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.


June: and rethinking the opening of my novel

My aim was to approach a new agent every week. But I’ve failed to keep up with that self-imposed schedule. The whole process is very time-consuming – and stressful. What should I do?

5 Year Writing Goal: June 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.

I’ve been looking for an agent for my historical novel, The Reluctant Scribe, without any success so far.

My aim was to approach a new agent every week. But I’ve failed to keep up with that self-imposed schedule. The whole process is very time-consuming – and stressful. So it’s easy to find other things to do! Continue reading “June: and rethinking the opening of my novel”

Submissions, submissions, submissions.

My aim was to approach a new agent every week. But I’ve found whole process is very time-consuming.

5 Year Writing Goal: May 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.

For those who have been following my progress, you will know I have finished my novel, The Reluctant Scribe, and have been sending it off to agents. Just after my last update, I received my first rejection. It was polite but firm. The agent did not feel passionate enough about my work to want to take it on. Fair enough. Continue reading “Submissions, submissions, submissions.”

April and my weekly task…

There is a distinction between carpet bombing and precision targeting… but you have to keep firing.

5 Year Writing Goal: April 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.

For those who have been following my progress, you will know I have finished my novel, listened to feedback, re-written it and re-edited the manuscript, changed the beginning (three times) and made many major and minor adjustments. Continue reading “April and my weekly task…”