The wait for the editor’s report goes on… It’s slightly complicated in that a third party arranged the report on my behalf, but pretty frustrating all the same. In the meantime, I can’t really face working on the other novel until I know exactly what’s happening with the editing report, so I’ve been concentrating on writing about my student days at Dartington College of Arts, Totnes, Devon, where I once studied piano and composition.
I’m still waiting for the editing report on my first novel, a psychological thriller set in the English countryside. That’s one of the things in trying to get a book published – you end up spending ages waiting each step of the way. For me, the waiting is the worst bit. It feels long and drawn out, and I tend to get impatient and worry about what might happen next.
In the meantime, without having a definite time frame to work in, I don’t think I can continue with the most recent novel (another psychological thriller set near the Dorset coast), so I’ve made extensive backup copies of the first fourteen chapters and hope to return to the story sometime next year. I’m working on something entirely different while I wait for the editor’s report – my student days at Dartington College of Arts in Totnes, Devon, where I studied music and classical piano.
I’m also spending a lot of time at the piano, playing works by Beethoven, Chopin, Grieg and Liszt.
The editing report on my first novel has been delayed until the end of the week, so I’ll have to wait a bit longer. At the moment, I’m taking a few days off writing and enjoying reading.
Creative writing tutors and members of writing groups often warn against using clichés, partly because relying on clichés is seen as laziness on the part of the writer. One of the most common clichés is “cool as a cucumber”, a description of someone’s calm reaction to an unexpected event or news of one.
At my last meeting with the local novelist group, one of the members advised me to watch out for my own personal clichés. She was referring not to actual clichés (like “cool as a cucumber”) but to phrases and ideas I tend to overuse. For instance, the central character of the novel sensing someone watching, lights in a house mysteriously going off or coming on. Old ideas that appear in all my writing.
The challenge now is to create new ideas and tighten up the plot.
The editor’s report on my first novel will be available at the beginning of next week. Apparently, it is common practice now in the UK for a writer to pay for an editor’s report before most agents will even consider taking on a new writer. On a positive note, however, agents generally don’t tell writers to seek editorial help unless they think the story in question shows promise.
Meanwhile, I met with the local novelist group for my first feedback session on my current novel, a psychological thriller dealing with repressed memories and flashbacks. The members of the group think my writing has improved substantially, especially in connection to scene setting, but feel there are fundamental problems with the plot, character interactions and overall structure. Too many names of places and people too early on. One member, in particular, thought I was concentrating too much on creating suspense.
So it’s back to the basics of plot and structure.