Thursday, 28 January 2010

Morale Well and Truly Boosted!

As I mentioned at the beginning of the year, I sent The Ghost Effect – my less-than-polished-but-still-readable novel -- to my agent for feedback. I think I also hinted at the confused nature and general rubbishness of an earlier version of this story that I sent to her last April. Since her rejection of that previous effort, I have been to the very edge of misery and back over this book, so I hope you'll forgive me if much of this post comes across as rather smug. My agent really likes my book!

In fact, two agents (same agency) read The Ghost Effect, and they have both responded very positively. Having struggled so hard for almost a year -- somehow finding the will to go on despite writing for weeks without a glimpse of Natasha, hounded continually by Boris -- I can't tell you how relieved I am that someone experienced thinks that my novel is 'clever and exciting, which is a tough combination!' and that the '...beginning chapters (are) quite brilliant – exciting and original and promising the kind of novel you just can't put down.'

Light that up and smoke it, Boris!

Best of all is the fact that they don't think I need to make any substantial changes before TGE goes out on submission. However, there are a great many typos, clichés and baggy bits to sort out, and one or two areas that might need a little more explanation. Also, there's a feeling that it's a little long (perhaps up to 5,000 words) but at least there's no obvious place to make a cut. No stray or pointless scenes, and no wandering off down side alleys like last time.

Very interestingly, my agent thinks my main character should be a year or so older (he's thirteen right now), an idea that has occurred to me again and again. She refers to the text as 'teen fiction' (YA in the US), and I find it such a relief to have this pointed out by someone else. I don't want to deny 9 or 10-year-olds, but writing for them is very difficult, and it doesn't come naturally to me. So I was writing for teens after all!

Agents aren't the only ones reading my novel. Fellow novelist and blogger Simon Kewin has also been feeding remarks back to me as he has the time to read, and he has been very positive too. Simon's point of view is especially interesting as he has a writer's perspective. I'm sure he'll correct me if I'm wrong, but Simon is a more experienced writer than I am, with a firm grasp of the crafting aspects of storytelling, as well as an unforgiving approach to clichés and muddled phrases. Simon's input is of great value as I head toward the next step: a final revision, and then out to a real editor or two.

(My wife has also read TGE, but I'm planning a future post about close family as readers, and I'll embarrass her with compliments then.)

My agent's last e-mail ends appropriately with a reminder that 'the market is very tough at the moment'. And so having crowed a bit, I'll now go back to drinking too much coffee and biting my nails over the whole thing, very aware that The Ghost Effect is far from out of the woods yet, and may, as with my first novel, end up with no offers at all. But in the meantime, as Natasha opens the door and lets Boris back in, I hope you won't begrudge me my small moment of celebration.

18 comments:

  1. Whooo hooo...sounds like great feedback. Enjoy the rewrite stage!

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  2. I'm so happy for you! Getting those positive comments from your agent must have been incredibly uplifting. I can't wait to hear more about its future. Best of luck with revising.

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  3. Hurray - weeeeeeeeeeeee! I knew when I saw your post header that something good was cooking (pardon the cliché)! Terrific. And all the more so wonderful after your previous disappointment! Onwards and upwards, Thomas!

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  4. Congratulations, you deserve to be pleased - that's great news. :-)

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  5. Thanks, Keren, Anita and Rachel. Yes, it's certainly uplifting! Now all I have to do is not come crashing down again to find this post was just a hostage to fortune:-/

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  6. That's great news! You must be estatic. All your hard work last year has paid of - I hope it al goes well for you and I'll be picking a copy of The Ghost Effect off the shelves of my local book shop soon.

    Julie

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  7. Well done Thomas ! Hilary xxx

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  8. Thomas,

    Yes, it's marvellous news and many congratulations. I can confirm to the world what a great read The Ghost Effect is. As to being a more experienced writer than you - I'm really not sure about that!

    I think we all go through periods of despair and doubt about or work - I have as you know - so sticking to your guns and succeeding is admirable.

    More feedback on the novel coming soon ...

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  9. Thanks, Julie, Cat and Hilary.

    Simon, I read recently that all writers have to go through that long winter of despair and seriously ask themselves if they should give up and embrace the low end of the Service Industry instead. Let's hope there's soon a crocus or two for both of us.

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  10. Great and exciting times. Keep us posted...we begrudge you nothing ..after all you have worked so hard.Great things often come after times of doubt and despair.Love from snowy Denmark

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  11. Wonderful news!!! Fantastic feedback. You should be in the 7th heaven. I won't tempt the gods by saying anymore, but my fingers are crossed.

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  12. Thank you! Yes, fingers crossed please, even snowy Danish fingers:)

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  13. Hey, congratulations! It took four years for my new release, Angela 1: Starting Over, to be accepted by any agent, much less a publisher. But finally, here it is, the first in a series of three set in a coastal Texas high school. To find out if it is the kind of book you may be interested in reading, please click on my name and follow the link to my web site. Thanks!

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  14. Exciting news! Will you still remember us when you are bigger than Jesus....or JK Rowling?

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  15. Thanks, David.

    Matt, you're a funny man.

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  16. I always wondered what the 'J' stood for in her name....and come to think of it, you never see them in the same room at the same time....hmmm ;)

    Congrats! I hope this is the first step on Publishing Ave.

    ...and if not, there is always self-publishing. I would buy a copy.

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