Eight is many, many, many too few.

despair_by_astridle-d60lux7I finish January with a little spark of life.  In October last year, I completed a mass of submissions; a volume of work so large, I recently took time out to count how many agents had received my work.  My cup of tea had barely stopped swirling.  In the bin, the teabag still perspired with Earl Grey’s sweat.  Before me, I had the number: eight.

Eight was not as vast as the number of submissions I had envisaged.  I honestly think, following my manuscript assessment, that I’d acquired a little…er…confidence.  The cold wind howls and a tumbleweed tumbles across an icy tundra…it had rolled a long way.  As I wrote last month, my rejections were very supportive.  Since then, I’ve had a conversation with a lovely publisher (who rejected my manuscript) who also offered praise for the book.

The spark?  Well after looking at the number EIGHT, I realised that it needed to be much larger.  Didn’t J.K have fifty or sixty rejections?  I employed assistance, my wife lay on the bed with ‘The Writer’s and Artist’s Yearbook’, whilst I scoured the internet.  She called out UK agent names and I read their websites – I hope they appreciate that some of us do try to find an engaging match with both company and agent.

On one agent’s page, they recommend that a writer’s submission will be immediately thrown out if emoticons are used.  This kind of information fills me with the confidence that tells me, ‘You’re already beating someone.’  The race however, is to be the first out of thousands.  Another site recommends, ‘Don’t address us by another agent’s name.’…brilliant, that’s two people I can do better than.

Today, the submission count is at seventeen.  I think I’ve fallen in love with the idea of working with all nine of the new contacts.  As the submissions pile up, it becomes more apparent that I need:
The right agent, on the right day, with the right needs and the right publishing contact in mind.

Next weekend: I’M HOME ALONE!  Debauchery – excesses – wild abandon…
…are all things that won’t happen.  Instead, I think The Hollow needs a kick in the backside.  I’ve never written a short story over such a long period of time.  I usually tear through the first draft and then edit it for the rest of eternity.  Writing the first draft for, The Hollow has been like building a Lego car, except the bricks are arriving one at a time via sea mail.  Well, let’s see what happens next weekend, maybe a bulk order will arrive.

Fuelled by Christmas Wine

Merry Face-SSwamp Monstertuffing!  As I drift off into a post lunch coma, I will attempt to write this month’s blog.  Fuelled by two-to-three wines I will try to report what’s been happening in December?  There have been a few very positive responses to my novel, but silence rules most of all.  I have received two rejection emails and, after eight weeks, about six to eight non-responses.  I am still agent and publisher bereft.

I’m happy with the rejections as they were both extremely polite.  They said that they had enjoyed the work…but it just wasn’t ‘what they were looking for.’  One of the respondents indulged me with their reader’s feedback, which was very kind.  I believe, to my credit, one of the companies who rejected the story didn’t get what I was trying to do.  Ultimately, this is always my fault, however, I’m still not keen to ‘dumb the novel down’ at this stage.

In last month’s blog, I made the observation that submitting one’s novel required a steady stream of submissions.  I have immediately ignored this rule…to my own detriment.  If the agents who haven’t responded, don’t respond, then I’m at least eight weeks off hearing anything new.  I need to submit-submit-submit.

There is one publisher, whom I have submitted the novel to, that I hope will still get back to me.  I love their stuff and would love to be part of growing with them.

As for new writing – that never stops.  I have started another Greysham short story titled, ‘The Hollow’.  It has been in the works for years and I’m enjoying the first draft.  I’m playing with the idea of a narrator disliking another character for being similar to himself.  In this exercise, I have Poppy making a guest appearance.  Initially, a character is rather sexist towards her.  She puts him in his place – as Poppy can do.  The narrator observes this and reports what a pig the man is.  He then journals his own lustful thoughts, almost in unison with the man he despises.

It’s a weird exercise to attempt.  I risk losing the reader’s trust in the narrator at this point.  Perhaps the double standard the narrator exhibits will be viewed as false…it’s an illustration of ‘thoughts’ that maybe covered in polite interaction.  I think the issue is an interesting one, and will hopefully provoke thought.

Now…back to my coma…ZZzzzz…..