Friday, 14 September 2012

The Yeovil Literary Prize

I am very proud and excited to report that the results of the Yeovil competition are up. It is so exciting to see your name in print! That's hugely validating for someone like me, who hasn't yet had the big rubber stamp called Publication, that suggests you are on the right path.  Here's the results page, and congratulations to all the writers mentioned on it! Especially the winner, of course, Susan Luddem, whose book looks intriguing.

Meanwhile, the news from the the other book - The Secrets of Life and Death - is still waiting, but despite the long time involved, editors are still considering the book, and one has also requested a synopsis of the sequel. My agent sounds cautiously optimistic that we will get an offer, but I've got to adrenaline burn out at the moment, and am happy just to see what happens. Meanwhile, my MA dissertation goes in next week and then I will get on with my next project and editing A Baby's Bones. I've had some great feedback and am ready to put them into the next draft. 

Friday, 7 September 2012

Making a series

I've had some really useful feedback on A Baby's Bones, now finished in second draft. It made me wonder whether the books are about one central character, who needs to be used more consistently. In Baby's Bones, he's a small but important part of the book; in The Secrets of Life and Death, he is a POV character and a major player. 

Meanwhile, I'm waiting to hear back from my agent to see if anyone is interested in Secrets while I power on (for fun) with a book I wrote years ago and I have completely re-imagined with just the central characters. One of them is so charming and funny and so dangerous, he is delightful to write. The main character is damaged and lost, but clinging to her sense of self and what's left of her sanity. The two of them make an interesting story which is really about survival of self against terrible odds. I'm just writing a page, but as I don't have a title I'll call it Caitlin's book until I come up with something (anything!) better.

I've also written a rationale for my MA dissertation. I've been conflicted about how much use the MA was to me as a writer. Honestly, on the one hand it was helpful because I did finish a book to 'markable' standard and it did do well in a competition. It's made me a lot more aware of what I'm doing as a writer, and it made me read a lot of books which informed my writing. It forced me to pull my poetry up considerably. It also (brilliantly) introduced me to people working in the industry, and how it works, which has perhaps made me a bit more patient with the long wait to find out how my novel fared in the hands of the editors. 

What it also did was make me read a lot of theory which is only peripherally helpful, and some wasn't useful for my work at all.  There was no help in novel writing specifically.

I miss the challenges and opportunities of classes. I mostly miss the feedback, though I was lucky enough to meet two writers who have helped enormously by beta reading my novels. I wish there was something locally where I could get that level of feedback.