Friday, April 23, 2010

Writing Frenzy



It's been a mad couple of weeks.

I had a mention in The Bookseller which got me in a right old tizz, and put me off my food for an hour I was so excited.

But back in the real world, Lovely Agent wanted me to rewrite some scenes from my novel - make them funnier. At first I thought 'how the bleepin' heck am I meant to do that?' but inevitably the writer's brain cranked into gear and began inventing.

I thought I learnt a lot with the last lot of edits, but by jove I've learnt more.

Looking back at some of my later chapters, I realised how much 'explaining' was going on. Characters telling each other why something had or hadn't happened - yet I thought I'd got a grip on show don't tell.

A better way for me to get my head round it is to think don't explain it, do it! and I believe this has really helped bring the novel alive.

I was advised to 'be brave' and remember that 'a great book is lots of mini-dramas leading to a huge drama' (particularly pertinent for commercial fiction) and hopefully that's what I've now got.

That and gnarled fingers from typing.

They do know their onions these agent/editor types. Now we wait and see ...

****
In my absence the lovely LilyS, Theresa Ashby, Francine and Suzanne Jones have all awarded me the Beautiful Blogger Award, for which I thank you most kindly and pass on to anyone who hasn't already got it.

You're all bee-yoo-tiful in my eyes.

46 comments:

Suzanne Jones said...

Wow - what a mention. You've every right to be excited - I'm excited for you.

PS I also nominated you for a Beautiful Blogger award - so that makes you 4X lovely.

XX

Karen said...

Aw thanks Suzanne, I missed that. Shall amend accordingly :o)

TOM FOOLERY said...

Clarkey, I've just read the wonderful words on The Bookseller review and I'm dead chuffed for you m'dear :))))))

Hey, What a journey you witty woman, you! Ahh, the finishing line is in sight. Where? Over there, open thy eyes. WIDE. Don't blink now ;-) Tommox

Dumdad said...

Wow, just read The Bookseller mention. I'm SO jealous! I really must get my arse into gear and write a novel.

Great news for you and I hope it leads to worldwide fame so I can say one day, "Karen Clarke? She used to comment on my blog."

Karen said...

tommo - Thank you so much - it wouldn't be have so much fun if I couldn't share it :o)

dumdad - You should DO it, I'd lvoe to read it! Dunno about world-wide fame though :o)

Karen said...

Oops, got my 'love' mixed up!

Francine said...

Hi Karen,

Hee hee, what fun (Bookseller)!

It's one of my fave places for industry info.

As for my blog pics, well let me say I love yours too!!!!! Are you into old advertising posters in similar vein to "hitched skirt" image? Try www.allposters.com

best

Francine

Karen said...

francine - Thanks for the heads up, I'll pop over and have a look :o)

Fran said...

Every time I re-read anything I've written I think: dur! why didn't I see that? It makes me wonder how novelists feel when their books are actually published. I am sure if it ever happens to me I will be MORTIFIED by it.

Karen said...

fran - The trouble is knowing when to stop. I could pick it up now and still see ways to improve it. I suppose at some point you've got to know when to let go!

Jan Jones said...

Well done on the mention! I find - as others have said before me - that the time to let a book go is when you throw up at the sight of it...

Jayne said...

Karen, the mention in the Bookseller is fantastic! I am so happy for you, and I cannot wait to read your book. :)

The last few chapters of my redrafting have all mainly been rewriting, taking the action from something that was secondhand to putting the reader in the thick of it. It has been very daunting, and I only hope I am doing it right, but it 'feels' better, which is good enough for me. Well done with being brave!

Denise said...

I got some funny looks at work when I made an excited squeaking noise when I read your news the other day! Must remember not to read things on my phone at my desk...

Show not tell is hard. I'm now worried I've gone too far the other way and nobody ever tells anyone anything because they're busy doing it!

Chris Stovell said...

I'm vair, vair pleased for you - and I promise all that rewriting will be worth it! Good luck!

Chris Stovell said...

I'm vair, vair pleased for you - and I promise all that rewriting will be worth it! Good luck!

Jean said...

Ooh, Karen, what a fantastic mention in The Bookseller. I'm so pleased for you.

Debs said...

I'm was so impressed when I read about you in The Bookseller. Well done with your edits too.

Lorna F said...

I've been crossing my fingers so tightly for you, the ends have gone numb. Can't wait to hear where this will take you. Well done for knuckling down to those rewrites - and learning from the process too. You've certainly got a big readership lined up for when you do publish! xxx

Christine said...

Congratulations! The Bookseller! I am so much in awe now.....

Queenie said...

Back working on a first draft again, I'm trying hard to 'show, not tell', yet I realise that I'm still finding out about who the characters are and what they're like, so there are times where I have to let things go a bit 'telly' to increase my own understanding. I suspect first drafts are written partly for ourselves, while later drafts should be entirely focused on improving the reader's experience. And as for when to let go - well, you can go on and ON improving the current book, a la Keri Hulme, or you can write another one, which will be better, and then another, even better one after that. I'd prefer you to do the latter, because I want to read them!

Teresa Ashby said...

Fantastic stuff, Karen, I'm so excited for you too. Makes it all so real doesn't it, well done :-)

JJ Beattie said...

Very exciting to see the mention. Congratulations.

I would get very anxious to be asked to be funnier... Nope, can't do that!

Anna said...

Nice write-up, can't wait to read it!!

Looking forward to tonight's Dr. Who episode btw, hee hee!

HelenMHunt said...

So excited by your Bookseller mention!

Susie Vereker said...

Wow and Wow again, Karen. That's absolutely fantastic and brilliant. Is that you, Karen Clarke? My congrats are belated as I haven't been blog visiting lately. Very best of luck.

