Thursday, 14 April 2016

writing: what I'm writing just now

A month ago I shared my first post on what I am up to on the writing front. You'll find it here. At the time I was editing what I'm calling the Rose book. I finished editing that at the beginning of this month. Then I smartened it up a bit and sent it out to my lovely, gorgeous, and wonderful team of first-readers, who are currently reading it. A couple of them have already sent me back their comments, and those are invaluable. When you know the story inside out it's easy to miss out something crucial, and their comments show me what's missing (although we may not agree on what that is).

While they're busy reading I've been working out who my preferred possible agents are to bring this book to the world. There are so many agents, but a lot less who are the right fit. I've drawn up a short list of agents who might like this book, and who I might like to work with, and I'm getting my stuff together to send to the first one. This is my first book to be sent out into the world, so I've got to get it polished up before it goes. Agents and publishers are busy people and it's easier for them to spot a diamond if it's not in the rough. That's not to say it won't want further polishing, but I'm not going to send my baby out until she's ready.

So I've printed out the first three chapters for re-editing, and to change my chapter lengths, because I'm not happy with them. I have other things to do after that, but I'll start there. I've noticed a mistake in the second sentence (my heroine puts sugar in her tea, but later in the story she doesn't like sugar in tea), so I expect it will take a little while!

I'm also writing. I am loving my new fountain pen and pretty coloured ink cartridges, and I'm writing a lot more just because of those. I find it so much easier to write with a fountain pen, and so I'm writing reams of notes about the things that tickle my brain. Mostly of late that's been:

  • stuff about the Tam Linn fairy tale (I've read a few versions, and just bought Sarah J Maas' A Court of Thorns and Roses, which looks like a very fun read - have you read it yet?).
  • English history from about 1000 years ago, particularly about Emma of Normandy, twice Queen of England. I've found out loads about her from the marvellous History of English podcast, and was thinking about developing it into a historical novel (because I don't have enough projects in the wings), however, I don't have to because Patricia Bracewell has done it already. I've bought the first book in the series - Shadow on the Crown, and can't wait to read that too.
  • I've also been writing down my thoughts on the upcoming referendum. Why? Mostly to get them out of my head. I'm not talking to people about politics, or sharing my thoughts on here, I learned that lesson during the last referendum debate.
I've also been writing poetry. My friend Rose liked my poetry, and encouraged me to write more, and I already was, sharing some of them here. Since my last update on what I'm writing I've shared these poems on the blog:
Rose died last week after a short illness. I'm sad that she's gone, but the little mouse she gave me carries on watching over my writing (you can see her in the picture above), and her encouragement still prods me forward. I wrote Your Thread in her memory.

Maddy at Writing Bubble shared a piece about how she illustrated her poem a while back and I thought maybe I should write something about how I write a poem. Usually I start with a topic - The Prompt from Sara at Mum Turned Mom is really useful for this. I write the stuff that comes to mind in a notebook, without worrying about rhyme and meter at that point, and then I might think about some words that come to mind. I tend to try putting various different things into one pattern of poem, so Know by Now, The Tall One, and Magnus of Largs all used a poetical structure inspired by Muse's Butterflies and Hurricanes. Whereas Renewall of Sewell and Chocolate (see below) both used a pattern based on Tam Lin by Fairport Convention (finger on the pulse me), which is a little bit awkward, having a 7676 syllable spread, but has a nice storytelling feel to it. I feel I need to work on it a bit more to get the meter better, so look out for more of those.

As well as sharing poems here some are sent off to other places. No word yet on most of them, but I recently had my poem Chocolate published on the Scottish Book Trust website. That one uses the Tam Lin pattern mentioned above, and also uses a repetition of the word 'chocolate' (or variation thereon), which was fun to do. 

Meanwhile the kids are playing Werewolf in the garden with half of the neighbourhood.

I like doing these wrap up posts. They make me feel like I'm actually achieving stuff! Hopefully there will be more progress next time.

What have you been up to?

Writing Bubble