Wednesday, 6 January 2010

Somewhat Bereft

That's how I'm feeling now that I have finally sent my novel to my agent and all sleepless nights, daylight heartburn, and round-the-clock time-travel-paradox head-banging is at an end, at least for now. Actually, my small children will see that the sleepless nights continue, but at least they can be dealt with by nothing more onerous than a hug.

It sounds like three people will read my story at the agency, so I should brace myself for a pretty comprehensive critical response. I'm a bit wary because – and I've probably played this down on my blog – I sent a truly awful version of this book to my agent last April, and I'm really grateful that they're being so good about giving it another try. That previous version was rushed, half-baked, confused, and didn't even read like a children's book for the most part. I can't tell you how much I hope they can forget I ever sent it at all, and read my novel with fresh eyes. Thank goodness they're professionals.

My wife will also read The Ghost Effect – partly to proofread it, but also because she questions me very closely about my writing and won't let me get away with being baggy and ridiculous (sadly I was born that way). And because it's always good to have an opinion from another writer, I'm lucky that fellow-blogger Simon Kewin has also agreed to read it. All of which means that the next revision – and there's always another revision to make, isn't there? -- should be a very well informed one.

So what do I write now? I have a picture book idea, but that won't take long. I have an exciting central premise for a new novel, but I'm not nearly ready to start it – the story's not there. So what fat chunk of writing can I sink my inky teeth into now? Don't worry, I won't over-blog on you, and I don't expect an answer.

Maybe I just need a hug.


  1. Doesn't it feel great to have it out of your reach for a while? I love (and hate) that feeling. I hope the people at the agency love it, and I hope you come up with a wonderful new project. :)

  2. Here's a virtual 'hug' then because, if you have lived with characters for a long time, they do become 'part of the family' and it is hard to part with them.

  3. What a scary time. Virtual hugs for you then - not that you'll really need them! - Sure, you'll be grand! Can't wait to hear the "result"......drum roll begins...

  4. Virtual hugs from me too! You must be biting your nails off right now. Just free write for fun (that's what I do). Sometimes it's a breath of fresh air to just write stuff for no intents or purposes.

  5. Here's a hug from me too.

    I know the feeling - when I finished my last novel I couldn't let it go for ages - the characters were still in my head buzzing around. I'm sure it's a good sign. Bet your agent loves it!

  6. Thank you!

    And as my little boy is off from school with the plague, my whole day will be one long hug -- whether I like it or not -- and writing is out of the question anyway:)

  7. Oh, hugs from here too.

    Between your nursing chores, why not make yourself a nice cup of tea and some toast. I hear the British like jam on their toast, but whatever. And then sit down with a good book.

    Best way to de-stress

  8. Thomas,

    Yep, got my reading glasses all ready to go ...


  9. Merde, as the French say to wish people luck.
    And a big stinky one too.
    But it can only be a great story.

  10. Thanks, Terry. I spent the day holding a hot three-year-old in one arm, whilst using the other to look up and read first chapters with Amazon's 'Look Inside' feature. It's a great way to sample lots of author's styles without getting up, in case you haven't already tried it.

    Many Thanks, Simon. I might e-mail it tonight. I'm all set for more Egne and for your short story as and when you are ready.

    Thanks, Julie. Merde yourself;-)

  11. Thomas, You're obviously a good father and I hope things look up soon for your dear little one.

    Thank you for that great idea to use the Amazon, "Look Inside," thing to see other writers' styles. I use it lot to decide on whether or not to buy books. But your idea is more innovative, never mind entertaining, for your kids. And for us grown-up kids, too. Good show.

  12. I hope that the hot sticky hug has done the trick. I must protest at your description of yourself as being born baggy and ridiculous. You weren't, I was there. Baggy and ridiculous is something you work at assidously for years and achieve in later life. You'll get there eventually!
    And Amazon is good for the 'Look Inside' feature. I also find readers reviews helpful too, although you have to read quite a few to get a balanced idea.

  13. I'm glad you mentioned getting a balanced idea from Amazon reviews. They are notorious for being infested by enemies, on the one hand, and mothers (ahem) on the other. Best to look somewhere in between;-)

    Marvin, that's the second most surreal hug I've ever had! Thank you.


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