Saturday, July 30, 2011

Coming Up For Cornwall

I have been to Italy to celebrate my twentieth wedding anniversary...fabulous.

I am now happily ensconced at home in Cornwall. In order to keep the troops happy I am waking a five and working straight through until eleven or twelve when they wake up...(the joy of being a carefree teenager) and doing it with no internet (withdrawal is painful).

But this is not normally how I work and at times I've thought my brain would explode from trying to think things through without the usual breaks - cleaning (the house is a tip but don't tell anyone), shopping (beans on toast again), and the internet (so no posts, not much twitter or Facebook).

My editor has asked for some pretty substantial changes in the first half of the book. Remember my post over at The Heroine Addicts on Knitting...Well remaking the pattern with the right tension and pacing has to be honest been brutal. I used my notes on the wonderful Julie Cohen's session on the Pacing Is Not Just Something You Do In Jimmy Choos. She did this at the RNA Conference in 2008 (my report is here but her blog has a wealth of information on pacing - just type pacing into the research box and you hit the jackpot).

The first half is done...not perfect yet...fine tuning is yet to come. But I can now look at the book as a whole unit again and see that it works. In the process I have written about 20,000 new words and deleted even more. Somehow I have 'lost' five chapters...and some of my favourite scenes but it does seem to be holding together and I hope better for all the work. For the moment I will continue to weave the changes through the rest of the book then listen to the whole thing....It's good that the house is so quiet at 5 am.

This is what my afternoons and evenings have been made up of...

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Knitting and Editing

I've blogged about these two diverse things over at the The Heroine Addicts. All this thinking about knitting has me absolutely itching to kni,t but must stay focused on the editing then I can knit! On twitter @katkalina suggested I knit a sweater for each book...they might be on to something...

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

RNA Conference 2011 - Day Two and the Gala

I wasn't supposed to be at the conference during the day on Saturday but fate intervened...It was an amazing day. It was also exactly what I needed as I tackle these edits. The day began with Linda Gillard's 'Set the scene, create the characters...painting with words'. There was so much from this session but here's a few highlights...
Linda Gillard

-readers co-create with the author
-just enough description to make the reader feel they are there otherwise it slows down the action
-when drafting don't do the action first then add the description. EMBED the description in the action from the start
-write concrete, specific detail. It works harder
-watch for your own boredom threshold
-character description can be where writing sags a bit
-be specific but not comprehensive aware of who is doing the can be a 2 way street

Jane Wenham Jones
Next up was the a funny, perfectly pitched session by Jane Wenham-Jones on 'Where's the hook? What's my angle?' The most important things she said for me was...'it's never too soon to think about how to sell or market you and the book.'

Tamsyn Murray
Then I sat in Tamsyn Murray's session 'Reader, he dumped me!'...the rise of the bad boy in YA lit more because of DD who is and will be reader these books. It was a fabulous session looking at bad boys in literature old and new. What is their attraction? How they have changed? And what are we teaching with the new bad boy/toxic boy? A heated debate ensued and I will be looking more closely at what DD picks up...

Post lunch it was a wonderful session with Alison King...'What Stops You? strategies to keep you writing.' As I mentioned perfect to help keep the focus on editing...

Miranda Dickinson and Ruth Saberton

Tamsyn Murray and Brigid Coady

Jill  Mansell and guess who
I then took a break. So many things were connecting in my head I needed to be somewhat still. Didn't succeed though as I spent time chatting with friends.

Emma Darwin
My final session for the day was Emma Darwin's 'The literary-commercial divide'. This was always going to be controversial and it didn't disappoint. She took us through what each offers readers and where they can fail readers before jumping into the area of books that fall between the two. She felt that in literary readers have to read into the spaces left by the writer and that readers have to work harder so they 'own' it more....She said if you fall in between the two you have to do everything better - deliver the page turning quality of commercial with the complexity of literary. It was a lively discussion and great fun.

Anna Louise Lucia, Fiona Harper, Julie Cohen, Brigid Coady

The flat mates all glam
Then off to prepare for the Gala Evening. In our flat we gathered in the kitchen to drink a bit of champagne before setting out to the bar...which turned out to be closed! We about faced and found a naughty kitchen to drink more champagne....

Judy Astley, Julie Cohen and Roger Sanderson
Me and my agent - Carole Blake

Anne Ashursy and Jane Wenham-Jones

Then the dinner and the announcement of the winner of the Elizabeth Goudge Award. As I mentioned on Monday I was the runner up with THE HOUSE OF GHOSTS (here) and Cally Taylor won with here entry THE SOMNAMBULIST'S DAUGHTER which is here. It is fabulous. But our flat and table had the wonderful Anna Louise Lucia who was also in the final six! I hope she will post her entry soon.
Anna Louise Lucia and Moi

The Heroine Addicts sans Susanna Kearsley...Anna Louise Lucia, Julie Cohen, Moi, Pia Courtenay, Brigid Coady

Moi and the fab Cally Taylor

Of course post dinner their had to be a naughty kitchen and it turned out to be ours!
In the fug of the naughty kitchen...Anna Louise Lucia, Carole Blake and Biddy Coady
A wonderful day....

Monday, July 11, 2011

RNA Conference 2011 - Post Two

First my pictures from day one are up on the RNA Blog. However not all of them are there. I saved a few more intimate ones for here...

This was a very special conference for me. It was my first one as a 'published' writer. As a newbie you sit listening to the celebratio announcements on the Friday afternoon and dream of the day when your turn will come. Well mine had come and it was better than I ever dreamed. I stood and told of my wonderful agent (and not just any agent but Carole Blake), a deal but not one - three! And not only did I get to say all agent was there too!

In our flat just after the celebrations announcements Julie Cohen greeted me with a bottle of champagne saying - your first sale happens only once so must celebrate as much as possible. I like her thinking :-)
Biddy and Julie before we opened the bubbly

the wonderful Fiona Harper who was a newbie with me at my first conference in 2005

Sunday, July 10, 2011

A Conference to Remember

Just back from the RNA Conference (wonderful) and I have so much to say but not enough time just yet. However I wanted to say huge congrats to the wonderful Cally Taylor for winning the Elizabeth Goudge Award and me too. I was runner up with my entry THE HOUSE OF GHOSTS... The brief had been to write 1000 words of the beginning of a novel about a secret. My entry is here. I still can't believe I placed....

Pics and reports will follow in the next few days....

Friday, July 08, 2011

RNA Conference 2011

Landed last bags are packed and soon I'll be on my way to Wales for the RNA Conference. I can't wait - a weekend with writers and my wonderful agent.

I am ready to be inspired. I have been deep in  my edits....front half of the book in shreds. Each night I read editorial notes before I fall asleep hoping the resting brain will wrestle with the problems while I rest and unbelievably it seems to be working. Wrote 2000 words of two new scenes on the plane yesterday and I can just see the glimmer of the light at the end of the revision cave. What I need to do now is just hold onto that sighting and push through. This is new territory and I'm scared. I'm scared not that I've ripped the books to shreds....been there and done that, but I'm scared that this time they won't work or do what I want them to do.....time will tell.

So the conference comes at a wonderful time. I'm coming up for air before diving back in. I will try and capture the conference for you....

I hope every writer has read Sherrilyn Kenyon keynote address from the RWA Conference this year. The speech is here. Read it.

PS....there will be shoes this weekend or mayeb with the weather forecast wellies