Sunday, March 06, 2005

Confession 7 First person/third person

I haven't worked on the new novel since that conversation about moving the tense. I'm letting it settle rather than going through any avoidance regimes. I hope that's the case.

I conferred with my writing group. They reckon it's working well in the first, there are plenty of examples of commercial women's fiction working well in the first, and if I feel strongly about it I must continue as I am. To be fair, the agent said this too, it was only a suggestion. But I do like the idea, new opening sentences are going round in my head. My last two books were in the third person. It's just all the WORK.

Besides which I am having to write to earn a living, which, unfortunately, isn't via fiction at the moment. This weekend I've had to find five famous quotes and make some meaningful in-depth comments about them and then 'draw' the reader in with a stimulating question referring to said comment. This is a commission for a psychology website, worth a go but I'm not sure I'm up to it. I'll hand my five samples in tomorrow and wait to see if I've got the job. I've also had a go at writing a column for a newspaper, another writerly dreamjob; I've heard there's a one-off up for grabs, the chances of getting it are minus 5000 but I've given it a go. It's much more difficult than it appears.

Most of my time is taken up with non-fiction. One-off fees for lots of work and no royalties, they don't feel like my own books somehow. They're not my ideas. With the kind of non fiction I do, the publishers sell the idea first at the international book fairs and then commission an author to write it. I've just been interviewed by a big woman's magazine about one of them. I guess all publicity is good publicity, more exposure than I got for the novels anyhow. The good news is they go down on my plr and alcs register, both of which give handy annual payouts (www.plr.uk.com, www.alcs.co.uk). All authors should belong to these organisations.


My family has also been sidelined by this little mystery

http://www.cyberglass.net/flshstuff/mindreader.php

It has us baffled for a while. My daughter was hiding under the chair she was so spooked. We discovered the answer together.

A word on my writer's group. I know some people don't like the idea, but I can only think this is because they haven't found the right people. Trying to become a writer is full of unavoidably depressing lows. I would have given up a long time ago if it weren't for the girls. Sorry I can't share mine because I have the best. There are six of us. We've been together about five years now. When we started there were four of us, a spin-off from another writing group. One of us had a major deal the other three of us were trying for agents. Since then I've been published and L has just signed to a big agent we're all soooo excited about. J is still trying for an agent, but she's a brilliant writer and will probably eclipse the lot of us. And we've been joined by two others: a twice-published literary author, a UEA graduate, she was originally a teacher at the writing college we all met at; and a member of the chickliterati whose second book comes out next month. We meet twice a month and read for ten minutes (strictly adhered to) each. As the years have gone on, the wine and gossip sessions before we start get longer and longer. Apart from anything else, I find it really useful to have a deadline to write towards, reading out gives me a much better idea of how it's going.

Bye bye, thanks for visiting, come again soon.

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