Looks like I'm off the hook.
NB: If you don't know what I'm talking about please go back a couple of blog posts; to the one entitled 'I've done something I can't undo' then come back here.
I spoke to my mum on the phone last night and she'd heard from Anne by text. My heart started beating a bit faster.
Me: What did she say?
Mum: She said that she'd had a letter from you to tell her off for not buying the book. I texted back to say that I thought you'd sent her a copy.
Me: Did she text back?
Mum: Yes, she just put:.'She did' and put a whole load of exclamation marks. I think they're trying it out with Josh.
Me: That's great! I told Nicky (that's my sister) she laughed her head off. Nicky said she thought they would find it funny because I'm a chip off the old block.
Mum: laughs. Yes, I don't think they minded.
So, there we go.
Really hope they like it.
What if they hate it?
Oh no....what if they hate it?!
I'm in the blue bit right now.
Just started reading back through Thirteenth Wish and I'm thinking, 'what the heck am I doing? I can't write....!'
I finished the first draft of Thirteenth Wish about two months ago, but I've been too busy with promoting Jarred Dreams to do any work on it. That ends today.
It will be an advantage that I have had so much distance from the book as it will give me a chance to look at the entire story in an objective way.
I have watched the amazing editing tips video of N M Browne and my nose is now in Stephen King On Writing (finished Mumnesia which was a fabulous read - would recommend it). I will also go back to my course notes and revisit the on-line course that I'm doing for editing tips and pointers.
What I will do next is to print off the first draft, go through and scrawl all over it, then I will ask all those important questions that Nicky suggests:
1. Who is the story about?
2. Is your story the real story or is there a different story hiding behind that would be better?
3. Do you have enough characters or too many?
4. Is the story being told through the characters or is it too much from your own head?
5. Do you need to change the way the story is being told e.g tense? POV?
6. What do you need to take out? E.g. too much description?
7. What needs more page time? Have you rushed important scenes or plot points?
8. Write a synopsis of the story - can you sum it up in one sentence?
9. Try to pitch the book - can you? Easily?
10. Go back to the plan - does the story fit? Is there character arcs? Does the ending satisfy the reader and relate to the beginning?
11. Does it make sense? Is it consistent or have you left unanswered threads?
Those are the main ones and creates a new draft, usually completely different to the original. The next stage then repeats this process, but hopefully this draft will answer these questions without needing too much altering.
It is only afterwards that I do the more detailed pruning and editing: making sure each word is doing it's job and needs to be there.
Lots of work ahead - best get cracking.
Gave up on 'Gone' I'm afraid, bit too comic book like for me.
Now I'm reading 'Mumnesia' by Katie Dale.
What can I say about it? Nothing, except #hilarious
My 12-year-old daughter absolutely loved it and read it in two sittings. It is half price at the moment in Asda, so if you're looking for a fun summer read go get it!
This is a bit of a story. Are you sitting comfortably? Then I shall begin.
We all have old family friends. You know the ones....friends of your parents that have been around way before you were born. They have always been there, like friendly aunts and uncles. I know you all have a picture of at least one person in your head right now. Mine are called Anne and David and they are awesome. Really genuinely nice people and fun. David once took my brother up on a brag he made when he was about ten that he could eat five cornettos in a row. He even bought them for him!
When Jarred Dreams was published Anne and David sent me a card of congratulations but despite having grandchildren they didn't buy a copy. I was disappointed, but thought 'well, that is kind of how it goes sometimes and the card was a nice thought'. Then, my mum told me that the reason they didn't buy one was because they have grandsons and my protagonist is a girl. I was upset.
I shared my feelings with some of the SCBWI members and somebody suggested sending them a book anyway. I've just sent it, with a card and this is what I wrote (roughly - can't remember it exactly word for word)
Dear Anne and David,
Thank you for the card. You may be wondering why I have sent you a copy of Jarred Dreams when you haven't ordered one. Well....
When you didn't buy a book I was disappointed but when I found out the reason you didn't I was very upset. Why?
1. This is a hugely competitive business and I am reliant and grateful to the support I get from friends and family.
2. Boys are loving the book.
3. General feminist principles.
4. Boys who refuse or are reluctant to read books with strong female characters are exactly the boys who should be reading them.
5. A good book is a good book no matter who it it's audience is (I actually stole this line from someone else!)
THEN I added:
This is NOT a free book, it is a tester, read it to your grandsons, if you and they don't like it, return it, otherwise you can send me a cheque for £6.99.
Then I finished off with some nice bits which might have been seen as a suck up, but were genuinely well meant.
What do you all think of that then?!
Just very me?
hope they have a good laugh about it and I haven't just ended the longest friendship of all time...oh dear....sent it now....now turning back!
Thing is, I'm always telling my girls to challenge behaviour they don't like otherwise attitudes never change, so I wouldn't be much of a mother if I let that one pass me by without doing anything.
I will let you know what happens next.....gulp.
Libraries are just the most fantastic places aren't they?
I am going to be the official author of Redbourn Library to promote the summer reading challenge.
Dates are to be confirmed but I will be holding two events, one near the start for registered children aged between 9-11 and one at the end to those children who have completed their challenge.
This year is a BFG theme - how apt seeing as The Dream Thief is the BFG nemesis!
I'm at the Oxfam Bookshop in St Albans tomorrow (Sunday 10 July) at 11am as part of the St Albans Literary Festival.
I have just started to read Gone by Michael Grant. It is the first in a series of about six or seven books. Series books are all the rage. I usually get asked if I am writing a sequel to Jarred Dreams but the answer is no. That is not to say I won't ever, but I am an ideas person and like to move on to new characters and a new story.
My mum told me that the reason two of our oldest family friends haven't bought a copy of Jarred Dreams is because they have grandsons and the protagonist is a girl.
I am so cross because they are exactly the boys who NEED to read about a strong, fearless girl who is willing to take on the challenge of saving those around her and refuses to give up.
Besides boys are loving the book.
I can feel an article coming on.
I did a Y7 school visit on Monday and here is the report that three of the children wrote for their school newsletter. Hot off the press....
Camilla Chester’s presentation on Jarred Dreams
On the 4th of July, we were excited to greet the new author of Harpenden, Camilla Chester. In period 6, all of us in year seven left our English class to engage in a fun afternoon with Camilla. When we got to the hall, Camilla introduced herself and her books and talked about her writing, she told us about where she writes her books, and her inspiration, which she gets from walking dogs, and one of them actually writes a blog! And this, she told us was her valid “thinking time”. She also told us that her inspiration comes from JK Rowling and that she mainly writes on her kitchen table.
She was a very enthusiastic about her book and the fact she could tell us about it. It is about the dream thief who steals dreams from children at night. I was intrigued to read more after the extract from the book that she read - it was part of the first chapter. This book was inspired By the BFG in a way, because the dream thief steals dreams and the BFG gives dreams to kids.
Camilla showed us how using simple ideas you could make a story and that you can use objects and animals as main characters - not just humans! We all chose elements of a story, for example a protagonist, a scene and the protagonist’s secret that is preventing them from doing something, and made our own story, which ended up being slightly weird, with a platypus that was really a slug trying to talk, although this was hard as he could not, because he didn’t have a mouth!
She played a game with us which I think she could have made more interactive with everyone rather than just the 2 chosen. She also kindly donated a copy to the library so those who did not bring in money could read the entire book. I think was a very interesting and gripping presentation with lots (but not quite enough) fun participation! Overall, I really enjoyed listening to Camilla and I am certainly inspired to write more and read her book.
I'm going away now to have a think on how to make my game more interactive.
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