How to stop thinking about the agent issue.

Okay -I admit that I go through periods of nail-biting tension, anxiously checking my emails and the post, to see if I’ve had a response from an agent. I don’t literally bite my nails as I think it is a disgusting habit – but you catch my drift.

The weekend offers some respite,although a tiny part of my brain still hopes I may see something. Having had two partial requests, I feel as though I may be getting there, although I’m not at the point of lighting a cigar. My novel is a dark and gritty psychological thriller, and the very first chapter begins with a moment of aggression and power – perhaps too much too soon? Anyway, I digress – i use some of the following diversionary tactics to stop becoming too obsessed about the agent issue – perhaps you could give me a few more ideas.

1) Immerse yourself in a new WIP – live it – breathe it – and remember your writing is improving all the time.
2) Read novels in your preferred genre – explore the author’s genius and flare – or lack of, as the case may be.
3) Enter writing competitions.
4) If you have children – play board/card games – have fun and laugh – the hours will fly.
5) Cook a meal requiring a fair amount of preparation – chopping always clears my head.
6) Visit other writers’ blogs and tweets to see how they are getting on – it can help to know that you are not alone in your search.
7) Explore other options of publishing – such as Kindle, ebooks…

Thinking too much about acquiring an agent can make you frustrated and sometimes get you down – especially when another week has gone by without a peep. Such feelings are unnecessary emotions that can drain you of your productivity and hope. Don’t waste your energy – enjoy other realms of life – and if rejections flow in – send out some more queries.
In the meantime – write – write -write.

I would love to hear how you cope – the more options the better i feel. Welcome to the new followers – I appreciate you popping by.

Happy Word Flow One & All

Enjoying the darkness.

My novel,  a psychological thriller –  Attic of the Mind  – follows a twisting road of deceit, revenge and ultimately, resolution.
In reality, I don’t live in a dark world full of misery, suspense and a bubbling below the surface fear. My life is mainstream, with the usual ups and downs experienced by many.
However, in my writing, I delve into the dark shadows that move in the corners of the room. Everything that spooks me, I put in my novels – with the situations become darker than I had originally imagined.

I find that writing about things I would never do in real life, brings some kind of perverse release; exploring the psychopathic tendencies and violent acts that belong to a character is fascinating and sometimes challenging.
If I’m getting bored in a chapter – then I assume that the reader would too – so I rewrite or delete, depending on the relevance of the section.
I like to jump right in from the first sentence in the first chapter. However, I do wonder whether some people – ie Agents – may find it rather distasteful, abrupt or off-putting. Sadly there is no time for Agents to say what puts them off after requesting a partial – as that would be invaluable advice. I obviously only seek out Agents who have an interest in this genre – it would be madness to do otherwise.

I write what I like to read – as it thrills me to spin the web of darkness. However, in this economic meltdown – many articles talk about readers seeking escapism  – well, I would argue that a psychological thriller is still escapism, but to a world you would only visit rather than live in.
The hint is in the genre word itself – ‘thriller’ – I want to thrill people with my novels – fingers crossed – one day I will.

Happy Word Flow One & All

The rush to find an agent.

Hindsight is a marvellous phenomenon which we are all blessed with when it’s too late.
Last year, I sent Attic of the Mind  out to a few agents, but without success except for one partial request.
Six months later, I re-read the ms and discovered that it still wasn’t polished to my liking. I had to remove paragraphs that were leading nowhere, and chop around the structure in places to improve the flow and pace. After a fifth rewrite I felt a warm glow about the result – ah – that warm glow feeling we so seek.

I am, however, someone who learns from mistakes – why make them otherwise – and I realised that my synopsis needed a face-lift. @Bubblecow (Twitter) talks about the synopsis being a marketing tool – a way to sell oneself. So, seeing it with this in mind, I wrote another one that I believe to be more appealing, snappy and attention grabbing – I hope.

I have read more about the Kindle and ebooks – as this may be forward for me – who knows?
Okay – I have tentatively begun the search for an agent – but I’m aware that querying agents can have an addictive undercurrent – so I must tread with caution, and continue to learn from my mistakes.
I feel hopeful about 2011 – let’s hope it doesn’t let me down.

Happy Word Flow One & and All

Do you say you are a writer?

We had friends over for a meal this weekend, and a little voice in me wanted to tell them that I’m writing my fourth novel, but a louder voice clamped down on that thought.
All my friends are aware of my professional publications, although they are barely interested as we all work in different fields.

The reason I don’t tell people is that I haven’t got an agent and so my chances of publication are pretty slim. As I periodically send out queries, I don’t want people continually asking me if I’ve been successful; it would heighten my feelings of failure that plague me periodically.

This reminds me of the latter stages of pregnancy, when well meaning people would phone up to ask me if I’d had the baby, which after a while became tiresome in itself, never mind carrying another person inside me.

One of the several reasons why I love Twitter is that I can speak freely about my writing as I don’t know anyone in real life. A teenage friend of my daughter is on Twitter, but as I’m in the wrong age bracket, I’m not famous and I’m not in a girl/boy band, I’m of no interest to her thankfully.

I’m so passionate about writing, and I feel the need to write and read about writing on a daily basis, that it saddens me that I have to keep it a secret. I long to scream, ‘I’m a writer,’ but until I achieve the next step, I have to whisper it to myself.

What do you do? Are you open about it? Do you tell a select few? I’d love to know to see whether I should have a different view point.

Welcome to Shannon and thanks for following me.

Happy Word Flow One & All

When to let the baby go?

Over the past few days, I’ve spent 8 hours each day polishing my ms. Snipping, cutting, amending, until I feel just about satisfied.

This has been my baby since January and I feel a reluctance to let it go, even though the character from my next novel is already butting into my thoughts.

In a bid to let my baby fly, I queried an agent last night. It’s always worrying wondering whether someone else with think your baby is ugly.

I’ve trusted my baby with someone I think will find my genre fitting to their needs, but that’s only an educated guess from my own research. And if my baby’s not talented enough for them, I’ll have to look elsewhere for a suitable nursery.

Now i play the waiting game to see whether the agent replies. Disappointment will wash over me when I get an e-mail alert, only to see it’s no from the agent.

Anyway, my baby has been washed, dressed, fed and changed, so now I will turn my attention to mind mapping my next novel, with the aid of the new character who is screaming to be heard.

Happy Word Flow One & All