Honeysuckle said...

That's brilliant, to be in The Bookseller! I do hope your library colleagues are impressed. If they're not bowled over by a mention in The Bookseller they must truly be lost causes...

Virtual Onion said...

Wow Karen. Wow, wow. I am so excited! I disappear for a year, come back and look what's happened in my absence. Congratulations on your mention in the Bookseller, so get on with the rewrites so we can read you already :)

SpiralSkies said...

Your hideous gnarled fingers will be worth it when your book's on the shelves. You'll just have to get a hand double in for signings... :0)

All terribly exciting... The Bookseller mention is so 'wowee' I've been grinning for ages on your behalf!

Amanda said...

Ooh, only just noticed you've blogged. Congratulations again from ME X

Colette McCormick said...

Great mention in The Bookseller. Keeping fingers and everything else crossed that Lovely Agent comes through for you.

Ann said...

Congratulations Karen. That is wonderful news. I am not surprised you went off your food for a whole hour! Bookseller!!!!

Good luck with the edits.

Anna May said...

THAT was a very thrilling comment in The Bookseller. Big congratulations!
Anna May Mangan x

Lane said...

Just fantastic! I'm so thrilled for you.
That's a great mention and promises great things to come. I can't wait.

lots of mini-dramas leading to a huge drama - what a great way to explain it. That helps alot - thank you:-)

x

Crystal Jigsaw said...

Great to have a mention, I expect that was very much deserved. I'm desperately trying the show don't tell approach, together with all the other advice that is constantly landing in my lap.

CJ xx

Fionnuala Kearney said...

Aaah editing... Its never really done is it?! xx

Karen said...

jan jones - I've definitely got to that stage now :o)

jayne - Thank you :o) The editing has been a massive learning curve, but I can see the story has improved massively.

denise - That made me laugh! It's a fine line indeed, and so very easy to fall off :o)

chris stovell - Thank you, and I do hope so :o)

jean - Thank you so much :o)

debs - Thank you, and good luck with yours :o)

lorna f - You're too lovely. The whole process has been a real eye-opener, but I definitely feel I've learnt from it :o)

christine - Thank you! I still can't believe it actually :o)

queenie - It's funny though how I thought my subsequent draft was much better! It's only now, looking back, I can see how static it was in parts. Have to say my second novel is flowing much better as a result of all this 'practise' !

teresa ashby - I think that's what hit me - that it feels very real all of a sudden :o)

jj beattie - I did think, how am I going to do that? at first, but I think I'm naturally a bit silly anyway :o)

anna - Thank you - and I'm still lovin' the new Dr. Who! I didn't like the Dalek episode, but it's back on track now :o)

helenmhunt - Thank you m'dear :o)

susie vereker - That IS me! I can't believe it really :o)

honeysuckle - Amazingly, since reading it, my library colleagues ARE impressed! In fact they're mentioning 'author talks' and such which is a bit previous!

virtual onion - Lovely to see you back, and thank you so much - I'm still in shock really :o))

spiralskies - A hand double - I LOVE the sound of that. Especially as buggering arthritis runs in the family.

amanda - Thank you chucky egg :o))

collette - Thank you so much - lovely to be able to share with you all :o)

ann - Thank you :o) It might have been an hour and a half actually ...

anna may - Ooh, thank you for dropping by! I keep reading it when no-one's looking - is that wrong??

lane - Thank you so much - and yes the mini-drama to big drama comment really helped me focus the chapters :o)

crystal jigsaw - Trouble is, there's so MUCH advice it takes a lot of sifting through! I'm going to stick with my agent's from now on as she clearly knows what she's on about, then I'll pass it on to you lot :o))

fionnuala - Exactly. I could go through the ms right now, and still find ways to 'improve' it!

Kerry said...

Karen that mention is brilliant - shows real intent on your agents part to sell well and sell quickly I think!

Also loving the new template you're using - spots and stripes so very this season! :) xx

Talli Roland said...

Congrats on The Bookseller mention and the awards! Thanks for popping by my blog!

LilyS said...

That's excellent news, I can't wait to read on!

Lydia said...

Congrats and congrats and congrats, Karen! I feel I'm talking to someone who might soon be famous!! So thrilled for you -sure all this graft to re-edit will be more than worthwhile. What a super, clued-up agent. Best of luck with all of it and keep blogging so we can all keep up with you! x
www.lydiajones.co.uk/blog

KarenG said...

Came to visit from Jayne's blog, and I'm your 100th follower! Do I get a prize lol! What a fun blog, glad I found you. Good luck with those revisions!!

KarenG

DJ Kirkby said...

A mention in the Bookseller (and what a mention), how fabulous is that?!

Alis said...

OMG Karen - a big hit on the international stage!!! Here's lifting a glass of bubbly to that! Can't wait to read it.

Karen said...

kerry - Thanks, I do hope so! And yes, I'm fan of the spots and stripes - though probably not to wear :o)

talli roland - Thanks, and you're welcome! Great blog :o) (Yours, I mean.)

lilys - Thank you - hopefully you'll be able to, one day!

kareng - Thank you and welcome! Us Karens need to stick together. You can have a signed copy of the book when it comes out for being the 100th follower (she says, massively jumping the gun!)

djkirkby - Thank you - I know, I still can't believe it myself :o)

Alis - Thanks so much, it still seems a bit unreal! Happy to raise a glass though :o)

Nishant said...

It has been very daunting, and I only hope I am doing it right, but it 'feels' better, which is good enough for me. Well done with being brave!
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Madeleine said...

Brilliant and congrats! I love the phrase: 'a great book is lots of mini-dramas leading to a huge drama'
I shall try to remember that when I'm in the throws of my novel or short story.