Friday, 11 February 2011

Green for Go

Before I was signed by Jane Gregory, just before Christmas, I'd been casting around for writing tasks to keep myself busy and distract me from the worry of waiting to hear whether this time I'd done it, written something really good. Now all that casting is coming back to me, in the form of requests and offers to take on writing tasks, large and small. Given that the rewritten crime novel is going back to my editor mid-March (and given there are no guarantees in this world), I can and should pursue some of these offers. But how to prioritise?

a) The money-makers?
b) The ones that might raise my profile in the right places?
c) The ones I can't resist and would enjoy?

Logic says a). Ambition says b). My heart says c).

Although a bit of my heart also says b) because I've been wanting this for so long it's an emotional as much as a rational sensation. In the next week or so, I must make decisions and prioritise. This will mean saying No to some people, which I hate doing. But I don't want to keep anyone hanging on, because it's unfair and unprofessional. I know, I should be so lucky to be in this situation, right? But remember, no guarantees. I'm not 'there' yet.

As far as the novel goes, I've also been prevaricating, but only in one regard. I have a character who, like all my characters, consists of layers and shades. This character might be ninety per cent decent, ten per cent rotten. Or the balance might be skewed slightly further the other way. I've been putting off deciding, because I love ambiguity and I also have a soft spot for a rotter. But this morning I decided which side to come down on, for the reader's sake. Because ambiguity is all very well, but clarity is the order of the day when you've reached the last dozen pages of the book. I won't tell you which side I came down on, but a decision was taken. Now I have to follow it through and smooth out all the places where it was unclear, polishing until I'm done.

Then there's the chapter told out of chronological order, which might work better if it's put into chronological order (or it might not). I'm going to cut and paste that into a new document and play with the ordering, see what shakes out. And then - and then! I might be close to being ready to print it out for the next full read-through.


Vanessa Gebbie said...

It is so exciting - but brings challenges as well.. and saying 'no' is one of them... I haven't quite learned it yet! But doing a mix of things you love doing and working with those who show respect, professionally - is a good starter...

enjoy it all. I want a signed hardback please!

Sarah Hilary said...

Thanks, V, that's good advice. I got a sneak peek at your cover via Tania earlier this week - so very very good. Love the "woodcut" feel and the colours, just perfect.

I'll swap you a signed copy for one of yours!!

Vanessa Gebbie said...

Heee! so glad you like it too!

Rebecca Bradley said...

What an exciting time for you. Wishing you lots of luck with the edits.

Sarah Hilary said...

Thanks, Rebecca, that's very kind of you.

NikkiF said...

Raising your profile could also be considered a long-term moneymaker - but having said that, I would also go for a mix. For the things you would particularly enjoy, is it worth asking if the dates could be shifted, so you can still do them all, just over a longer period of time?

Good luck with that editing process. :)

Sarah Hilary said...

Thanks, Nikki! I'm just back from the brief holiday and the "final" read-through the novel is done and dusted. Now to get the changes typed and up, and send it back to the agent.