngest, said 'Go on Dad, you've got one more good dog left in you yet.' Cheeky git! So that's how my life is measured now eh? One more good dog left in me.
Thanks again everyone. All is good.
As I've had cause to mention time and time again in these blogs, during the 1950s a great many writers and other filmmakers were barred from working in Hollywood having been blacklisted; basically denounced as communists as a result of the HUAC hearings (I'm simplifying a little because I have limited space and it's a huge subject). Of those people, a group of 10 refused to answer one way or another, believing this to be their first amendment right, HUAC disagreed and the Hollywood Ten were sent to prison for contempt of Congress.
If you're only heard of one of the Hollywood ten the chances are it's Ring Lardner jr. one of the writers of Cloak and Dagger (a fairly mediocre entry on Fritz lang's CV showing this Friday on Film4 at 4.30pm). Partly this is because he has a memorable name, partly it's because he had the best comeback when the committee asked if he had ever been a member of the Communist Party; 'I could answer it, but if I did I would hate myself in the morning'. But I would venture that the main reason is that Lardner has the best 'story', he's the man who won Oscars for writing either side of his blacklisting, for best original screenplay for 1942's Woman of the Year, and best adapted for MASH in 1971. (there's my Oscar link)
Almost from the first Lardner was a problem figure to producers, he tended to favour controversial subject matter, something that affected the number of films he got made even after his blacklisting was lifted in the more permissive sixties. When Woman of the Year was ready to be shown to MGM boss Louis B Mayer, it was star Katherine Hepburn who presented it, hiding the identity of it's writers (Lardner wrote it with Garson Kanin) whose poitical associations were already raising eyebrows.
During a decade and a half in the wilderness Lardner did some uncredited work, wrote under pseudonyms and may have used other writers as a front (one such writer, Lardner claimed, won an Oscar for Lardner's script, though he declined to say who). Friends like Otto Preminger threw work his way and he did a lot of TV stuff under pseudonyms, including Richard Greene's Adventures of Robin Hood. In the recent BBC production of Robin Hood one of the episodes was called Lardner's Ring in tribute (still an excreable series but a nice gesture). Finally in 1965 Norman Jewison gave Lardner credit on The Cincinnati Kid and he was legitimate once more. Unlike a lot of his contemporaries, Lardner's high profile status allowed him to make a decent recovery, culminating in his Oscar for MASH (and yes I know Altman changed bits and there's some improv but look at the book it's based on and tell me a writer didn't structure that film).
For what it's worth, and I personally don't think it matters, Lardner was a member of the Commuinst Party, he later became disillusioned and my favourite quote from him is '...Communism, like Christianity, is a beautiful theory that has yet to be tested, because it has never been put into practice.'. But, although his situation draws attention, I think it's important to remember him as what he was; a writer, whose work was tragically limited by circumstance, but one who still managed to produce an impressive body of work.
But I digress. What I tend to do for my stories is gather a file of images and make a collage or two out of them, and of course this can all be done these days without Spray Mount and its damage to the atmosphere and probably my nostrils. I even sent one of these mood boards to an agent once, with my submission, and it did get me a slightly more personal and positive reply than the usual.
Well, now the job has been made even easier. I'm sure a lot of you have heard about Pinterest in the last little while. For those who haven't, it's a virtual pinboard social media site, used typically for planning weddings, I understand. While my first reaction was - who needs yet another social media site - I have tried it out and it's becoming quite addictive - almost as much as Spray Mount...
I'm not sure how much value it will have in promoting a book, but it's certainly a valuable tool for keeping everything in terms of visual inspiration in one place.
If you'd like a look at my first pinbaord, it's here.