19 October 2009

A Personal Odyssey

I've not blogged for a long, long while but I am feeling the need once more. And why I hear you cry?

For nigh on two years I have used almost every bit of free time writing and, more accurately, rewriting a novel. Like many who write I harboured a dream of writing a novel for years. For many moons fear held me back. That and two young boys and a full-time job. I continued to write non-fiction - journalism, copywriting, reviews and the like - and even wrote a small selection of short stories, with a moderate degree of success. But the novel existed in my head only. Finally, I read Jacqui Lofthouse's marvellous The First 30 Days, a brilliant guide to ending procrastination and getting a thousand words a day down on paper, or pc. It worked for me. Less than twelve months later I had a first draft and another eight months on I had a fifth draft that I was, if not exactly happy with, at least not desperately ashamed of. No doubt it is flawed, but it is 100,000 words of a coherent story, and I'm proud of it.
The whole thing started as an experiment - to see if I could do it - and I was always open to the idea that I might not be able to. It was only when I reached the 60,000 word mark and realised that I knew, finally, where the story would end that I admitted that I would complete a novel. Good grief.
What a journey it was. I learnt so much and, most importantly, I enjoyed the process. So much so that I am starting my second book and seeking representation for the first. Hence the blogging again. I will record the next stage of my journey here on A Scorpion Scribbles...
The story so far.
I have submitted a one page synopsis and the first 10,000 words along with a brief covering letter to four agents. I sent my submission package to three in the first instance - around five weeks ago - and pledged that as the rejections come in, another package would go out. So, I have had one rejection so far. And if one is to believe the stories by literary luminaries like Sarah Waters and Joanna Trollope I have 29 or more to receive before the six figure deal is struck and the Brooker prize awarded (ahem)! Although it was disappointing it was at least not a rejection of the 'have you considered taking up horticulture as a hobby Ms Wilkinson?' variety. Onwards say I.
Of course, being human I am beset with doubt and easily depressed by (the increasingly frequent) newpaper reports detailing the death of the publishing industry and difficulties faced by debut novelists struggling to get published. But I am a realist, and do not dream of giving up the day job and revelling in a life spent at the pc pouring out bestseller after bestseller. It would be a dream come true to have the book published and read by more than a few hundred people. Keep your fingers, toes and anything else you can think of crossed for me.

I'll keep you posted...

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