First off, anybody know which band I have ripped off for the title of this weeks blog? For those of an inquisitive nature you can find the answer here. So, as the eagle eyed of you will have spotted, last week I finished the first draft. A bit of a weird moment I can tell you. To go from writing something to having written something is a big psychological step. Still no time for backslapping and garlands. Next day I started on the second draft and adding some much needed punctuation. I can already see that some sections will need to be rewritten, especially the last chapter as I sense I have fallen into the trap that many authors do, closing down the story too quickly, impatient to get it finished. But that is to come, first I have to audit and review what is already there. To do that I have given myself the following criteria.
Grammar and punctuation – this also includes synonyms, repetition and the vexed issue of keeping it in the present tense.
Dialogue – flow, structure and fit with the character.
Character – consistency, development and credibility.
Plot – pace, credibility, development etc.
Jokes and exposition – more of one, less of the other, or vice versa.
I have also sent the draft to my key followers with a plea for comment, not so much on the minutia of spelling and commas, but rather on the broader issues of plot, characters and basic enjoyment of reading the story.
The other major development, is starting the quest to find and agent to represent me and my book. Why do you need an agent, why not go direct or self-publish? All very good questions, the answers to which are well explained here. So to find out more and to give the management and myself an excuse to go to our favourite restaurant, I have signed up for a Guardian Masterclass workshop. My reasons for going, apart from having a day out in London, are about how to find the right agent for the genre of book I am writing, how to approach an agent with the right pitch and generally learn anything that gives me an advantage. As part of the course, they ask you to writ an elevator pitch for the book. This is the sort of thing you read on the back cover and is designed to inform, entice and tease in equal measures. I have made an attempt, and you can find it here. I will report back about how it went and what I learnt.
See you next week.