Have finally managed to shake off my apathy and am belatedly experiencing the traditional January compulsion to re-organise everything in sight, so spent the entire weekend sorting out the children’s bedrooms. It’s not a task for the faint hearted, but on Friday I heard from my editor that she loves the book, which gave me a fleeting feeling of being able to take on the world.
But the world is one thing. My daughters bedrooms, alas, are in a whole different league.
The process started off with me striding up and down the landing from room to room like some pompous sergeant major, ordering them to get rid of anything that no longer fitted, worked or was part of a complete set. After something of a slow start they suddenly seemed to embrace the concept of minimalism enthusiastically, and carrier bags filled with the flotsam and jetsam of their childhoods were soon piling up alarmingly outside each bedroom door. Heartbreaking! Their determination to achieve a state of zen-like, clutter-free bliss was matched by my own increasing sentimental attachment to every familiar jigsaw and shapeless furry animal of indeterminate species that they’d discarded. Children can be so callous. Now they’re safely back at school I shall have to spend the morning cunningly sneaking everything back to where it belongs.
Anyway, I’m also aware that the deadline for the Instant Seduction competition on iheartpresents is looming, and I’m supposed to be running a bit of a coaching boot camp.
So—with just 3 weeks to go, how is everyone doing? By now I hope that...
♥ first drafts of first chapters are done. Have you started at the right place in the story? Have you got your hero and heroine onto the page together as soon as possible? Have you ended on a note that’s going to make the reader desperate to know what comes next? If the answer to any of these is no, don’t worry! As long as you have A Chapter, you still have plenty of time to fine-tune!
♥ you have a sketchy first draft of the synopsis. This needs to cover the main developments of the story in a clear and concise way, explaining some of the motivation behind them. At this stage it’s important to keep it to the bare bones of ‘what happens’ and to show the turning points for the characters, and the emotional development they undergo as the story progresses. You may have some lovely ideas for a great scene in chapter 8, but this is not the right time to air them! Once you’re happy with the chapter you’ve written you can polish your synopsis too, so that it’s a great advertisement for your story, and a clear sounding board for your Voice.
It's all rather exciting. Make sure you print everything out and read it carefully on paper before submitting-- it's surprising what a different perspective it gives you from reading on the screen, and how many typing errors leap out at you that way (or is that just me?!) Hope it's all going well... I'd love to hear how you're doing!