Sunday, 13 February 2011

Normal Service Resumed

What a contrast to last week-end!

All back to normal now, or as normal as it gets when you're attempting to write something worthy of publication.  As i briefly mentioned last time out, i'm going to overshoot my rather ambitious deadline.  What was it i said about being realistic?  So i've decided to follow my own advice and have nominated May as the month of second draft completion.  (To be reviewed mid-April!)

I have, however, reached a significant milestone today.  I am, in terms of word count, a quater of the way through draft two.  I must admit, i thought it would be easier than it has been.  I was happy that my story was in pretty good shape.  I mean it was, is a good story with beginning, middle and end, however i have caught one or two of the main characters doing things without any real purpose or motivation.  In places nothing but the gusting wind is pushing the story along, and in questioning everything that my characters are doing they have revealed hidden qualities.  This has meant that most of the chapters have required wholesale changes and thorough re-writes.  Of the twenty-two and a half-ish thousand words that draft two currently stands at, about two thousand of them have survived from the original draft.  That's approximately ten percent.  On that basis, of the remaining sixty-seven and a half thousand words, roughly sixty thousand of them will be brand new.  Yikes!

But it's better to be honest and upfront about these things.  There's nothing to be gained from burying one's head in the sand.  It's going to be tough, and it's going to take time and perseverence, but the ultimate goal is to produce a piece of writing worthy of publication.  Something that people will want to buy.  It was never going to be easy.

I bought a book recently, the Writer's and Artist's Yearbook Guide to Getting Published by Harry Bingham.  Harry has authored five novels and two non-fiction titles and is the MD of the Writer's Workshop, which is the UK's leading editorial consultancy.  It's a very honest and realistic book that pulls no punches.  I'll admit i read some sections and felt a bit depressed.  The opportunities out there are few and far between; the financial reward often meagre, but that is offset against the sense of achievement of being published, of having people read and enjoy your work.  If anything the opening passages of the book remind you why you wanted to be a writer in the first place:  Because you love to write, of course!

So far i've only read the section on preparing a manuscript for submission to an Agent.  It offers a lot of really sound, common sense advice on covering letters, the synopsis and manuscript formatting.  It is interspersed with advice from Publishers, Agents, PR consultants, and even a Reader for Conville and Walsh who chillingly refers to himself as The Gatekeeper.  I fully recommmed this guide to anybody who is serious about getting published.  The ISBN is 978-1-4081-2895-4. 

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