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I've been racing around the internet stalking uh researching agents. So many lovely looking people out there with their blogs and their twitter thingies (I'm still not quite there with twitter) and their lists of phenomenal authors -- it takes ages to read it all and I keep getting drawn in and spending a day reading the blog (which is great -- I've learned a lot -- but it means I'm NOT WRITING -- aaaargh!).

I feel like I need to do lots of loin girding (and cake eating) with this process. I'm planning to attack groups of ten -- so query ten, take a break, redo the query/ opening chapters/ whatever people have seen -- and then submit to another ten. Grim perserverence looks like being the key here. I fear the cake means I will gain a lot of weight too, but some things need to be sacrificed for Art.

Of the first four I queried, I got two form rejections and one request for the ms -- the fourth hasn't replied (yet?). Cross fingers.

Although I didn't think it would bother me when I started, and I appreciate the hideous effect it has on agents' lives, I really like agents who respond. "If you haven't heard from us within eight weeks, you should assume we have decided to pass on your project." is fair enough, but it's surprisingly demoralising. It's good to know whether or not people are interested, and so many of them are really fast -- the rejections took 3 days and 7 days, and the request for the full took one day (I queried on the Sunday and got asked for the ms on the Monday). Sadly, the full request also led to a rejection -- but it only took two days to come, so I hadn't consumed so much cake that I was unable to walk. Not... quite...

Anyway, I'm off to draw little hearts around the names of my next couple of targets... Muhahahahahahaa!


I sent my story off at the end of April, and I'm writing another now. I seem to stall when I'm about two thirds of the way through (not just this time -- both previous times too) -- I have no idea why. I know how it ends, I just can't quite get the shape right in my head.

I need to stop worrying and WRITE THE DAMN THING.

(and not mess around on the internet)


Well, it's been a while.

Let's see... I finished my story. And then I finished it again (repeat x 25 or so) and now I'm just doing one little tiny rewrite before I finish it again, only this time when it's finished I'm sending it to Strange Chemistry's Open Door (which is at the end of April so I really need to get going).

I've written a couple of short stories and they even got published. One of them in an anthology called Fat Girl in a Strange Land, which got reviews! The other (my favourite) was published in On The Premises here: The Blue Hill.

And we now have two boys. S is 5 and E is 2. So I've been busy.

I've been thinking about this for a while but it has to be Monday, of course, work day (in theory) for me to write it since today I have *all* day in an office (even if it's a round office). So I read the Stephanie Meyer highschool vampire romance books which are currently so famous and coming out as a film (doing so well that my mother's book club had them cheap, which is where I got them from). And I wrote really well all the time I was reading them because, well, I know they're great and popular and everything, but they were fairly simply written and they didn't intimidate me.

So I finish number 3 and - taking a break - I pick up Carol Berg's "Transformation" and am totally incapacitated. Where does a book like that come from? I spent two evenings reading it (and not speaking to anyone) and I couldn't write anything because I was so intimidated by the density and how much she made me *care*. I cried. Real crying, with sobs. And then I stopped and wondered how she did it, and if I could.

Thankfully - in one sense anyway - I'm not so overwhelmed by "Revelation", the second in the trilogy. It's still great, but I don't have to read it all the time and I can, just about, write.

After weeks and weeks of writing easily, I'm teetering on the edge of one of those loss-of-faith periods, I can feel it coming. Do I blame "Transformation" or do I admit it was probably on its way anyway? 



Do you have to be frightened when you're writing scary bits? I'm completely pathetic - really easily frightened. So if I write a scary bit that doesn't frighten me, is it likely to frighten anyone else? I think I've answered my own question, really.



I cut S's hair at last. All his lovely little whispy curls are gone and I feel... well, fine actually. R almost stopped speaking to me (even though I did it all the consultative way and discussed it and everything, so he really has no excuse). R doesn't seem to cope well with haircuts. He almost divorced me when I got mine cut - it was very traumatic. Anyhow S's is a little uneven at the back but since I cut his hair by putting it into a pony tail and then hacking at it with nail scissors, I think we're pretty lucky it looks even vaguely respectable.

I'm writing I'm writing and about halfway through this version, although a lot of the re-write was necessary for the earlier bits it won't be so necessary for the later stuff where the story wanders off to another environment. Seems no matter how much time I spend tracking down and tying up loose ends, they still appear everywhere.

And have been reading the Stephanie Meyer books because - well, vampire high school romance, and I loved Buffy so much. And yes - involved. And keen to see the film. But I should probably read Proust or something now, just to balance the fluff (ppffff as if).

