Friday, February 29, 2008

Friday Despair no Musing and Links

What a week this has been in my head. I have run around in circles. You know that feeling of not making any progress and not sure if you want to either. I am at a loss with my writing at the moment as with quite a few other things in my life. If it weren't for the Dickens Challenge I could say that I wasn't doing any writing at all. I have been thinking about A Cornish House, whose revisions, have ground to a halt but all the solutions I have thought up seem to pat. I lack orginality. I am boring and too easy to figure out. Unfortunately I think that is also my personality these days. What you see is what you get - boring. So I am filled with self doubt. Should I continue on this writing lark? Should I pack it in? Should I just pack in the hope of ever writing anything a publisher will want? To be honest I don't think I could stop writing but maybe I should just do it for myself.

These are just some of the thoughts floating is wreched circular paterns in a deterioating brain. I am also wondering if I should just throw myself into writing the book that is in my head before I lose it. The only deadline I have facing is the Romantic Novelists' New Writers Scheme and that will be ACH. I hadd planned to get that in early but if I am just going to piddle my time away.............

Last night I had a great treat. I forgot to ask her permission to say who but a best novelist came to dinner last night. She is lovely and doesn't look her years. DH said there was no way she was as old as she said she was. She was filled with encouraging words and I guess it helps to hear the great say that they too are still learning and still have doubts. Before falling asleep last night I was going to send August Rock off to who she said was a wonderful editor whom I met at the RNA lunch but then the earthworms of doubt had been busy all night and it no longer seems such a good idea!

I just finished Laying the Ghost by Judy Astley yesterday. It had such a satisfying ending I was smiling and humming for the rest of the day. What was also interesting from my current quandry is how she balanced the mother/daughter story lines in the book................ maybe I'll just go slash my wrists now.

But before I do that some good links....... Over on A Newbie's Guide to Publishing JA Konrath gives some sound advice for attracting visitors to your blog. The BBC Scotland Write Here Right Now has been brilliant this month even if I haven't been following too closely. Yesterday's email was particularlly spot on. I checked out the website here and they haven't put it up yet so I will cut and paste some of it for the impatient! So Senior commisioning editor at Headline, Vicki Mellor says........



"....
As an editor who reads many submitted manuscripts, there are several key elements that I consider when choosing a book to publish.


...
The author should have thought through the plot from every conceivable angle. Most editors can spot a gap in the narrative very quickly...


The writing should be engaging and detailed, and the plot should be original – the book needs a hook. Whether that takes the form of a major new character, an unusual setting or, indeed, historical context, it needs to stand out from the rest of the market.

The opening scene is essential. It gives the editor their first impression of the author’s writing and only the strongest scene will make an editor read the manuscript beyond it.

There are a huge amount of talented authors writing today – be strong and be prepared to face some rejection because the old adage is true. If you are turned down by one editor, then perhaps you just haven’t found the right one for you yet. "



It's worth reading the whole newsletter when they post it.



Finally I will leave you with you a few fun photos of our Wadi Bashing in the UAE last Saturday.

19 comments:

Helen said...

Oh Liz you musn't give up. You have come so far and learnt so much. I know that self doubt only too well though, but you must fight it.

As to what you should write now, I don't know what the best advice is. I know what I would do though. Start scribbling the new stuff you have in your head down before you lose it. It can't do any harm to just have a little play with it...

liz fenwick said...

Thanks Helen. I think I am struggling with what I should actually be writing and may not have found my area yet.....sort of what the heart wants and what the brain is capable of!!

I may give myself this week to work on the new book to see if I can refresh the brain :-)

Phillipa said...

Oh Liz, don't give up! But also - I hesitate to gove advice because I'm hardly experiencedmyself but I'd say that white space sells as much as print. Give yourself time and be kind to yourself. You work so hard at your books.

This stood out for me from your post:

*I am also wondering if I should just throw myself into writing the book that is in my head before I lose it.*

If this new book is pulling you so strongly, maybe that's what you should do. Then again you have your deadline. I sympathise - does this help? Even if you are published, you are beset with choices about what to write and what to do next, with the ever present fear of losing the thing you fought so hard to gain.

JJ said...

Oh Liz, I'm so sorry you're feeling such horrible doubts. I really understand the fight between what you want to write and what you maybe should be writing. I feel that too.

Go easy on yourself, you've had a weird time of late with H home and no fixed routine.

I'm sending you lots of hugs, knowing that this despair will pass.

