Writing Update: Feb 2017

“We found it very compelling and well-written” but…

In August 2013, I signed up for Misha’s 5 year project. My goal was to finish writing a novel and to get it published.

Ruth Livingstone, writer, author and bloggerFirst, some positive news. I’ve been editing my second novel, a sci-fi adventure story for young adults, and enjoyed whipping the text into excellent shape. Only another 6,500 words to go… yippee.

Ruth Livingstone, writer, author and bloggerMore positive news: I’ve also been editing my short stories (a selection of the ones I wrote during my NaNoWriMo challenge #30days30shorts) and started submitting them to competitions. No news to report yet… fingers crossed.

Ruth Livingstone, writer, author and bloggerAnd more good news: These little signs of recognition mean a great deal.

  • The Ramblers contacted me last week, and asked me to write a blog post for their site, on the theme of footpaths. Done.
  • Last month my coastalwalker.co.uk blog was listed by Winfields as one of the best outdoor blogs of 2017.

Ruth Livingstone, writer, author and bloggerNow back to my main goal: I’m still trying to find a home for my first novel, a story set in 6th century China. Last month, I came up with a sub-goal: submit to 30 agents. I’d already submitted to 20, but people advised me to try harder before giving up.

typing-header-for-wordpressSubmitting is hard work. I’ve moaned about this before, but you have to:

  1. research the agencies,
  2. pick a suitable one,
  3. search that agency’s website for agents,
  4. look at their individual interests,
  5. work out if they are taking on new clients,
  6. look at the submission guidance,
  7. decide if they want a one-page synopsis or a two-page synopsis, or whatever,
  8. work out if they want three chapters, first 10,000 words, or whatever,
  9. check if they’re fussy about fonts (although why anybody chooses to read Times New Roman script on screen is beyond me!)
  10. write an enticing, personally tailored, and irresistible query letter,
  11. check everything (again) for typos and spelling mistakes,
  12. finally, shove everything into an email addressed to the RIGHT person,
  13. and hit SEND!

Sometimes it’s difficult to remember that agents are supposed to be working for the writer, and not the other way round.

Anyway, I’ve achieved my goal of 30 submissions. I’ve had 17 rejections, including some very nice ones with encouraging comments, and a few requests to see the whole manuscript. Now waiting to see if any more responses trickle in.

January 2017 – writing update

There is more than one way to achieve a goal.

In August 2013, I signed up for Misha’s 5 year project. My goal was to finish writing a novel and to get it published.

The novel was finished a long time ago. The sticking-point has been finding an agent.

So, last month, I came up with a sub-goal, which was to submit to 30 agents before giving up. So far my tally is 27 and that means I only have 3 left to go. Continue reading “January 2017 – writing update”

5 Year Writing Project: 2016 round-up

Round up of 2016’s writing achievements, and a quick look ahead.

In August 2013, I signed up for Misha and Beth’s 5 year project. The idea was to set yourself a writing goal and then stick with it for 5 years until you achieved your aim. In my case, my goal was to get a novel finished and published.

3 years and 4 months later and I have:

bullet-30 Achieved the first part of my goal. Yes, my novel is written. It’s called The Reluctant Scribe and is a historical novel set in the Tang Dynasty, 7th century China. I’ve had feedback from various people, including a professor of literature, and it has all been positive. Continue reading “5 Year Writing Project: 2016 round-up”

5 year writing project, Nov update

do you have goalsI’m taking part in Misha and Beth’s Five Year Project and my five-year goal is to write a novel and get it published.

The first part of this goal was completed long ago. Yes, my historical novel (The Reluctant Scribe) is done and dusted and, for the past 18 months, I’ve been trying to find an agent.

People tell me my central character is convincing and engaging, and the novel is set in an interesting time and place (northern China during the Tang Dynasty). But it isn’t ‘what we’re looking for’ or ‘I don’t feel passionate enough about it’.

On the plus side, I’ve had one request for a full manuscript, and one nice agent wrote a pretty detailed response, proving she’d actually read the first three chapters. Continue reading “5 year writing project, Nov update”

5 year project: October update

do you have goalsI’m taking part in Misha and Beth’s Five Year Project and my five-year goal is to write a novel and get it published. To pursue this goal, I really should be continuing my quest to find an agent interested in my historical novel, The Reluctant Scribe. But, in fact, I’ve been doing other things…

Continue reading “5 year project: October update”