Saturday, 8 September 2012

Manuscript feedback, routines and resolutions

Morning folks, its little old me again! This morning I was woken by the sounds of hammering on the front door – husband shot out of bed and came back to the bedroom with … my manuscript fresh from RNA NWS. OMG! I hadn’t expected to see it for another five weeks. As you can imagine I tore open the jiffy bag and grabbed for the report. A three page report much longer than I had expected and then I silence descended as I devoured every word. Hubby sat watching, holding his breathe I think, not daring to ask a question. My first comment was ‘yep- I’m happy with that’ I think the poor bloke was relieved that he hadn’t had a duty of consoling a weeping author first thing on a Saturday morning. I can honestly say I am pleased with the feedback, there is a balance of negative and positive – though I feel the pluses far out way the negatives. Comments such as ‘the manuscript shows this is a good writer’ (blush) ‘very readable style of writing’ (blush again) ‘good pace throughout’ – a huge sigh of relief as I was on tenterhooks about that one. My synopsis wasn’t as polished or structured as they’d have liked and there were typos towards the end of the manuscript but hey, I can’t get right first time, can I? Anyway, having read the report twice I have decided to put the manuscript aside for another few weeks, which was my original plan if it hadn’t been returned until October. I will then begin addressing the negatives and my goal is to send out the first three chapters and a new structured synopsis first week in January 2013. Between then and now, I have a weeks holiday in October and two weeks at Christmas to dedicate to polishing and preparing it. In the meantime I will continue with my new project as my ideas need capturing before they dissolve.

So, my morning started with the very best of starts. I needed to free my head of the feedback report and focus on my current project so took the dog for an early weekend trek, which given the glorious weather, was a treat in itself. It is amazing how such a simple task as walking in silence allows the mind to wander and conjure the answer to every creative question. I’ve arrived home realizing that I’ve written the wrong setting for chapter three and that I should write chapter four from a different slant which can introduce the hero. God only knows what the dog thinks about when we’re walking – but I bet his pooch manuscripts coming along just great. OMG! Oh,oh,oh sorry, I literally had to leave typing this blog and make some notes as a great idea just came to me… someone is smiling down at me that’s for sure, I’m like a creative melting pot at the minute,  every thing I see provides another plotline or character. I’ve got more ideas than I can feasible write. I am not complaining, believe me, but how can I fit it all in? The most I can do is keep writing them down and adding bits as they each merge and form - other than that they will have to form an orderly line and patiently queue.

On today’s walk I also took photographs of certain houses which I imagine my characters living in – I shall stick those into my manuscript book later. Lordy, what strange looks a woman gets simply taking a photograph in a residential area – didn’t put me off taking it though.

I returned to school this week – so have had a huge change about in routine. If I’m honest I do look forward to settling back into a daily routine for the autumn/winter months. It’s like New Year resolutions time and I make the most of setting up new habits that enable me to juggle life, school and writing work. As I’ve mentioned before, I now have my own classroom and boy, what a difference it has made. No more dashing from classroom to classroom, dragging piles of books only to find a bomb site of a classroom. Oh no, my room is by far the cleanest in the entire school and I’ve made the most of it by taking anything and everything that I need for my study and my writing.

As a writer/teacher one annual treat for me is the class registers which provide a wealth of new and unusual names from which I can pick and note details. I have to say every year there is something I’ve never heard of or thought of – such a great resource, but shhhh don’t dob me in.  

Last night, in the name of research I baked yet another cake – coffee and walnut from the ingredients that remained after last week. I remembered to leave the butter out this week so creaming it with sugar was so much easier. And this week, hubby won’t be putting it in the fridge to keep fresh which made the butter cream harden on last weeks.

My plans for the rest of the day are: an hour or so of degree study for a children’s literature course – this week I’ve completed all my study at work, which has worked out well – next week I am ‘plot planning’ at lunchtime. Afterwards I shall be at my desk working on the ‘Weigh’ which as always will be interspersed with washing/drying clothes and general family tasks. As ever I’ll be writing in allotted time gaps with the kitchen timer counting every minute of progress. It sounds crazy doesn’t it, but I’ve now found my system for working and I’m sticking to it – it is so psychological it is frightening but hey, it works for me. Writers amongst you are all nodding, non-writing folk probably have a puzzled expression but hear me out, we all get to the finish line in different ways, some more crazier than others. I’m told that Carole Matthews originally started by tying her own leg to the desk as a physical reminder and restraint till her allotted writing was complete – it worked for her!

I've had a 'spring clean' of the blog panels just to spruce it up a little. I've added a list of authors' blogs that I regularly follow and read - please take a look and spread the word.

Finally before I say bye - I'm still reading Dan Brown's 'The Lost Symbol' - oh what a read, I love it. I had to get out of bed just before midnight on Tuesday, grab my Ipad and start searching for a particular painting mentioned just because I had to see the mystery detail... hubby laughed his socks off but it had to be done.
Remember you can follow me on Twitter @odwyer_author to receive random updates throughout my creative week. I’ve had a huge increase in followers over recent weeks and the traffic to this blog humbles me beyond belief, it honestly does. Enjoy

1 comment:

Bridget Whelan said...

Hadn't heard that one about Carole Matthews tying her leg to the desk...might try it. Have heard Fay Weldon say that her style of short sentences developed because she always being interrupted. Good to hear you found the feedback from NWS so useful I'm going to be writing about it and romance writing in the December issue of a creative writing magazine and they need the copy, now.