Monday, June 15, 2009

top of the charts – and seeing the wood for the trees

Current work: revisions on fairground book
Listening to: Corelli
Reading: next on TBR

Was delighted on Saturday to see in the EDP that the Norfolk Miscellany is #1 in the Jarrolds local book chart. Yippee. (That’s my third week on their bestseller chart, so I’m really pleased.) (And yes, I’m blowing my own trumpet, but I’m an author and this is local history. If I don’t talk about it, nobody’s going to do it for me!)

As for seeing the wood for the trees… Sometimes, as an author, you’re too close to your book to tell if it works. You read your MS and you read what you intended to say, not what you actually said. Sometimes – no matter how experienced you are – it takes someone else to point that out to you.

Luckily, I have a stellar agent who’s very good at doing that, and in a really positive way. She sent me an email on Friday, pointing out the good bits of the book – and then I got the kicker. It didn’t work for her. Then she asked me two questions: why I started the book where I did, and what the conflict was.

She was spot on about the starting point – oh, duh, why on earth didn’t I start the day before? I can really up the emotional stakes if I start the thing in the right place. As for the conflict… I thought it was a goodie. So I rang her and told her what it was. ‘Great. That works. BUT it’s not on the page.’

Again, she’s right. I’ve downplayed it and left it too long to drop the bombs, and I need to make it clear right up at the front.

As this was my 40th M&B, you’d think I’d know this by now. But hey ho. I spent the weekend revising the first half of the book, after talking over different books with my lovely editor (and warning her not to look at the fairground book because she’s going to have a different version later this week). So I’m focused and I know where I’m going. Good.

Oh, and the result of the editor chat? Sadly, I don’t get my Regency Doctor… well, I can bend him in a little bit provided he doesn’t take over. My time-travel one was a no-no, too. (Though I should add that I am NOT jumping on a bandwagon; I had stuff published in the early to mid 90s that would be classified as paranormal, nowadays. And I’ve been a Barbara Erskine fan for a very, very long time.) But we’ve worked out what I’m doing next, and worked out the conflict that was giving me trouble. Again, sometimes it takes someone else to point something out to you or say something that triggers off your creativity.

Son enjoyed his final cookery lesson on Friday and came home with a really scrummy Black Forest Gateau (which we all liked), and chilli (which I liked but the fussy people I live with refused to try). Bless him, he looked so proud of himself. He has an inset day today (teacher training day). Madam is dismayed to think we’ll be doing something without her. ‘You won’t do anything FUN, will you?’ Bless. She has an inset day at the end of the month, so I’ve promised her we’ll do something fun then.

10 comments:

Carol Townend said...

Congrats on Norfolk Miscellany doing so well! And commiserations on the Regency doctor and time-shift. I love time-shifts too...
All best,
Carol

Nell Dixon said...

Congrats on the miscellany doing so well! As I'm the worlds worst at looking at my own work I can sympathise - usually when my editor points something out I always look and wonder why I didn't spot it - seems so obvious when they say it - sigh

Olivia Ryan said...

That's fabulous news about 'Norfolk Miscellany' - many congratulations! And oh, how loudly it rang true to me, reading about your agent pointing out things you think you should by now have noticed for yourself! I don't know if we ever get any better at that. I once had to be told, for instance, that my characters weren't described fully enough - such a basic error and yet I'd been through the MS so many times and never realised it. I guess that's just another thing about writing - none of us can ever rest on our laurels. There's no such thing as a writer who has achieved perfection. (OK, maybe Shakespeare was an exception but let's not aim too high!)

Jan Jones said...

Well done - and glad you're back on track.

Sue aka MsCreativity said...

Kate, that's fantastic news about being #1 in the local book chart. Wonderful to achieve kudos at a local level, and to be on their bestseller chart for a third week too! Congrats!!

Uh oh, did I read correctly that you're on your 40th M&B already? By Gray's calculations that gives me another 16 months..? (Although I'm thinking he's being a little too generous!) ;-)

Kate Hardy said...

Carol - thank you.

And I still reckon I can bend something in...

Kate Hardy said...

Nell - thank you.

Mmm, isn't it annoying when you don't spot the obvious? :o)

Kate Hardy said...

Olivia - thank you.

And you're not the only one :o)

Kate Hardy said...

Jan - thank you. It's nice to be back on track.

Kate Hardy said...

Sue - thank you.

And, um, I'm just about to start my 41st (when I've finished revisions on #40).

Good luck with your own timetable!!