So where am I on this actual writing journey at the moment?
It’s a question I seem to have neglected on the blog for a while now, but no news is good news, right?
It’s a long slog, this writing a novel business. That’s what most people don’t realise.
Recently I was asked by someone who had been told I was writing a book: “Published yet?” It was his first question, and I did my usual sigh and patiently explained how long the process took. He did the usual, “Look at JK Rowling. Twelve rejections before she was published.”
“I have four,” I replied.
“Then only eight more to go,” he said.
I suppose the fact that I am writing a fantasy novel for 9-12 year old’ will perhaps slap me into JK comparisons, but I am growing a little tired of it now. Why does everyone assume that if you are writing a book you are going to become some sort of millionaire? Yes, she is but only because her books were sold into one of the biggest film franchises ever and she’s probably living off the interest created from merchandise alone. The books themselves probably account for a very small proportion of her wealth.
Truth is there are not many famous, rich authors. I am certainly not going to be one of them. Neither would I wish to be that famous. Everything you say, wear, do scrutinised and ripped apart? No thanks.
Anyway. That’s for another blog post. This one is to update on how we’re doing so far.
Well recently I was lucky enough to come into a small amount of money, which means I can finally use it to get a professional edit done on Book 1.
Once I knew this, I set about (after all the thousands of re-writes I’ve done) chopping the superfluous words and passages out as the word count stood at around 85,000. I’ve managed to get that down to 79,000. This is still a little on the long side for middle grade, but I am now at the point where I need a professional eye on the thing. But I am so nervous about this. I mean more nervous than I’ve been about anything related to this Book so far.
Why? Because I know there are still loads of things wrong, things I don’t know, even with professional advice, I might not be able to fix. They may be things like my voice which make this book not at all commercial and so not publishable (not by traditional publishing standards at any rate.) A professional edit may help this, but it may just be I’m not cut out for writing children’s fiction. I only have this one idea. A publisher wants something/someone with longevity. Publishers in England also seem to want middle class authors, and I don’t fit that bill at all. There are days when after four years of work on this, I feel the dream of having my book published slipping away. I had so many visions for it, but I know so little and I have so little time to spend on it, or spend on courses learning how to write. Or maybe I just don’t have the inclination. Perhaps with so many things in my life, I’m chasing the wrong dream.
Anyway, I have found an editor on the recommendation of a Twitter friend, (he’s now got an agent for his Middle grade book since working with her) and she is looking at the first 5000 words of my manuscript to see if she wants to take me on as a client. I think if she chooses not to, this will be a worse rejection than from a publisher, as it possibly means it is actually beyond all hope and the last four years have been a wasted effort. More nerve racking is that I could invest this small windfall on an edit, for it simply to be beyond hope anyway, and I’m not rich and this is a big investment for me. I’m speculating to accumulate, because I want my work to be the best it could possibly be. I could spend it and still never make that money back, and as I am not one of life’s big risk takers, I feel a little apprehensive about it all.
I guess I may even have to face the facts that I am not a born writer. Many people say writer’s are born with the talent. I tend to agree. I tend to agree that they need to practise and hone the craft, yes, but that essentially they are creative and are born with an inherent capacity to put words into the right order in such a way as to form a solid plot and a cohesive story.
I’m not at all sure I have that.
For some reason though, I keep on slogging onwards and I’m now hoping to write the last 20,000 words or so of Book 2. Once that first draft is complete, maybe I’ll feel better. Maybe I won’t. Maybe I’ll give up writing and teaching and go and live in a cave somewhere.
Sometimes life feels like one long hard slog where nothing comes easy.
But for some reason, despite the set backs and the lack of time to dedicate to this book fully, I keep on keeping at it. Maybe I’m just waiting for the day someone in the business says: “Yeah, look give it up.”
I guess until then I’m going to just keep at it.
Until next time, when hopefully I’ll be in my happ(ier) place, TTFN. 🙂
PS: I’m on a Twitter break right now, which is, after less than 24 hours, making me feel like a crack addict going cold turkey. Seriously I don’t know why I’m doing it to myself.