Saturday 23 August 2014

Adhere to submission guidelines - they do apply to YOU!

I am going to write about a pet hate of mine and I am sure that of many agents and publishers out there. I know I have mentioned it previously on a post but I am going to mention it again because it is important and it is REALLY irritating when people can't be bothered.

What is it? I hear you ask. It is nothing ground breaking. It is nothing that difficult or complicated. Firstly please when thinking about submitting your manuscript anywhere ensure it is the best it possibly can be. Don't think, it's ok you'll make it better once they've taken it on. It doesn't always work like that. You may not get a chance and you may have blown an opportunity. I would like to hope with Golden Egg Academy you want to submit the best thing you can. If you submit something half hearted it often comes across in the writing. If you don't care about it why should we?

Submission guidelines are there for a reason and yes we do notice and mind if you flout them. What happens is we probably just won't bother reading that extra chapter that you have tried to squeeze in on the end of the third chapter. Or the three chapters you  have included in each chapter submitted on line so you appear to have actually submitted six chapters. I know there are going to be people saying 'but my story doesn't get going until chapter 4 or chapter 5'. Well I know a lot of readers (children in particular) who will not wait until chapter 4 or chapter 5...The story needs to grab our attention early on.

If it asks for a synopsis make sure it does the job. Tells us the age range you are aiming for if you are writing for children. I often get the feeling if someone doesn't include that it is because they don't know and they probably don't really understand their story because of it. It shows. We will know.

Most importantly (and again) follow the guidelines on what sort of synopsis is required, if there aren't any don't use that as an excuse to put a ten page breakdown in. Be professional, show what a great person you would be to work with. Don't waffle and don't worry about giving away the ending that's what you do in a synopsis. Quick tip: Read Nicola Morgan's excellent book on how to write a synopsis.

That's it, that's all I have to say. ADHERE TO THE GUIDELINES. DO WHAT IT SAYS. Yes they do apply to YOU.

Slightly drug filled post this week as am now truly bionic having had my second knee replaced. Perhaps that is why I am feeling so intolerant of people and their inability to adhere to guidelines. However it has been a good week with lots of good news for people I know and I was sent this song by the wonderful Eggers while I was in hospital and it is certainly true. Such a great community to be part of

Monday 11 August 2014

#TGFW Thank god for writing

#TGFW was a hashtag that Jane McLoughlin and I came up with the other day on Twitter when we were discussing how we use writing to get through difficult situations and to escape into.

I know we are not alone and I am sure this is something many writers can empathise with. I got back into creative writing rather the professional PR writing that I was doing in my 'past life' when I lost my business and my identity when I became seriously ill. I wrote poem after poem trying to work out who I was. Even now if someone hurts me or abuses me or things go badly wrong I write poems or splurge on the page getting it all out there. No one ever sees them and never will. That is never their purpose and I would never claim to be a poet. They are for me and me alone.

I am also very conscious of the fact that my mental health suffers if I do not write on a regular basis. A friend has even said she knows when I am writing as I am really happy. I don't have to be writing new stuff it can be editing or rewriting. I just need to be involved in the process of working on a project. The worse thing for me is if I am giving lots and lots of feedback on other people's work which I do a lot through both of my jobs but it can mean that it almost sucks the life out of me or should I say the words. I don't have the head space left for my own writing which is very detrimental for my own sanity! I need to deliberately create a time and a space to write. I know this but I so often seem to forget it and let life get in the way. I am trying very hard to timetable a set amount of time each day for writing again and already I feel better for it.

Next week I am off for more surgery and yes I confess I am not looking forward to it but I will be writing to get through it. Probably splurging on the page to deal with pain but also working on my WIP to heal my head too so I stay sane.

There is nothing wrong with this. Writing is like a muscle the more you do the stronger you get. No writing is wasted writing. Even if it doesn't belong in your current WIP keep it in another document you never know when it might just come in useful.

So I hope you 'have a nice day...' and have chance to escape into your writing and remember #TGFW