I was very excited yesterday when another heavy, fat brown parcel arrived at my door from Hachette – the latest version of my manuscript with copy editing notes. I immediately opened it to find my manuscript, notes from the editors, and a guide to the copyediting symbols to help me decipher the notes!
Unlike the structural edit, which looked at big picture issues around my plot and characters, the copy edit is a detailed look at the finer points: sentence structure, grammar, punctuation, points of view, and a closer look at the text in terms of consistency.
While it looked incredibly daunting last night when I began to flick through the wad of pages, I can see that many of the hundreds of pencil marks relate to really simple things that I am happy to change. There are a few details to add and more to check, but overall, it’s not a rewrite on the same way as a structural edit and I ho pe to tackle this page by page, paragraph by paragraph.
It’s another stage in the development of a novel, a stage that I am privileged to be at. With each step along the way, I can see the book evolving into the version that will be on the shelves (or virtual shelves for the e-book!) in March 2013.
I’ll also have a new website up soon.
Now I just need my three little ones to sleep so I can start editing!
Read Full Post »
This morning, I met with Matt Richell, the Sales & Marketing Director from Hodder and Headline (Hachette) while he was in Perth for a few days. We discussed books and publishing in general, and of course, my novel.
It sometimes feels that Perth is quite isolated form the publishing world, given that most of the major publishers, literary agents, writers’ festivals etc are based on the East Coast of Australia, although I do wonder if that sense of isolation is common to all writers. While I enjoy the solitary nature of writing, I also love to talk about books, and am really excited to be given access to the publishing world, full of people who are as passionate about stories and writing as I am.
Matt did give me one piece of advice (well, he gave me lots of advice but this piece stuck): celebrate each stage of the process. And I do.
When I started writing ‘Fractured’, the idea of it ever being published was something that seemed so distant and unlikely. Now I am actually going through the process of structural edits, copy edits, proofs, cover design…all those things are real and no longer mysterious processes. I still feel incredibly privileged to have a team of professionals working on the book with me and I’m really excited to see what the next few months hold as publication gets closer.
Read Full Post »
…the contract for my first novel to be published!
I’ve been very quiet here recently, that’s because there’s been a lot going on behind the scenes. I’m thrilled to announce at last that my novel (provisionally titled ‘That Day’, but it may well change) will be published by Hachette Australia in early 2013.
I found out a couple of weeks ago that Hachette Australia wanted to make an offer, and the discussions around accepting that offer were taking place between myself, the publisher, and my agent while I was at — of all places — the zoo! So, in between the noises of lions roaring (literally – they were being fed or something) and monkeys hooting, I verbally accepted the offer and in the last couple of weeks the contract was drawn up and signed.
I’m very excited, even about the prospect of working on the novel again with professional editors, and seeing every stage of the process that turns a manuscript into a real book on the shelves. I’m also anxious about the fact that it is really happening, and that people will read and have an opinion on my novel. 2013 seems like a long way away, but I’m sure the time will go very quickly and I’ll be very busy.
For the moment though, I’m just enjoying the champagne…
Read Full Post »
I have been quiet on this blog recently, and that is because I have been trying to finish my novel. When I attended the Hachette/Queensland Writers Centre manuscript development programme in November last year (see here for my post about this), I was lucky enough to be given feedback on the 2nd draft of my novel by a publisher. A literary agent and successful author also saw the first 50 pages of my book and gave me some more excellent feedback.
Since that programme, I have been trying to work through the whole manuscript again to a level where I feel happy to resubmit it. It has been difficult to find the time, but in the last couple of months I have written early in the morning, and in the evening in an effort to get this done. It’s not really a chore: I love the time I spend writing, and I love the feeling that each line I edit improves my manuscript.
About ten minutes ago, I wrote ‘The End’ on this third draft. A great feeling, but one that leaves me feeling a bit uneasy and uncomfortable. As a writer, when do you know when to stop? I feel that I could keep redrafting this again and again ad infinitum, but I also know that I am getting to the point where I am losing objectivity. I know the story so well, and the characters, that I am filling in the blanks that may or may not be on the page. I find it hard to read it as a reader would, because I know what I’m trying to say.
