Monday, October 31, 2005

Conf 113: Royalty Reality II

No. of words: 36,733
No. of days till move: 4

Rare of rare sightings, an A4 envelope on doormat from old agent. Thought it could be the cover artwork for the Russian versions of the novels (not a blink of communication on those, due out last August). But no, another cheery royalty statement:

Novel 1 pub. 31.03.03

Home sales upto 52.5% 63 £5.99 7.50%PP £28.30

So, for selling 63 books I get £28.30, yippee.

Home sales 52.5-59% 30 £5.99 6.00%PP £10.78

Export Sales -3 £-9.29 7.50% PR £ -0.70

TOTAL £38.38

LESS unearned balance £1069.07

Balance due carried forward to next royalty period £-1030.69

Novel 2

Pub 31 March 04

Home sales up to 52.5% 37 £16.62
Home sales 52.5%+ -20 £-7.19
Export sales PB 9 £2.02

TOTAL £11.45

Less unearned balance £1926.90

Balance due c/f £-1915.45

So my debt on novel 1 has been reduced by £38.38 and on novel 2 by £11.45. Eureka.

Why don't I give up now? Have actually been feeling like doing just that all week. Half term week, lots of interruptions like trips to crowded science museum to see rubbish IMAX (Tom Hanks' Walking on the Moon - don't, whatever you do, bother); surprisingly empty waterslide park etc etc. But even so, had some quiet early mornings to go back to beginning and re-examine my main character, unproductively. So, not only getting nowhere with that, no wordcount dosh to add to tally makes it all v. depressing. Looking at jobs pages in Guardian even more gloomy activity, there's simply nowhere I fit in any more in the telly world. As with the film co. I was writing for, all the other people there were young 'work experience' kids doing it for NOTHING! One guy called in sick one day and the boss asked him if he would therefore come in over the weekend to make up for it.

On the royalty statement glums, I'm not really that down about them, I wasn't exactly expecting a rush on books published years ago after all. In fact, 93 sales on novel 1 purely on recommendation so long after they've been out of the shops isn't so depressing.

I decided to foreign rights e-mail agent anyway to see what the Russian news was.

Dear Amanda,

No sign yet – I imagine that publication has been delayed, but I’ll contact our Russian co-agent to find out for sure. As soon as I hear from her, I’ll let you know.

With best wishes, E

So much is down to attitude towards self. Without a deal, writing feels such a spurious activity, if anyone's going to want to read this... etc etc. Keeping the confidence up is difficult.

Bye bye, thanks for visiting, come again soon.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Conf 112: Gawping

No. of words: 34,295
No. of ex-jobs: 1

Still in the mid-thirties wordcount, awwwwk. Mid-30s seems to be the hardest to move on from. Have been doing much planning, though, which could easily be excuse for not writing but am hopeful it will make progress to the end somewhat faster than with previous novels and, more crucially, with less tosh to toss out later. As I got fair stuck with the scene I was on, moved to end of story and examined the plot backwards. Interesting and useful exercise.

Have now nailed each chapter with
brief summary of what happens and
CONFLICT watch any show, Simpsons for simplicity, each scene really does move forward in conflict, not that noticeable unless you look.
EMO-MAP (emotional journey from beg c. to end of c.)

With some subsidiary mini-character arches for certain segments. It threw up some foreshadowing which can go into the first draft &, as done this way, hopefully will be more naturally enmeshed in the story. Have also restyled the main character into a more solid form, one I can stick with, she's still not all there & far too closely resembles the person I'm basing her on. The backwards plotting has given me some extra personality clues I can slot in earlier.

It's half term this week so not working. Actually haven't heard from the film co. for week and a half now, so maybe that's it on that one. My last assignment saw me taking out lots of his exclamation marks, maybe he took offence. That or he's run out of money. I don't mind, am rather hoping he won't ring as we're moving in a week or so and I want to get on with the novel.

Exciting day out on Saturday to the frieze art,15148,1314684,00.htmlart fair in Regent's Park. Managing to drag daughter there major achievement, as we only have to mention the words 'gallery' or 'museum' & the groans begin. I promised this would be different, with a work of art that took you for a walk and 50 real Chinamen in a box. On way from car to exhibition, passed a group of about 5 very well-dressed people walking on other side of road - with 2 police motorbike escorts. First time either of us had ever seen pedestrians with police escorts. Once inside daughter cheered up a bit and was soon off exploring, looking for the loos and the caff. Partner decided caff was too crowded & we made for the restaurant which had a long queue. Stood in queue for a while before realising futileness of it, even though it was a mini Ivy outpost we couldn't wait all day.

