17 October, 2011


As I may have mentioned in a previous post, this year I am planning to take part in NaNoWriMo - also known by it's less snappy title, "National Novel Writing Month". At this time of year there are plenty of bloggers posting about what this month entails and there is an official website if you are interested in knowing more, so I'll keep this short: by taking part in NaNoWriMo, you are aiming to write a novel - or at least the first 50 000 words of a novel - between the 1st and 30th of November.

There are many people out there who say they want to write a novel, but the huge majority never get round to trying. So the idea behind NaNoWriMo is to get people just to get on with it. What started off as less than 20 people in the San Francisco area has grown to over 200 000 participants in the last dozen years or so. The organisers confess that what you produce is likely to be terrible - but that's not the point. Everyone who completes 50 000 words is a winner and who knows, you might just produce something terrible that has the potential to be turned into something better.

The novel I am planning to write is an amalgamation of ideas from previous short stories of mine that never quite worked as short fiction for various reasons. I'm excited about it, but I sort of feel that I don't know how to write a novel. That may sound a little strange coming from someone who has just written onel, but I look at The Crosser of the Worlds and wonder how on earth I ever managed to work out such a complex plot with the characters and structure to match. It seems like an impossible task to me, even in hindsight! However, I really want to try writing a novel for adults that isn't genre-specific and this seems like a good way to go about it.

In other news, I am currently working on one short story that I hope to finish by the end of the month. A week ago, I also received my first rejection for my novel. I sent it to The Greenhouse Agency on Friday evening and got rejected on Monday morning. Brutal! I'm working on the prinicpal of submitting to three agents at once. Every time I get rejected I submit to one more and in the mean time try to forget I ever wrote a novel in order to preserve my sanity. At least I'm not alone... I'm sure anyone who has been or is going through the submission process for a book will appreciate this light-hearted post about the process.

And finally, the news you've all been waiting for. Using my prize from the last short story competition I won, I have got round to buying a new coat so I can actually keep dry while wandering the high moor in fog and rain. As I said at the time of winning... it's a glamourous life this writing business, isn't it?


  1. I've been away from my blog for a long time. I've had a busy two months when it came to anything other than writing. But the other week NaNoWriMo came onto the news, and after years off putting off and/or missing it, I decided to give it a go. Then my router went Kaput, which gave me a few days of uninterrupted plan work done. I'm glad someone I know is entering too!
    I'm very sorry to hear about your first novel rejection. I don't know if it is much consolation that they did not "torture" you by taking weeks to respond? Still, Rev W Awdry was rejected by innumerable publishers before his early Thomas books, and they've been a phenomenon for over 65 years. I often considered how the publishers who rejected his lovely little stories reacted to the Thomas the Tank Engine success? One or two might have been kicking themselves, and hopefully The Greenhouse Agency will too. (As for the random Thomas references...I really like trains...)
    As somebody who will emotionally beat herself up over the teeniest rejection this sounds ridiculous, but keep convincing yourself their loss will be someone else's gain. It's usually true.
    On the subject of the coat, I think it is a lovely colour.

    HC x

  2. Oh, I'm not so upset at rejection - you've got to have at least ten before you let it get you down!

    Nari is doing NaNoWriMo too so there will be quite a gang of us this year.

    My criteria for a coat was one that was either bright enough or dark enough to be able to get dirty. My last one was pale blue and looked filthy from about week two!

  3. Really looking forward to Nano :) Glad to hear you;re so upbeat about your rejection - it's be some kind of miracle if it got accepted first time. Keep going :) You've got so much further than a lot of us!
    Nice coat :)

    Nari X

  4. I've started NaNoWriMo for three years in a row and haven't 'officially' completed a single one of them. However, the book I started last November is the one I'm currently almost finished with. Better late than never, right? I plan on spending this year's NaNoWriMo putting the final touches on said book so that it's ready to send out in the new year. Best of luck on the new project. I hope it goes well (I also hope that you have an writing/accountability buddy or two to help you along. Those help.)
    Congrats on the first rejection of the season. May they be few.


  5. Thanks Andy and Nari! I think your book has been worth the wait, Andy.

  6. I've considered the NaNoWriMo idea myself in the past but never actually got underway with it. I think your post here has given me the inspiration to have a go.
    What has changed? Not a lot really, because I'm still going to be travelling to work by train four days a week but instead of writing a poem or working on a short story I'll get onto my Nano' idea. Obviously being committed to writing I'll be trying to keep up with other projects too simultaneously.
    I'm with HC, pleased to know somebody else that's entering.
    Not that I'm big on fashion, but I'm pleased to see you've got something you like with your well-deserved prize money.
    On the rejection ... they weren't good enough.

  7. You may be able to tell from the photo that I'm not big on fashion either!


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