I’m reviewing the situation

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:

  1. making my 5k extract as brilliant as I can
  2. 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.

Time and motion study

This week ( 30th September to 6th October ) I have been in Greece. This was a family holiday booked much earlier in the year for the benefit of my lovely husband who is Rather An Active Sort. We are at a Nielson Resort which means there are A Lot of Healthy Things To Do laid on.

This suits him enormously but I had my concerns. I have been rather pleasantly surprised. By the time that you read this I will have :

  • written 3k+ more of Georgiana & The Municipal Moon
  • read and reviewed one middle grade girls’ fantasy
  • read and reviewed a huge YA fantasy ( with demons!)
  • read three more books on my Kindle
  • written two articles for the #seamagic project
  • posted at least five #seamagic links on Facebook & Twitter
  • done four sessions each of yoga, zumba, aqua-aerobics and stretch & relax
  • walked, swam, snorkelled – and ate too much
  • written this post – obviously

Not the only fantasy reader…

Now it has to be said that I haven’t had to cook or clean this week (huzzah!) but I have socialised more than I would normally. My intention here is not to boast ( well, perhaps a little) but to show myself that I can do all sorts of different things and still find time to write & other authorly stuff.

Some things just keep going, no matter what.

I rather hope you might have read an earlier post about using your core – I’d like to add that this is not a contradiction. I don’t actually find I can multi-task much. I can do things in sequence, not parallel.

I believe that this week has worked best when I have thrown myself whole-heartedly into exploring a half-submerged cave, dancing like a loon or writing about Regency Selchester. I can’t do two things at once very well – but I can do them one after the other – even in, say, twenty minutes.

Close of play – even for Lovely Husband.

 How do you fit your many tasks in during the week?