Diary Entry 4: September/October

If you’re just joining this diary, parts 1, 2 and 3 for your reading pleasure/torture!

Also, would like to say a huge thanks to the 25 of you who read this blog – it’s so amazing to know others are reading and supporting me as I trudge through the swampy desert of the writing world and try to focus on my own process, as much as I always have on others.

I hope that one day, these exchanges might prove useful to some of you in terms of seeing the development of a novel through the various stages and also how much having someone else looking at your work (who does not share your DNA or bed) coldly and objectively, and giving you honest feedback.

There’s no course or programme out there that will help improve your writing like finding a GOOD CP or mentor who will sit with you each month and really dig into your book with you.

So, onto Sept and October…

So, we had a good long chat about the book over Zoom – it’s actually really good sometimes to have a conversation if possible with something who critiques your work as the ability to exchange ideas and discuss things does shape how you might suggest improvements.

And the result of our discussion forced me to really focus upon the HEART OF THE STORY!

It’s so easy to veer from that, but having someone look you in the eye, and say: what is the most important thing here – is it the explosions and magic swords and aliens, or is it about a girl trying to find her place in the universe? (sorry, crappily vague need!)

STOP>COLLABERATE and LISTEN>KILL YOUR DARLINGS, RIGHT THIS SECOND!

And that takes us up to the End of October…

Not sure if you’re following this whole exchange, and finding it interesting, boring or not – do let me know if it’s useful to read. I’ll keep going anyway, but there’s a small part of me that wants someone out there to relate to the troubles I’m struggling with, and to take solace from the fact that I’m on draft 10 million of the opening 3 chapters!

I *think* I’m still on course for an end of year finish to this book – I’ve got a lot of work to do in some areas, but less in others.

As you can see from the emails, I think I’m going to enter it into the Bath CNA in a few weeks – it’s a tough competition, so the hope is not really there for much, but I’m also a huge advocate of always just putting yourself out there; regret the things you have done, rather than the things you haven’t kind of guy.

It’s looking, at the moment, like a 50k+ teen sci-fi, which is okay and not too long or short for that age range, but I am constantly niggled at the moment with the feeling that I will get the inevitable (I’m not sure where I’d place this in the bookshelf!) reaction from agents when I send it.

We’ve seen a boom in Sci-Fi on screen, with movies and series on Netflix and Amazon really increasing in number and popularity, and I hope that we can see this in books, too.

For so long, I’ve seen agents wishlists consists of MG and YA and in all genres, except Sci-Fi. Genuinely I think it must be the most excluded genre on wishlists and I think young readers really do want these kinds of books – I’m not saying this book or my books, necessarily, but wouldn’t that be cool?

Oh, and on that note, if anyone knows any agents who are specifically looking for teen sci-fi, then do let me know – a wee DM on Twitter, or a reply on here or whatever! Would be much appreciated!

May the Force be with all of you,

Stuart

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