02 January, 2011

And the Re-write Begins Here...

It's 2011. You may have noticed that yourself. Here's where I should be writing a post outlining all my resolutions for this year, but to be honest I don't have many. For the first part of the year I will be concentrating mainly on the re-write of my children's novel and of course, I would love to find an agent for the completed version but, other than that, I am happy to take the rest of 2011's writing as it comes. At present I have just a little tidying-up to do on a curent short story and I have to think of a suitable idea for an anthology of short stories I have been asked to contribute to, but then I will be a slave purely to the novel.

Back in November, I sent off the first 12 000 words of the novel to The Writer's Workshop to be critiqued by a professional author and was lucky enough to be assigned Sam Mills. It was a big decision, due to the expense of professional critiques, but I am so glad I risked it. I learned more about writing in reading Sam's report than I could have taught myself in a decade of muddling through. She was encouraging but did not sugar-coat her words. It was not her job to make me feel good but to tell me that I have some serious work to do, particularly around the whole area of structure. A lot of what she said were things that deep down I already knew, but it took someone completely impartial to give me a kick up the backside. It is not necessarily easy to give your work to someone to tear apart and criticise and I wondered how I would take the report, but when it arrived it only made me excited to get re-writing. Her criticisms were spot on, the things she liked were encouraging and the suggestions she made were interesting. Most importantly of all, I had been "marketing" my book as a Young Adult novel when it's actually for the 8-12 age group. This is a crucial bit of information to get right when approaching agents.

So, bring on the re-write! The next few weeks will involve reading another book for the same age group (probably Northern Lights as that's already in my bookcase) and studying the structure of the plot, then re-reading the draft of my own novel, ripping it apart at the seams and putting it back together again. I have a lot of planning to do, but I love planning so I will be in my element!


  1. Guess what, I found you...(Mostly due to the fact that you had already told me where to look)

    You have had an active year! (And I thought I had been busy...) I did think about getting my novel professionally critiqued and now that you have 'survived' the whole experience, I might get off my ass and do it (hope you don't mind being my guinea pig).

    Also great to see that I'm not the only mad-person who enjoys the supposed 'less-attractive' parts of writing a novel...planning, structuring, re-writing and re-re-writing.

    I am a huuuge fan of structuring (as a few of my writing buddies - especially best friend, proofreader and fellow novellist Margaret www.mscottdarcy.blogspot.com - will attest)... the Excel spreadsheet for my latest 'masterpiece' gets longer and more detailed by the day. What can I say, it makes the actual chaptering (slightly) less stressful.

    Right back to work...or procrastinating (something else I'm reeeeally good at).

  2. Hi Chloe,
    You're a braver girl than I, sending your work to be professionally critiqued - well done. It sounds like it really paid off.
    It's interesting how easy it can be to misconceive a market, but good that your more likely target audience was pointed out to you.
    Anyway, good luck with this project. It sounds like you and I both have a mountain to climb :)
    Nari X

  3. Hi Nari,

    Yes it paid off, once I'd swallowed my pride! Crampons and ice axes at the ready...

    Paul, a hot drink, blank sheet of paper and an excel spreadsheet sounds like a little piece of paradise!

  4. Once you've set up base camp Chloe you'll be chomping at the bit for the first climbing stage. How long do you think we could continue this mountain climbing analogy going... possibly until your reach the summit?
    I think it sounds like your critique went well, so well done my friend. It did take guts.
    I'll be back to keep track.


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