Good people-watching place. Isabella Blow was recognizeable because she was wearing a cut-out hat called 'Blow'. She was fascinating, & got sat at a table right by our bit of queue. I have a pic of her on the cover of my 'characters' folder for novel 4. Really quite amazingly short and ugly, as she described herself in the interview I read, but not because of her fantastic presence and self-assuredness - talk about making the best of yourself. Then Tracey Emin, Jarvis Cocker in gallery chattering to curator, David Bailey lounging over there on a sofa; people in beautiful skirts talking deals; strangest works of art; nonsensical galleries with just a bag of cement and a table with some dealer; Grayson Perry's pots, always wanted to see them; odd projections, our favourite a group of flowers flickering in the breeze projected onto wall; a bra hanging from a tree, no don't get it; the walking work of art a disappointment tho as they weren't walking, just standing around chatting.

Bye bye, thanks for visiting, come again soon.

Friday, October 21, 2005

Conf 111: Laugh

Thanks to Sarah, it's time to laugh again, sit back and take the tour at the bottom of the page.

Bye bye thanks for visiting, come again soon.

Monday, October 17, 2005

Conf 109: Industrial

No of words: 34,118
No of new titles confirmed: 1
No of invoices submitted today: 3

Have finally found some time to get back to writing.

Have been doing non-novel writing for past few days, dealing with endless queries from Family Circle magazine. I asked them today if they could please describe me as an author as well as domestic guru-like person. One or two of the 4 million-odd American readers might like my handy hints enough seek me out.

Have also been doing 3 new pieces for The Guardian. Pray God, so long as I don't screw that looks promising. Am now clear as far as I can see this week to get back to the novel. I still like the new title, and it hasn't been used yet by anyone else, several friends have agreed on its strengths. Have rewritten the synopsis. Decided to go through it backwards, paragraph by paragraph, to look for links that could go in the other way round. As McKee said, if the ending's not strong, the rest is just typing.

Bye bye, thanks for visiting, come again soon.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Conf 108: What's in a Title??

Woke up with a new title for novel 4.

The rejection e-mail from Hodder editor (conf. 104) said novel 3 seemed to be lacking the great thing - hook or title or setting.

This one is short, snappy, rhythmic and relevant in more ways than one to the story. Let alone its relevance, it's one of those titles you feel someone has to have used already, or is using somewhere out in the stratosphere right NOW. It's led me on to thoughts on refining the synopsis, the story as it stands can be far far tighter, to take note of this title. I am banging on. It feels very good, but in a few days, or even tomorrow morning sober, may feel otherwise.

Bye bye, thanks for visiting, come again soon.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Conf 106: Other Words

No of words: 33, 494
No of jobs on go: 3

No writing done for several days. Been writing hard, but not my stuff, post-production work from home. The subscribing to paid off. Worked till midnight other night then got up at 4.30 am to continue! Had to make good impression on first assignment. Just shows how you can find extra time if you have to, though, a whole 3 hours before the morning rush of breakfast et al. It worked and I got sent TONS of work, so much I've had to send some of it back. Not needed at the film place this week. Another assignment in from The Guardian, so it looks like I won't be facing the bankruptcy courts just yet.

No news from Big Publisher. I wish I could resubmit next chapter too now, but that really would be pushing it.

Bye bye, thanks for visiting, come again soon.

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Conf 105: Unprofessional but worth it

Been reading about the latest mid-life sitcom, Weeds.

Dear BP,

This is probably terribly unprofessional, but I am concerned you are finding my first draft writing a bit ragged. I've been working on Chapter 7 and it's so much tighter, I hope you don't mind me resubmitting.

Best wishes, A

No problem Amanda. Having a manic week so haven't had a chance to read your manuscript yet. I'll print off this version!

Thanks and best wishes,


Bye bye, thanks for visiting, come again soon.


Sunday, October 02, 2005

Conf 103: Eat my Words

No. of words: 31,893

After all my protestations at unfickleness, I've gone back to Novel 4. This is the one that's out at the moment. The response from other Big Publisher to Novel 3 (good but not different enough) has prompted this, against the prospective agent's advice who told me Novel 4 was too different a genre to have a list for her to sell into. I think I have my best chance of selling because it doesn't slot in to the known lists, as a newcomer you HAVE to stand out somehow, no matter how good the writing is.

The response from Other Big Publisher to Novel 3 came after an e-mail submission. I also sent her a synopsis of Novel 4 by post about 3 months ago. No response to that. This shows, in my sample of 1/1 that post submissions to big cheeses are less likely to get past their secretaries than e-mails.

We've found a house! Not the big shabby one I fell for. No, this is a small modern one - after all I said about modern houses. It's quirky and on its own at the end of a cul de sac of older houses beside a river and riverside allotments. We called it the Hansel & Gretal house, & it turns out that's what the estate agents called it too (or were they smarming up?). So there are houses for safety's sake on one side, but country bits on the other side. There are lots of trees, which I really was missing here. We can cycle to the nature reserve and to the shops without hitting any roads.

Bye bye, thanks for visiting, come again soon.