Saturday, July 28, 2007


John Baker's got a great thing going on his blog this summer. He asked a whole selection of writers, known and unknown (even including little me), this question:

What phases are involved in the creation of a text?

I've just read 2 entries: M E Ellis can do 10,000 words in a day AND she has kids! I warmed to her immediately she's very funny. Poet Ernesto Priego dreams in text! 'letters, words, different kinds of fonts dancing around.'

I started my holiday novel last night, Margaret Atwood's Alias Grace, just in case I don't get into it. It'd be nice to turn up by the pool with an unputdownable already nicely on the boil.

Now look at me, it's not yet 8am, I got up early to write synopsis thoughts I had on waking and I haven't started...

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Friday, July 27, 2007


The first week of the summer holidays has been quiet and relaxed. Nothing happening writing-wise. The journalism has been taking up my time, still more to do today. When that's out of the way I will settle down to writing a new synopsis for novel - ? um, 6. This is to a briefing by an editor, to be submitted to Favourite Agent soonest. No news on that front, and I have to confess am a bit coy about writing about it here because although there have been discussions, nothing is settled in the slightest.

The sun is out and doing its dappling this morning, so wonderful after our weeks and weeks of rain. A friend called by yesterday afternoon. In the gaps between showers we walked her dog in the woods. It was sensational, everything so intensely green and lush. We picked wild flowers and blackberries, using her doggy poo bag as a carrier and just hoping the dog held off (it did). I should get out there more, the morning walks and bike rides have stopped, mainly because it's been chucking it down with rain every day and I've had so much work to get through, but when daughter's up (ha) I'll nip out for a bit.

We're almost definitely moving come the autumn. Can't afford to stay here. I won't miss it too badly. It's a lovely, quiet little house, and it's situation beside the river and the meadows is special. But when you rent you can't make a place your own, you can't put pictures on the wall or make it how you want, psychologically you're always in temporary mode. it hasn't exactly been the friendliest of neighbourhoods, haven't met anybody in fact, which is a first I think, for all the places I've ever lived. The Miserable Neighbours' 3 kids have got noisier, and for that reason alone I won't miss being here. Now that the decision has been made to move it's a relief and I'm looking forward to the change. I actually like moving, which is just as well as this will be the 6th since daughter came along.

Knowing that eBay is there is a comfort. We're moving into a flat without a garden (yipes, but there is a balcony and a communal garden) and it's good to know I can put stuff up for sale and wait for friendly, jolly people to come along, give me some cash and take it away. The Wendy House went last weekend. At the moment we have the most gorgeous multicoloured woollen hammock up for sale, bought by partner in Columbia many years ago. Stored ever since, in the hope that one day we'd have room to put it up somewhere but it's never happened and probably never will.

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Friday, July 20, 2007



Over-did it a bit on the work again last week and have been making myself take it a bit easier.

The journalist's submission of Jane Austen's work to literary agents and editors threw up this article about the real reason publishers miss good books. I must confess I didn't think 'not quite right for our list' meant 'clearly unpublishable'.

Sebastian Shakespeare's piece about titles in the Evening Standard talks about the current trend for long narratives that need have little to do with the content:

The Yiddish Policemen's Union, by Michael Chabon, has shot to the top of the Evening Standard bestseller list. The novel may well deserve to succeed on its own merits, but how many of its sales can be attributed to its arresting title? The title bears little relation to the story - there is just one fleeting reference to the Policeman's Union in its 430 pages. But in that respect Chabon is following a well-established convention. The titles of Lord of the Flies, Catcher in the Rye and Bonfire of the Vanities all have a tenuous relationship to the novels in question. ... There was a fashion for one-word titles in the 1980s (Money, Ambition) and two-word titles in the early Noughties (White Teeth, Brick Lane and Small Island) but now the pendulum has swung again in the opposite direction. With newcomers, the long title is a good way of drawing attention to yourself. Recent examples include The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time, A Short History of Tractors in Ukranian. .. So, does a title matter? Take the following: The Great Gatsby; Gone With the Wind; Treasure Island; Catch-22. If their authors had had their way, they would have been called Trimalchio in West Egg; Baa Baa Black Sheep; Sea Cook; Catch 18. In the end a good title is a mystery, like a book's sales.

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Monday, July 16, 2007


Have been searching for a new title this week. I hadn't quite cottoned on how crucial they are in these No Logo days of ours where branding is all. What's needed is a killer, punchy, narrative sort like Virginia Ironside's No I Don't Want To Join A Bookclub. Bedtime reading has been Rogets Thesaurus and the Oxford Dictionary of Quotations. I made a long list, a mid list and then a shortlist and used my 10 minute slot at writing group last night to brainstorm with the girls. The one we finally all liked the best wasn't on the list at all. It came out of us nattering away about the general situation of the character in the book. Then gossiping about a writer who'd got a very nice deal on the strength of their own title, and then nicking a bit of that, changing it into something completely different and tagging it on to the natter thread. So, one up for brainstorming - not allowed to call it that any more.