I am also impatient. I started this book almost two years ago, when my first child was a few months old: she is two next week. I want to put it out there, to take the risk and hope that I can secure an agent and publisher for it. But I know as a writer that it’s important to wait, to put it away for a while, then look again. To resist firing off an email, attaching the document and pressing ‘send’. You don’t get multiple attempts at submitting your manuscript. I want to make the most of this opportunity.
So I will not press ‘send’ yet. I will print it out again, and I will wait a few days and read it again from the beginning. There are 20000 new words in this draft, so I need to read it again and see if they are meant to stay. Then I will send it to two trusted readers and wait for their feedback. And then I will go through it all again, and by July, I will attach the document to an email and I will send it out there.
I would love to hear from other writers and how they knew that it was finally good enough to call ‘finished’…
Read Full Post »
I got back yesterday from the QWC/Hachette Manuscript Development Program which was held in Brisbane. It was a very intense experience, and one of my fellow retreaters, Rebecca Freeborn, has written a post on her blog about the details.
One of the main highlights of the program for me was the opportunity to have time with publisher Vanessa Radnidge from Hachette Australia, who had read my full manuscript. Getting feedback from someone in the industry was absolutely fantastic. I also had feedback from two other industry professionals who had read the first 50 pages of my manuscript: author Kim Wilkins, and literary agent Benython Oldfield from Zeitgeist Media Group.
One theme that came up for me was that the subject matter of my novel may be too difficult to get published as it is confronting and sad. That’s not to say it’s impossible of course, but it may be a challenge. In one discussion, I was asked to think about potentially changing my story so that there is a different outcome for one of characters which would make the novel have a happier ending. This is something I’ve thought long and hard about. It would change much of the second half of my novel, which in a selfish way means a lot more work. I also worry that in doing so, I collude with society in avoiding talking about the potential tragedies of mental illness.
However, if it makes my work more palatable to publishers, is it worth it if it allows me to bring up the issues of perinatal mental health issues and start a conversation about them? It has certainly given me something to think about. For now, I will continue editing the first half and backstory of my novel and let my subconscious work through it.
The other highlight for me was meeting six other writers at the same stage of their careers as me, and hearing readings from each of their work. While we are all writing quite different manuscripts, I was amazed by the quality of their work, and was proud to be sitting amongst them. It gave me a real sense of validation as an emerging writer. So thanks to Rebecca, Rebekah, Charlotte, Heather, Alison and Darryl (as well as, of course, Queensland Writers Centre, Hachette, and the individuals who gave up their time to work with us.)
The challenge now is to keep that momentum and inspiration going. I have given myself an absolute deadline of 6 months to have the manuscript redrafted and polished, ready to resubmit. And there’s nothing like a deadline to make me work.
Read Full Post »
Posted in Hachette/QWC manuscript development, Pregnancy, Writing, tagged competition, Hachette, novel, psychiatry, publishing, Queensland Writers Centre, Writing on August 29, 2010|
4 Comments »
This post is not strictly to do with my parenting experiences, but I wanted to share my delight anyway. About a year ago, I started writing a novel with the support of Queensland Writers’ Centre’s Year of the Novel programme.
It is in its third draft now. I recently entered the Hachette/QWC competition and found out a few days ago that my manuscript has been longlisted! As usual, timing couldn’t have been worse: I had 48 hours to submit my full manuscript to them to be forwarded to the publishers, and this happened on the day that we were moving house. I had edited about half of the manuscript, and had no time to do anything other than tidy it all up, so I am not happy with my middle section, so I don’t hold out much hope of being shortlisted, but I am very excited that I managed to finish a novel, and that a panel thought that it showed enough promise to be longlisted.
I was subsequently chosen to participate in the retreat – read about this here.
Read Full Post »