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Friday, 25 September 2015

Talking About Rejection

Hi, Blogettes,

It's Thursday again...blogging day. Actually it's Friday but yesterday went crazy I am. It's been a funny week. I can only liken it to being in the X Factor. Now, I have to tell you I have a good singing voice. I was often chosen for the lead in school musicals, was in an adult rock choir, and still sing to my grandkids who don't run away screaming with terror. However. You would not catch me on the X Factor for a whole year's supply of Haribos. And that's a promise.

Having said that, I had my own X Factor moment this week. A literary agent (someone esteemed in the industry) read my (self-published) book.I spent weeks in a state of stupefying excitement, planning how many books would follow my signing, wondering which publisher I would work with, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera.


In came (Simon Cowell), who booted me out. It was the nearest, near miss I've ever had. 

I hadn't planned to look for an agent. My plan was self-publishing, and for nearly two years this has been my target. And I've achieved it, and I'm very happy. But y'know, when you get a chance at something you have to take it. So I took it. And I got to judges houses. And he said some wonderful things about my writing. And we parted friends.

Rejection is a huge part of a writer's life. If we're to succeed in finding an agent and a publisher, we must be tenacious at a time when we feel like giving up. Don't. Keep doing the thing that gives you so much pleasure, that gives your life meaning and allows you to escape from the things going on around you. If you're a writer you will never stop writing, because inventing characters and building their lives is in your blood.

And as a card carrying, t-shirt wearing, been there done that self-publisher, will I look for my soul-mate agent again? You betcha!

Lots of love
Valentina xxx

Thursday, 17 September 2015

Prettily Tied Up Endings…and Writing with Honesty

Dear Blogettes,

It's been a little while since I blogged. I always have my blog in the back of my mind, particularly if I haven't posted. My aim was to post once a week, on Thursday, but it seems there's always something more pressing, like writing my new manuscript, posting on social media and writing a synopsis for 'MEADOW'S END' before finishing the manuscript. This is a first for me.

Usually, I go where the story takes me. When writing A DISH OF STONES, I had a clear picture in my head, like a complete capsule of events unfolding just behind my eyes. I saw Kate and Emma, watched them as they struggled to live through circumstances that would make most of us crumble. I knew there must be some kind of happy ending for them. I wanted, maybe needed a happy ending for them. I also knew it wouldn't be a happy, happy ending, because I wanted the story to have an edge of realism. Nothing really ends happy's more a case of accepting that things don't always go to plan, to be grateful for the sliver of happiness we're offered, one that lifts our spirits and encourages us to continue. Surely, this is real life.

I'm addicted to television drama. The BBC in the UK do this very well, but there's one thing that frustrates me more than anything when I'm viewing. Some of the dramas are stretched out over two or three weeks, maybe longer, so clearly a chunk of time must be invested. My pet hate is when the writers gather up all the loose ends and tie them in a very pretty knot, so that A gets exactly what she wants, B learns to accept it, and C goes to prison because he's a very naughty boy. Sometimes, this is all pulled together very quickly in the last episode, and to be honest, it leaves me feeling very short-changed. This is not realism. Yes, I want escapism ( I write fantasy as well as contemporary fiction, and I love to let rip with the characters, real or imagined) but I hope I write with realism in mind when dealing with the problems we face as human beings. A series I watched recently, and one I absolutely fell in love with was a huge disappointment in the final episode, when everything just conveniently fell into place. It felt uncomfortably like the writer had been told there wasn't another series on offer, so hey, I'd better just wind it all up.

Writing about the problems human beings face in life must surely be approached with realism, otherwise we're not writing with honesty. 'In to each life a little rain must fall' is a truism. It is absolutely correct, and describes the human condition perfectly, providing us as writers with a rich vein to explore, which surely has no end.

Do you have a favourite drama that was written with honesty and would like to recommend, or like me have you been frustrated by prettily tied up endings? I'd love to know.

Valentina x

PS. Please let me know if you would like to hijack my blog, or take part in an interview to discuss your writing experiences. I would be honoured to lend my place in the blogisphere to you for a while!

The Blogettes