‘Life is what happens while you’re busy making other plans’
I first heard this in John Lennon’s song, ‘Beautiful Boy’ and John’s fate is my reminder to appreciate each day as it comes whether your plans work out or not.
We do thrive on plans that take us forward though, and I’m happy that my writing plans for 2016 are forging ahead.
I’ve completed my final draft of ‘A Jarful of Moondreams’ and , each month, I’m sending it off to two agents and a publisher. I figured that this means I’ll always have one of two people considering my work and won’t have all my rejections back at once.
Talking of rejections, I’ve just had my first. It was a nicely worded rejection and I’ve been told so often that I’ll get lots on my journey to publication that it was a sort of right of passage. Opened it, read it, over it.
As well as looking for representation, I’m looking into self-publishing. My plan is to be published one way or another and, while I would be delighted to be taken on by an agent who loves my work, I’m prepared to go it alone.
I’ve sent ‘A Jarful of Moondreams’ out into the world to be read by my nearest and dearest. That, I feel, is harder than giving it to strangers. ”Love It!” ‘Hated Neil” “perfect summer holiday read” ‘Ha! I can’t believe ….(spoiler)” ” I loved that man” It is lovely to hear that people couldn’t wait to find out what happened to my characters. I even got “Is there a sequel? I want to know more about….”
I’ve loved writing for the past couple of years but now I’m learning how satisfying it is for my novel to have readers. I know I’m going to have great fun when I’m taking it out into a wider field and promoting it.
While the first born is getting out there, novel 2 has not got a title. There are several that I like but I don’t want to pin it down yet.
With number 2, it’s easier to make writing time, to allow the characters to develop as they come to life on the page and to allow the odd new twist to appear in the story. There’s a welsh terrier who wants to make an appearance. He’s a lovely character like my welshie , Oscar, but older and wiser. I’m enjoying drafting this story because I’m getting rid of the ‘this is rubbish’ voice that used to crop up when I first started writing. If it whispers that it’s rubbish, I say that I can always go back and change it. I’ve written right up to THE END once so I can do it again because I’m a writer.
I’ve enjoyed reading the furore about parents in pyjamas taking their children to school. What a range of opinions!
“The head is quite right and it shouldn’t be allowed” at one extreme to “What does it matter as long as the children are taken to school?” at the other. Added to this, I’ve heard several debates on morning dress code. Is there one?
I know that Cleo Moon, the deputy head in ‘A Jarful of Moondreams’, would not want to antagonise the parents of her pupils by dictating what to wear in the morning but she might be given the job of speaking to one or two culprits by her boss, Teflon ( nothing sticks to him) Telford.
I was head of an inner city school and know how hard it is to get the children into school and how absence is often due to parents who can’t organise their life well enough to send their offspring out of the door in the morning. I’d have been happy to have the pupils arriving in school clothes and would not have felt responsible for the parents garb.
How can a headteacher decide when to draw the line? Isn’t it acceptable to expect a dress code for your pupils in school but sheer bossiness to extend it to parents? To send an open letter to all parents is sledgehammer to a nut tactics. If it was a handful of parents, a quiet friendly word would either do the trick or put you in your place by telling you to mind your school’s business and not theirs. Is the head going to ban parents from showing body art, piercings and unusual hair colours next?
I was interested to discover that the wearing of pyjamas during the day became fashionable in Juan-les-Pins when Coco Channel started the trend in the 1920s. This present trend is not new. I’d prefer Coco pyjamas to a onesie any day but if other adults want to dress like big toddlers it doesn’t concern me.
In an interview about entertaining, Nigella, of the great-tasting food, admitted that she often served her guests in her nightwear. I do hope they’re of the Coco Chanel elegant but comfortable style and not fleecy onesie style but, whatever they are I wouldn’t refuse a Nigella dinner.
It’s all down to personal choice. I feel sluggish if I’m in my nightwear until lunch time. I wouldn’t eat dinner in a dressing gown either because these garments signal bedtime to me. There are other comfy loungewear clothes with the same cut and comfort of pyjamas that I would wear so I’m sure it’s all in the name.
Who remembers the shell suit? Worse than a onesie or not?
One bonus of wearing pyjamas morning until evening is that it would save that walk of shame when you have to leave somewhere early in the morning in a party dress and killer heels. That’s a look that won’t go down well at the school gates either.
How’s the writing going? I usually dread hearing that query but, for once, I’m happy to talk about it because I’ve been writing a lot and I think it’s going well.
My first novel, A Jarful of Moondreams, is in the hands of a reader of the RNA New Writer’s Scheme and I’m considering where to submit once it is returned. I thought you might like to see the Moondream jar that catches the dreams of my heroines.
I’m excited to start a new novel and I’m tackling this one differently. I’m creating the characters and outlining the plot at the same time. When I’ve done this, I’m going to divide my plot into sections and then write a first draft without stopping to edit or proof read.
As Terry Prachett said, I’ll be telling myself the story. I edited as I went along last time and this wasted quite a bit of time as large chunks were changed anyway. That’s the plan anyway! I haven’t got a title as yet.
If my feedback from the New Writer’s Scheme is positive, I’ll send my first submissions off in batches of three. I’m looking at agents and publishers who accept submissions direct. I’m prepared for rejections. I keep telling myself that I am, anyway!
I’m going into hospital for a big op this month and I’ll be forced into inactivity for a couple of months afterwards. I’m going to use the time to bash out draft one of novel 2 and to submit novel 1 in a methodical manner without taking rejections to heart
Here’s hoping that the op goes well, the writing goes well and the submissions go well. I’ll be back to let you know.