Monday, 21 January 2008

That's more like it!

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!

8 comments:

Rachel said...

Yep, India. Done that. Which is a huge relief as I pressed 'send' last week. Am still shaky and feeling a bit sick when I think of it though!
'Chapter 1 and a synopsis' was beginning to take over my life, reading, printing, rereading and generally obsessing. It just HAD to go before I went completely mad!Just hope I haven't bogged anything up too badly.
Well done on the bedrooms though. Did something similar before Christmas: THREE storage boxes of horses alone and that doesn't include the cuddly ones. She can't help herself hoarding, it's genetic I'm told (wot, moi?).
Hope they stay tidier longer than mine!
Love,
Rach.
XXXX

Kate Hewitt said...

Congratulations on the latest book, India. What a lovely relief. Funnily enough, I'm tackling the children's bedrooms as well and trying to be coldhearted about throwing things away. The trouble is, you never know when they might want to play with that headless Polly Pocket or puzzle minus 4 pieces...

India said...

HURRAH! for pressing 'send' Rach. (It only takes the slightest movement of a finger, but it makes a whole Pilates class seem easy in comparison.) So great to know that your hard work is in Richmond and possibly being looked at right now!! How's the garage roof situation?

Kate, it's the soft toys that I find so difficult to get rid of. You can't consign something to landfill if it has a NAME...
(Have to confess I take sadistic delight in chucking Polly Pocket's accessories away. That woman has far too many teeny weeny shoes and handbags for my liking.)

Rachel said...

Dear India,
there is builder dismantling it right now! The lippy paid off and my nice builder friend down the road is arranging all sorts of things construction wise. It's all very exciting, lots of 'cash', nods and winks. Have stocked up with Somerfield biscuit selections and granulated sugar. Himself has removed his shiny new car to a mates house(him of little faith) and I'm quickly doing the Sainsburys on line stuff before the power goes off. Am VERY nervous about the NTL box though. If it gets trashed, no broadband and WORSE(for His Nibs), no TV. Keep your fingers crossed!
Love,
Rach.(site manager)
XX
P.s Before you ask, the builders are NOT Modern Extra material, more Aufwiedersehen Pet.

Michelle Styles said...

Hooray on your latest book!!!!!
Not that I am surprised though...

LOL on taking sadistic pleasure in getting rid of Polly Pocket, I know the feeling. And I am afraid the attic here is rather stacked with old beloved stuffed animals, brio train sets and tons and tons of duplo...

Kate Hewitt said...

Oh yes, the shoes and hats and purses and little hangers all get binned right away! Same with Barbie.

India said...

Blimey Rach, it all sounds a bit Armageddon-esque. Think you'd better leave the burly builders to their Somerfield biscuits and get round here with Daniel. Again.

Polly Pocket is a toy that seems designed to mock us mothers, with her extensive wardrobe of tiny-waisted clothes and matching handbags. (And all in rubber-- who came up with such an idea? A man, obviously...) I wholeheartedly agree with keeping Brio and Duplo though Michelle-- much more wholesome and worth saving for the future!

Kate-- and they all seem to have microscopic mobile phones now too. Luckily these are small enough to disappear up the hoover quite easily...

Marcy said...

Still plodding away on the first chapter...changing and changing again...but's all good progress and is making the story that much better and helping me to understand my characters. Here's hoping my story is a fit for Presents/Modern Heat!

Marcy