Words from Lionel Bart’s marvellous ‘Oliver’ where Fagin considers his position.
At the moment, I’m working to a deadline. The submission date for the Write Now competition is 1st December – this Saturday. I only finished the first draft of ‘Georgiana and the Municipal Moon’ on 1st November – all 86,000 words of it!
Now it may well be that I should have shoved it in a (metaphorical) drawer for six weeks as per Stephen King’s advice – but alas, Pan Macmillan won’t wait for me. I have to say, too, that it’s good for me to have a date in mind, something to throw at the procrastination demons. It concentrates the analytical mind, at least.
There are two main aspects to the challenge:
- making my 5k extract as brilliant as I can
- pulling the first draft into a presentable whole – in case the judges ask for it
I have done a one page synopsis ( always a good exercise to see exactly what your book is about) and my author biography won’t take long. It’s those two biggies above that have caused me to be even more distracted from the ordinary world than usual.
Well, they say two heads are better than none – even if one’s only a sheep’s head where I come from (Yorkshire – where else?). On Friday night, I certainly had more than a flock of yows to consult.
The Night-Before Critique Meet is a legendary pre-SCBWI Conference event where you can tap into the mental resources of four or five authors like you. The group reads everyone’s extracts and gives considered feedback on them. I was lucky enough to work with Sarah Penny, Fiona McKeracher, Julie Day and Jan Carr. Each of these talented writers brought their own distinctive and helpful approach to bear on my work – and I am truly grateful. I will point out that gratitude in my case doesn’t mean that I will take every one of their comments to heart – but it does mean I take them seriously.
Two – you know who you are – have gone even further and provided a response to my redrafted version. How’s that for professional support?
If you are editing, and you have the chance of some input from fellow writers who have the best interests of your text at heart, receive it with a grateful heart. There are few things better.
My gratitude to everyone whose read and commented on my work so far. At the risk of seeming Hollywood-gushy, I couldn’t have done it without you.