Daughter's 13th birthday picnic at Pen Ponds in Richmond Park on Saturday. Managed to get the one and only day in this month it hasn't rained. I used to go overboard on picnics but these days keep it down to smoked salmon sandwiches, strawberries and rose wine for the adults and bagels, crisps and Ame for the girls, in their own spot on the other side of the lake. Out of earshot. Welcome to the teenage years.

Friday, July 13, 2007


Morning tea and flakes, what to do in my half hour breakfast allowance? See what my friends are doing on Facebook? Read the blogs? Read the Daily Mail? We are buying it for the tokens & I am rather enjoying it. It has more pictures than the Independent and is rather good on face creams. The World At War, for which we are token snipping (I even keep them in a transparent folder thingy), is worth it as well, without doubt one of the best doc series ever made, & have always been fair obsessed with the old black and white historicals in any case. Except now I realise will also have to buy it on Saturday for the Prince CD. I don't even know if I like Prince, but everybody seems to these days, so might as well. I am advertising the Daily Mail here STOP IT NOW!

I shouldn't be reading anything, or doing this, too much to do. Did sneak a look at Wife In the North's funny Antiques Roadshow musings just now. If I ever get a book deal and am in book buying mode ever again (tax deductible, can you imagine?)I will buy her book, even though it's a blog and I don't really have to. Chris Moyles Show Big Brother coverage is also funny, the Brian impersonation should win every award going. Helen Simpson short stories another current obsession, keeping me up at night and giving me writer-envy. Now I'm off.

Bye bye, thanks for visiting, come again soon.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007


I spoke to the agent yesterday and the editor likes my novel! A way to go yet but, 470 Confessions in, at LAST I am happy to report it's not a no.

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Monday, July 09, 2007



A rare day off from the work work today. Got a fair bit of writing done. Not my own novel. The deadline for the ghost novel try-out chapters is approaching and I'm trying to knock it on the head.

I was given a chapter by chapter detailed synopsis of what happens, character outlines and broad descriptions of the setting. One moment it seems really easy, like join the dots writing. Then I realise it's not at all.

It's a funny game & I'm glad to have the opportunity to try it out. A lot more of it around these days, what with so many celebrities keen to produce novels without the fuss of actually having to write.

I'm a bit confused as to how much effort I should be putting in to this. Even if my version is liked and accepted there would be so many contractual hoops to go through, I'm still not signed with any agent. Either they or I could pull out at any stage if we're not happy. So I have kind of determined not to put too much emotional passion into it. Yet if you don't what are you left with?

Much excitement today as the new Bookarazzi website launches. Conceived and designed by the mega-talented Boob Pencil and Lucy Pepper out of our Bloggers With Book Deals forum. I'm a hanger on at the edges really, being as this blog is about my unsuccessful flounderings trying to find myself a book deal. But there are some great books and writers born of this blogosphere, and many of them now ready to share their tips and know hows.

I have decided I can't wait any longer for the agent to get back to me. It's been a month and I really have come to accept that if the publishers were interested I would have heard by now. To recap, this is actually a submission of my novel in with one of the big publishers. Submitted by an agent I very much admire and desire. It could be everything, but then again it's probably nothing. Richmond writers' pub night tonight. The last thing I want to do is depress myself just before I go, nights out being as rare as they are at the moment.

I'll start making enquiries tomorrow, then it's, deep breath, sigh, and onwards and onwards. At least there's another agent lined up ready and waiting to read.

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Thursday, July 05, 2007



Wait wait wait wait wait. Email lights up, panic. Wait wait wait.

WAIT wait wait wait wait. Consider calling. Wait wait wait.

Consider calling. Rather not know. Wait wait wait wait.


Wonder some more. Forget.

Remember. Wait wait wait wait.



Email lights up, feel sick. Wait wait wait.

Wonder. Speculate. Count the weeks. 4 now, something must be up.

Hope. Stamp on hope. Wait. Forget it. Decide you'll never hear.

HAVE To Know. Consider calling. No, would rather not know.

Get On With Life.

But it's raining.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007


I overdid it all last week & got into a bit of a nervous mess. Too many things at once, the TV post-production, the newspaper pieces, the ghost writing, the novel that's with the publisher, and the new novel I'd dearly love to get back to. Still no news from agent. In a way I am fairly OK about living in hope at the moment as to be resending it if it fails to get anywhere will be yet another job to put on the list.

In anticipation of moving fairly shortly, the selling of all our worldly possessions on EBay has been another unavoidable time-eater. I am now a dab hand with the bubble-wrap and have earned myself 7 brownie points from other Ebayers so far. It's been a positive experience. I wouldn't quite know what to do if I didn't have the daily bids to check along with the blogs and Facebook. At the moment we have some Solomon Islands shell necklaces, a Harley Davidson saddle, a cutlery canteen and a Sylvanian House with animals up for grabs. The necklaces are doing b. all but the Sylvanians getting lots of attention. Daughter's hoping for enough to get an iPod.

Bye bye, thanks for visiting, come again soon.