Sunday, 27 April 2008


I emailed the editor at the literary agent, as promised, with news of my writing, with the synopses of the current novel and its sequel. I thought I could then forget about this for the rest of the weekend, but she emailed back within ten minutes and asked for the first three chapters of the current novel. She's working the weekend in preparation for an editorial meeting with her boss tomorrow at which she's expected to produce the Hot List for potential new clients.

Dilemma. Did I send her the requested chapters, given that I had not read them back myself let alone solicited feedback from others? Or did I hold out and run the risk of her attention moving elsewhere? In the end, I bit the bullet and read the three chapters, made some cosmetic changes and sent them to her with the caveat that it was a first draft and needed further work. In one sense, it doesn't matter because a) she is not my preferred agent and b) I have reached the point, albeit cautious, with this ms where I feel I know what I'm trying to achieve and that I will get there in time. The biggest threat is always to my confidence but I feel I've achieved a degree of equilibrium with this story which will take some shaking. Not to say I'm not open to being told it needs work - I am. But a lukewarm reception at this stage, to a first draft, will not of necessity halt me in my tracks.

In other news, my most recent flash, Waiting, Wandsworth 1879, which met with almost unanimous silence over at my livejournal and with a stunned 'Brilliant but horrid' over at WriteWords was read by a published author who PM'd me to say how good it was. This is a published crime author, someone whose work I admire very much. Emailing me to say, "You've written one of the best crime stories I've read. Never mind it's 250 words instead of 90,000, it has it all. Plot. Motive. Character. Consequences. The way you unfold the action shows a mastery of the mechanics of the genre and you play each reveal like an ace. Astounding."

I was bowled over by this, as you may imagine. Not least because it repaid my faith in this particular flash. I knew lots of readers wouldn't like it, because of the subject matter, but I felt it came out just right. I may enter it in next year's Fish Historical Crime Contest.

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