Oh, which reminds me, apparently people lie about the books they've read. How bizarre that top of the list is 1984 -- it's not even a long or scary book (unlike, well, Ulysses).  And it is one that I've read. Unlike War and Peace (which I really should have read and most people I talk to assume that I've read...) , and I've read some of the Bible and almost all of Midnight's Children er and I believe I've passed a Brief History of Time on the bookshelf in the house and someone once lent me The Selfish Gene... Nice that people still think that reading those books is impressive enough to lie about, though. Even if they haven't read them.


I have a dentist appointment and I'm scared.

I've never had the best of teeth (snaggle-toothed is a term I think of as my own) but they've been OK for the last few years. Falling asleep with toddler, waking at 2am to brush my teeth, though - that can't have been good for them.

Normally my dentist is gently encouraging but today, I'm afraid, he's going to disapprove of me. And it might hurt.

Also I have chewed right through my gumshield. Again. I keep waking up with my mouth full of bits of jagged plastic.

Edited to say: woo hoo! Clearly brushing teeth *very*carefully this morning was enough to avert catastrophe.


so so very tired...

need to sleep... bad bad combination of book-I-can't-stop-reading, even after midnight ("Breath and Bone") and a toddler who HAS TO get up at 6am.

And I only have myself to blame.

(I did it last week too with The Interpretation of Murder, which was *another* book I really enjoyed).


I've rediscovered music. Honestly, I didn't notice that I'd lost it until I heard (murmur mutter lionel ritchie's dancing on the ceiling)on the radio. How embarrassing. But it got me thinking and, well, jigging around the kitchen in a slightly unbalanced sort of way. So now I am listening to music at work. Yey.

The writing is progressing. After slogging painfully (oh it was SO painful) through about half a chapter that took eons and which I couldn't get to flow no matter what I did, things are now working better. I can at least edit and decide which of the bits that seem like the characters are just hanging around waiting for something to happen are useful (just boring) and which are there because I was hanging around and waiting for something to happen and which therefore need to be ruthlessly deleted.

I just read Flesh and Spirit by Carol Berg. I'd bought it because, ahem, I liked the picture on the cover and sometimes random purchases like that pay off (sometimes they don't - By These Ten Bones being the other book I did that with recently. Yerg. Though, even reading them afterwards, I really enjoyed Clare Dunkel's goblin books so maybe it did sort of work out). Anyway, the Flesh and Spirit central character, Valen, is packed so full of personality and issues and interesting things that he practically bursts. Which, naturally, makes me worry that my character isn't. And she's not - but is that OK? Do you need to have a really really strong central character for a story to work? If you don't are you laying yourself open to criticisms of your character being wooden or unrealistic? (Like, I seem to recall, the main character in Never Let Me Go is, although I didn't think so). I do need to think about her some more, I do need to bring out what she's like some more, but I haven't decided how much yet (unfocused rant, or what?).

Quick quick baby update: he's getting sweeter all the time (again! More!). We went brambling yesterday (impressive in mid-November - we didn't plan to, we just found them) and he ate an amazing number of them. He has these little whispy blond curls that I can't bring myself to cut off, even though my father keeps insisting that they make him look like a girl (well, I think he said that once, out of ear-shot, about six months ago). Oh the cuteness.

Anyway, I must go home. The office is finally quiet(ish) and everyone else has gone home. At ten past five - how shocking.

In the attic

For reasons too boring to go into I was in the attic yesterday, trying to clear a little space. We keep (it emerges) all sorts of junk, including empty cardboard boxes and what looks like the contents of the bin from the last person who lived with us (and she left about 7 years ago). Anyway, at the back of a heap of boxes full of books, and a bin bag with a duvet in it, and a 5' tall inflatable alien, I found an old photograph album. In it there was a picture that must have been taken 17 years ago (!) in Turkey of me and another 6 people in the back of a car (yes, it is possible, and also probably illegal even in Turkey in 1991). Being completely egocentric the thing that struck me about the picture was, well, me. Plus I'm right in the middle of the photograph. I'm all blonde and flushed and blue-eyed.* It's weird. I never thought I was attractive at the time (as far as I recall) but, looking at that picture, I really was. Sigh. I hoped this wouldn't happen until I was well into my 60s, looking at pictures of my younger self and going "ooh! I was so lovely!". For a number of reasons.

* my eyes aren't actually blue, but well, green-blue eyed sort of. Brightly coloured anyway (and not red).