Friday, October 2, 2009

C'mon... let's get with the programme gang!

I think that I might actually have my query letter done! 

I knew that it would happen eventually, that everything would fall into to place... but holy hell, it has been more stressful than writing the whole book! And I have no idea how it will go either, but it feels good in my gut.. and that as much as I can ask from myself.  

So, I have my first wee list of agents that I am going to query and you know what stood out to me the most... that you can query almost every single agent in the USA with an email... in fact, some of them don't even accept 'snail mail' anymore. But in the UK, out of the whole list that I made, a grand total of 2 accept email queries and NOT EVEN ONE in Australia. 

That is nuts!!! 

I totally understand if you need to read a whole MS, then a paper submission makes complete sense but for the initial query... C'mon.... surely you get a feel within like the first, what, 10 pages if the book is making your waters move around in anticipation??? Just seems such a waste of resource and energy for everyone involved to not do email queries. 

Or do I just no idea and talking out of a whole in my head???


So, I think I am going to send it all this weekend.... I just have to put a synopsis together and we are ready to role on through to fame and fortune.... 'cause that's how it happens... yes?  

Saturday, September 26, 2009

What I'm reading...

Giving Julie & Julia (Julie Powell) another bash... I am sure I bought more than a year ago, likely even more than that... but although I liked the concept, it never grabbed me and unusually for me, I didn't finish it. Of course, the movie is soon out and I ADORE reading the book and then seeing the movie... so, I'm trying again and seem to be enjoying. Weird how that happens... you don't like and then you do... bit like the HP books. 

And on that, have no finished the Goblet of Fire (JK Rowling - FYI, now has twitter))... loved the movie, was mesmerized. So wish that Peter Jackson suddenly took a liking to me and included me in all his future movie making undertakings. What an amazing thing to do.... take a book and make it into a movie. Love it! Sorry, mentioned that already.... but I really do, I love it! 

Am also on pg 26 of Great Expectations (Charles Dickens). I'm not a fan of olde school (though I really would love to be) but am impressed by his writing... like this piece...
'I had seen the damp lying outside of my little window, as if some goblin had been crying there all night, and using the window for a pocket-handkerchief.'
Isn't that lovely....  

Screaming... silently.....

Jaysus.... this is stressful! 

The writing is the easy part compared to the self-doubt, research, more self-doubt, more research and NEVER ENDING EDITING! ....I-N-T-E-N-S-E!!!! I tell myself that it doesn't matter.... it really doesn't... do it and if it doesn't work out... I can either try again or let it go! But still, I feel the creeping hysteria crawl up from my belly into my throat and I almost want to let out a primal scream of distress. Like a maimed animal that isn't sure if it's leg is in fact caught in the trap or not.... But that is the thing about animals, it's all instinct and not feeling. 

The other half keeps saying 'It's your book, do what you think it right!' but it is hard when you have no idea what is the 'right' thing to do. He reckons I have too many people with an opinion! The irony is that none of them have said anything bad... they all love, but when I receive the edits from the Grammar Nazi (with a lot more blue pen than any writer would ever like to see across their writing), I still get the shits. Some of the changes are so 'basic' I question if I have it in me at all to write if I don't know the basics! And how far do you take their suggestions before it's no longer your own story to tell.  

I wish, I wish, I wish..... too much. 

You know, just get on with it already ... or get the fuck out of the kitchen!  

Thursday, August 13, 2009

So, you want to be a writer?

Apparently, yes.

But, let's not get ahead of ourselves.
Rather, lets start at the best place - the beginning.

Basically, for no rhyme nor reason, I woke on an ordinary Sunday morning in December 2008, turned to my husband and declared.... 'I think I'm going to write a book.'
He is quite used to me going on tangents, smiled indulgently and went back to sleep.
This was a first for me though. I had never really thought of writing a book. Reading them, yes please. Writing them, hmmmm, not so much.
But I took my laptop out, placed it on the kitchen table and started to tap away... and before I knew it, I had been going for 5 hours straight.
I'd never been happier.
I was going to be a writer... wasn't I?

