Monday, 29 June 2009

Back out there!

It's time. The edit is complete and it's time for the children's novel to get back out into circulation.

My first batch of submissions - (gosh it feels like ages ago) - had a good response - a couple of requests for fulls, some superb feedback from one particular agent, and a promise of feedback from another (which has yet to materialise but as she's not made me an offer I guess I'm pretty much at the bottom of her heap).

But following the advice given to me by Agent#1, Myth Making has had an extensive rewrite - along with abrand new title!

So the time has come - it's been out of circulation for long enough (tied up in an exclusive with Agent#2) - and there are still plenty of agents left on my list. The first couple of submissions are winging their way across the ether as I speak (type), and I'll try to get more out over the next couple of weeks.

Lets hope that Agent#1's advice is enough to tip the balance. Wish me luck everyone!

Tuesday, 23 June 2009


It’s so hard to be patient in this game. But we must. The cogs of this industry can move so slowly at times.

It can take an Agent several months to respond to a submission, many more months to respond to a full, and if you are honouring an exclusive on that full the wait can seem interminable.

I think if it wasn’t for the short stories I have out in circulation I would go crazy waiting. But fortunately the turn around on shorts can be much quicker - can be – but not always. I’ve had short stories tied up for over a year before now – and even once it is accepted it can be a long time before it appears in print. One contract I recently signed said the story would appear sometime in the next three years. So even here the turnaround can be very slow.

But patience is also important in the writing process itself. So many people finish their novel or story and then rush to submit. It’s so tempting to do. I’ve done it myself in the past, and watched the rejections rolling in. Why? Because the story wasn’t ready.

The editing phase is vital. It mustn’t be skimped. Put your work aside. Write something new. Do something else. Have a holiday. And come back to it fresh. You’ll be surprised how much you’ll see that needs to be done.

So I just have to try to be patient – only I’m not a very patient person.

Tuesday, 16 June 2009

Dismembered Bodies

They’ve found a load of dismembered bodies in the hills nearby, where a new road is being built – check this out:

But before you start thinking serial killers I ought to point out that these bodies date from Roman times.

It’s a fascinating find – seems that the heads are in one pile and the bodies in another. Apparently cutting off your enemy’s head was a mark of disrespect – no kidding!!

Archaeologists are busy all along the route of the new road. Here’s one of their dig sites showing some sort of circular structure. No bodies here though. They’re on the next ridge under 24 hour guard.
It’s fascinating to think about the people who lived here two thousand years ago – their lives – their worries. And what happened here? A pile of bodies with their heads cut off? There’s a story here somewhere – I can feel it.

Tuesday, 9 June 2009

Twin Tales

Over on Litopia they’ve been running a flash fiction contest. I have to admit it made a nice break from the rewrite I’m doing, to turn my hand to this exercise.

That’s the great thing about short stories – they’re fun to write, refreshing and stimulating. When you’re writing a novel occasionally you have to pause, either to do some research or maybe you just need a chance to let things gel a bit in your mind.

Whatever the reason this is a good time to break off and write a short story – about something completely different. Whenever I do this I come back to my WIP refreshed and eager to go.

So this little contest was well timed for me because I’ve just finished the first and main phase of my rewrite. All the structural changes are in place, and now that I’ve revitalised my creative juices I can go back to it with fresh eyes and give it a thorough read through to make sure I haven’t left any holes.

Anyway, the shortlisted stories are being read out this week over at the Litopia Podcast. The calibre of the colony writers is extremely high so you can be certain that these are going to be good. I’m looking forward to listening to them

Monday, 1 June 2009


What manner of beast is this?

It's a grotesque on the tower of a Norman church. These creatures are a common feature in this region - over in Somerset they are known as hunky punks. Here they have no name. They are just there - staring down on the Sunday worshipers as they file their way to mass.

But what are they? What are they supposed to represent? Half goat? Half pig? What possesssed those 12th Century sculptors to carve such creatures?

If anyone has any ideas I'd love to know!