I am still wading through the quagmire of story, still in the wilderness trying to hack back the undergrowth with a blunt machete to find my way.
I am sorry if that makes my posts a bit samey. It is making my life a bit samey too: like a video on loop. I keep returning to the same sentences, changing them, then rereading them and changing them again. You see, I have to sound like a twelve-year old boy and the prolix middle-aged woman keeps on sneaking out through inappropriate qualifiers, peeping out through syntax that ought to have died with the Edwardians. She is a pain this middle aged woman. She will keep mucking up the flow of the story with random passages of overwritten prose. Then when I walk away from my desk, make yet another hot beverage I take pity on her. She’s doing her best, not everything she does is dreadful, she’s just out of touch. Oh shit! She’s me.
How can someone in this state have anything useful to share?
I am sadly not a writer who can think about the sales pitch before I have the book. Maybe I’d be a best seller if I could.
In this particular story I’ve had to tease the plot out as I go, extruding it through some subconscious mechanism I don’t understand but which seems to run on an unhealthy mix of coffee, wine and youtube videos. I am not complaining, I am very happy to be working. I am however apologising for doing EVERYTHING WRONG. If you are or have ever been a student of mine - cover your eyes.
I don’t know what my story is about. If you were to ask me, as kind people occasionally do because its nice to take an interest in the weirdo in the corner, I say;’ It’s a children’s book,’ then, ‘It’s a magical thing about a boy. It’s a bit of a strange story. I’m not expecting much of it.’ THIS IS NOT THE WAY TO DO IT. We must all have an elevator pitch rehearsed ready for that question. We never know who might ask it so we must, like literary girl scouts, always be prepared. Similarly, the same gentle, patient interrogator, valiantly making conversation with this dippy woman pretending to be a writer might ask: ‘and who is it for?’ Sadly they will get by way of garbled reply something like‘ Well, it’s younger, not YA but not very young maybe nine or perhaps twelve.’ They are entitled to regard me as a rank amateur. A children’s writer should know their target market, should gear the text to meet the needs of a particular kind of reader.
My way is not the way to write. It is definitely not the way to sell but sometimes it is the only way you can proceed.
Obviously after this last round of word wrangling, and plot untwisting I will be able to share helpful stuff about how to bag a million readers with nothing more than a facebook page and a digitised arrangement of well-ordered words. I’ll explain how to negotiate film rights and build an audience on twitter. Or not. Till then all I have is the wilderness and my blunt machete…