Wednesday, 22 February 2012

The best day of the year...

I love Pancake Day.. Apart from my birthday, I really think it is my favourite day of the year. Of course, I have pancakes on my birthday for breakfast but on Pancake Day, you are allowed them for dinner. At least, that's what I do. Every year, the Chardmeister askes me if I'm really having pancakes for dinner and I look at him like the Captain Dufus he is and say, 'well, what else would I be haiving?' Really. 

I don't care for the traditional crepe style pancakes, instead much preferring American style pancakes dripping with salty butter and maple syrup, like zees (minus the bacon tonight):

This Pancake Day, I'm even having proper Canadian maple syrup brought back by my good friend and writing buddy, Liah. It's in a maple leaf shaped bottle. Get me. Also, the stack of pancakes I have tonight will be much taller than the stack in the photo above - it is dinner, after all.

Lady M has had her pancake dinner - 2 good sized pancakes with (unsalty) butter and maple syrup. Don't worry, she had a nutritious breakfast and lunch plus a dose of vitamins just to be sure. Rabbit had some too, at Lady M's insistence...

Having worked on polishing Rock-A-Lillie this afternoon and giving myself a headache in the process, a pancake dinner is just what I need. It'll be back to the edit after dinner - I want to be happy that all the reworked chapters make sense and read in line with the rest of the book. I've changed the entire beginning on the advice of the RNA NWS reader (which does work much better), and now need to make sure there are no continuity issues later on. 

Plus, I recently cut a minor character, so I need to make sure she doesn't appear anywhere in the narrative! Once I have checked it all makes sense, it will be gone off into the hands of two carefully selected agents. Eek!

By the way, if you don't know what the RNA NWS is and you're an aspiring romance writer, then you should!

Every year, the Romantic Novelists' Association run a New Writers' Scheme, more of which you can find out about here. 

It runs from January each year and only accepts 250 people - it's already full for this year but I can highly recommend it for next year if you aren't one of the 250.

For a very reasonable fee, you will get membership to the RNA for a year plus a full critique of an unpublished MS by a published author in your genre. If the reader thinks your MS is potentially good enough for publication, it will go to a second reader who may decide to forward it to an agent. Wowsers! 

My critique was incredibly in depth, insightful and phenomenally useful (as well as being really encouraging). I didn't make it to a second reading but my reader did say with a couple of changes (quite large ones to be fair), it would be submission ready. That's not to say I would be submission ready though!

Anyway, it's time for pancake making... Happy Pancake Day everyone!!

Friday, 10 February 2012

Hail! The conquering hero...

Last night I attended my book group with some trepidation as we were discussing my personal recommendation, Patrick DeWitt's 'The Sisters Brothers'. Actually, I lie. I wasn't at all nervous because I was so confident that many of the group would love it. And love it they did. Out of sixteen people present, fifteen loved it or, at the very least, really liked it. Hurrah! Only one person didn't like it - she found the violence too brutal and didn't think it was funny. At all. Huh. I don't know how a person doesn't laugh at the image of a hardened killer being so enamoured with a tooth cleaning regime or Eli's encounter with a snooty waiter.  I suppose it would be boring if everyone liked the same stuff, right? Would have been nice to have had 100% success rate...

I absolutely loved this book when I read it last summer and have been rather evangelical about pressing it upon members of my family, friends, random people I meet. I thought it was just brilliant. The relationship between the brothers, the dark comedy, the bizarre characters they come across - everything was just pitched so perfectly. The violence is, for the most part, casually skated over and I am in agreement with a book grouper who said she kind of forgot about any brutality because the main focus was the brothers' relationship and Eli's growing conscience.

I admit, I did falter at the idea of reading a Western, as did nearly all of the book group, but it won us all over and, given that the last book I recommended was a complete wash out, I felt vindicated with my choice this time round. A major success - it's the most liked book of any that the book group has ever read!

Friday, 3 February 2012

It's waaaaay too cold to write a query letter

I don't think my brain really functions properly in cold weather. My fingers certainly don't and I can't afford to have the heating on during the day (don't worry, Lady M is dressed up like an Alaskan tree surgeon in the dead of winter). 
Still, I have struggled on towards my goal of SUBMISSION. 

I had a list (of course) of submission to-dos:
  • write a 25 word hook
  • write a query letter pitch paragraph
  • write a one page synopsis
  • write a two page synopsis
  • write a writer bio paragraph (this was woefully short - a sentence. And a short one at that.)
  • Print out and do a FINAL edit on first three chapters
  • Decide on three agents to submit to
Phew. Note how many have been crossed out - yay me! Just a final run through of the first three chapters and I will be ready to go. Well, the actual physical product will be ready to go, I will not. I doubt that I will ever be ready to go but with my fingers, toes, arms and legs crossed and my hair in a thousand plaits, I will hit the send button on Monday, having spent some of the weekend editing those chapters. 

However, I do have a rather busy weekend ahead of me. I'm seeing Russell Kane tomorrow night, taking Lady M to the grandparents on Saturday to co-host my sister's baby shower (for which I will be spending much of tomorrow baking), spending the night and then coming home early(ish) so that I can go and usher a dance performance at Didcot's Cornerstone Art Centre. Hmmm. That leaves very little time for editing. Better get a move on then really, hadn't I...