JJx

liz fenwick said...

Thanks Phillipa. I am going to give myself a wekk to work on the new book and hopefully refresh my soul so to speak. I need to find out which direction I should push in because otherwise the energy is wasted........

You are so right with your last comment. I listened amazed to the leap that ..... made last night. She had reinvented her writing quite a few times and keeps doing.

Maybe I am just haveing a low week and am rambling...........

liz fenwick said...

JJ- thanks. Hoping that fresh wind will blow through my brain and set it working again :-)

Leatherdykeuk said...

Wrtite something throw-away.
Write a drabble. Write an author bio. Write a short story. Write a haiku.

Just write, and it will all come back.

What's wadi bashing? Is that a dead camel in the bottom photo?

liz fenwick said...

Thanks Rachel, you made me laugh. No he/she is not dead but rolling in the sand. I should have taken a video clip because it was extraordinary seeing these two camels rolling around. We concluded that it was ichy back syndrome :-)

liz fenwick said...

Sorry just realized I didn't answer the wadi bashin question......it's the expression used for driving through the dry river beds.......

Brigid Coady said...

Liz - keep going my lovely. I know very well those doubts and sometimes that is because things are all up in the air in other parts of your life. You have been through so much change in the last year... maybe you just need time to do what you WANT to do for a bit not neccessarily what you think you NEED to do. if that makes any sense...

Leatherdykeuk said...

Super! Thanks for answering. I'm glad the camel wasn't dead, although I'm sure they're delicious when slow-cooked.

liz fenwick said...

Thanks Biddy that may well be the answer!

Rachel camel milk is defintely tasty but the meat........i doubt slow cooking it would even help :-)

Debs said...

Liz I can fully understand where you're coming from. I agree that maybe you should start writing that book in your head, you've had such a busy time recently so maybe you simply need a little time to catch up with yourself.

Jessica Raymond said...

((Hugs)) Liz. We all seem to get our down and despairing times with writing and I can empathize with you as I am going through something similar at the moment. Perhaps you are feeling unsteady on your feet at the moment because you are trying to work on a number of different things at once?

Ray-Anne said...

We all go through this phase - which is absolutely no consolation to you whatsoever of course, but it is very much part and parcel of the whole crazy game of dreaming that someday you will have a book in your hands which someone else has published for others to read.

I don't know any writer who has NOT thought to themselves ...
It is all too hard and too emotionally draining, so I'll just give up now and let the other writers step up and be knocked down again like skittles?

Maybe it is better and easier on your life and mental health to take the paved safe and well lit road to the rest of our life instead of the long grass path into the dappled beech trees.

And then a wonderful character starts living in your head and tells you about his or her life, and their story.
Only you can decide.
I know I would hate to reach my end and think.. I had the potential to be a writer. If only..

[ It is also Friday night and I have been drinking strong coffee all day!!]
Keep smiling.
And think of us in wet windy and dark England!

Julie Cohen said...

I think it's almost impossible to tell if your own ideas are "too pat". I write things that I think are obvious all the time and someone will always say she didn't see it coming (though perhaps they are just being nice). Of course the ideas are obvious to you, you thought them up yourself. The key is to write them in such a way that only you could have done it.

Then again, a break from this ms to something new that is calling you may be just the thing.

I've been in a slump myself, feeling like I have no ideas, and the mere thought of having to invent stuff makes me tired.

Maybe you can take heart from the fact that so many people feel the same way you do about their own writing--it sounds as if your novelist friend has battled with her own crows, too.

Failing that...rolling around in the dust with a camel sounds fun?

liz fenwick said...

Jess sending (((())))s back. Hope your wobbles disappear quickly. You may be right. I might need to focus on one thing.

Thanks Ray-Anne. I am a writer I just may be a crap one :-) but I will continue to write! And as long as I am writing and remain open I will improve!

Julie, rolling with the camels - if they were quite so smelly! These are very important words you have written -
'The key is to write them in such a way that only you could have done it.'

That is what you do so beautifully in your work. Your voice and view is unique. Hope you find those ideas rolling soon. I hate to think of other wallowing in the pit of despair with me!

L-Plate Author said...

Liz, you've just visited my blog (thanks for that), you know how I'm feeling, but I've had a few days off, well nights really, and I'm raring to go again now. You're right I think we do need to give ourselves a break every now and then, it does the muse good. Good luck getting on with it x

liz fenwick said...

So pleased for you LP. Look forward to reading of your progress :-)