Writing soon became my obsession. Originally, I kept it to myself, scared that it might be a passing flight of fancy (I have had these before... refer husbands response above). But, I never waivered and every chance I got, I wrote.
I remember so clearly being overwhelmed when I reached 15,000 words.
15,000 words!
I remember when I reached 40,000 words.
40,000 words!
I was half way there.
I remember when I reached 80,000 words.... and there was still more to come, the story was not yet over, it was still pouring forth.
I was going to be a writer... wasn't I?

But could I write.
I thought so... but then I may be biased.
So, off I sent it to a girlfriend, she loved it. I almost cried when she told me.
For 31 years I wondered what my special God given talent was (apart from being highly amusing) ... what was I truly good at? Could this be it... could this be my thing?
Time to send it to my harshest critic, a blood tie - my sister... who is also an editor.
I still have the email from her... I look at it when I feel like I can't anymore, that I'm kidding myself, that I have as much talent as a chimpanzee with a pencil.
It says, 'Sis, I'm so proud of you... I'm popping the champagne already.'
Later, she said it needs work... bless her... but the bones were good.
I was going to be a writer... wasn't I?

And then, on 12 July 2009 at 9.20pm, I put the last word of the last chapter down. I had finished my book.
Holy fuck!
I had actually finished a whole, entire novel. With a beginning, middle and end. A full story.
And my husband was in bed, I was alone, it was a Sunday night in sleepy New Zealand.
The best I could do was post my achievement on Facebook.
I got a barrage of replies... I still have them.
So the book is finished.
I was going to be a writer... wasn't I?

I'm editing as we speak. It's slow. Really slow.
How did Stephanie Meyer bang out 'Twilight' in 6 months?
How, how, how?
She's a legend, that's how.
Amazing story... I am green with envy. But I doubt that I would have written that story down if I had dreamt it anyway. I probably would have thought, 'That was one freaky arsed dream' and moved on. So touche Stephanie, tou-frecken-che! I hope to meet you one day, have a yarn about it.

So, turns out that the writing part (which involves copious amounts of sweating, grinding your teeth, scratching your head, sore wrists and fingers, stiff buttocks, sleepless nights, trashing yourself, your novel and your talent, some crying, eating (too much) eating (some more), lots of tea, lots of coffee, irritation with yourself, your loved ones, your friends, bus drivers, motorists, that random guy in your building plus crippling self doubt) is the easy part.
Yes, the easy part!
It's getting published that's the bitch. The sort of bitch who is simultaneously pre-pubescent, pre-menstrual, sexually frustrated, menopausal and gagging for some chocolate. NOW!
Fun times it seems.
But, I was going to be a writer... wasn't I?

You know what.... I have no frecken idea.
Let's look at the stats for a minute.
We'll start with New Zealand (because i did)... we have a total of 5 (yes, as in singular) literary agents. In the whole country.
I tried 2... neither of which were taking on new clients.
The recession, you know.
But both were lovely.
One even gave me an analogy of literary agents being like a highway and writers the cars entering an on ramp... often there are just to many cars trying to get onto the highway. Which leaves congestion. And pollution. And bad feelings all round. (I ad libbed there a bit)
So now I am looking at the UK and USA...
And freaking out. I'm not even sure why.
Maybe because I really want to write and I am scared shitless that I'm not good enough. That my dream will be shattered into a million pieces and I will just be another nobody, aimlessly wondering through life, wondering if this is it. (Secretly, I think even if I was a famous writer, I would still feel that way... but at least I could write about it and bore others).
Or maybe it's because of the tiny, minute, almost non-existent percentage of writers a year that get picked up. Probably a combination.

But, god damn, I really want to be a writer.
A real one, the type that puts 'writer' on applications that ask for 'Occupation'.
I don't even have to be the next JK Rowling (although, that would be nice). Or the next Helen Fielding (not bad either). I just want to be able to write full time, say 'Call my agent' and have a kick arse, amazingly talented editor to guide me and give me advice. Make me an even better writer. It's not like I'm asking for world peace or the cure to cancer here.
I just want to be published, have plenty of guidance and maybe a book signing or three. With at least one interested person there who isn't lost. And looking for the toilets.

So, that is it.
My book is finished, I'm editing as we speak and I'm too scared to send a query letter.
A bit of a stalemate. But it has to get done.
And now that you are here, you will hold my hand, wipe my tears and make sure I do this.
Because, well, I am a writer and that's what we do.