Sunday, 26 February 2012

Do You Feel Fury or Pity?

This weekend, someone posted to an author group about a writer - and I use the term loosely - who's published work was not their own.

This author was 'outed' in the, 'Dear Author', and 'Smart Bitches Trashy Books' blog, and although I avidly read everything that appeared, I was left saddened by this rather than angry - but then I wasn't one of the authors being plagiarised, so maybe I'm not the one entitled to react with outrage.

Although the book and all references to this woman have been removed from the publisher's website and their groups, I cannot imagine how the publisher must feel being duped like this when they evidently released the novel in good faith.

I can see that this is could be the downside of self publishing - it's easier to steal someone else's graft if you can do so with the click of a mouse, but this woman used a publisher - thus compounding her crime and making them culpable.

On the release of my own novels, my initial euphoria at having a book published  and 'out there' for anyone to see, is combined with a gut-wrenching dread that the reviews will be awful, the story trashed, and a damning comment on a blog - any blog that asks 'Why does this person think she can write?' 

Surely any thrill this woman experienced on 'release day', when all the congratulations come flooding in, would be tempered by the inevitability that someone would find her out eventually. She must spend every day waiting for the other shoe to drop!

I simply don't understand her reasoning, and my primary emotion is of an overwhelming sadness for her.

Monday, 20 February 2012

A New Contract

Elizabeth Murray 1628-1698

I have some interesting news this week, in that my lovely agent Kate Nash has secured a publishing contract for my novel about the early life of Elizabeth Murray.

Pen and Sword Books specialise in Historical/Military Reference Books but are planning to bring out an Historical Fiction Imprint under the name of Claymore Books with their first titles planned for release in October.

'The Cherry Garden' is scheduled for release in early 2013, but the title may be subject to change.So for those who are interested, do keep stopping by and I'll keep posting as I go. And according to their Facebook page, Prince Charles visited recently, so I am in great company! - This is my favourite portrait of EM.

Thursday, 2 February 2012

Are WIP's Like Shoes?

Do all writers have difficulty focusing on one manuscript at a time, or is it a sign I'm not serious enough about crafting 'The Novel' that my brain keeps playing around with different scenarios? This may not be so bad if I could tunnel the plotlines into the story I am working on, but they tend to cross the centuries. I come across a one line definition in a book that catches my eye and before I know it, I'm bogged down in research where I unearth loads of fascinating information, all of which is completely useless for my 17th Century story.

Never mind, files are made and stored on my hard drive for future reference and that next story - but at the same time I'm aware I have too many ideas flying around in my head and not nearly enough time to write a well rounded story out of each one.

Then there is that elusive thing called a muse, which decides to abandon me at the precise moment I reach an intricate part of the plot that needs total concentration. The more I focus, the harder it becomes to formulate a coherent sentence, let alone explain the reasons behind a character's actions in a succinct, fascinating way. My only way round that one is to put the manuscript away and come back to it later - maybe weeks later - and in the meantime, I cannot resist dipping into another half-written story and am immediately captivated by the chance of improving the narrative.

Logic tells me that although it may take considerably longer, the end result should be four or five completed novels ready to go. Not so - these manuscripts all fall into the, 'almost finished if I could work out the ending' category, to the 'I'm seventy five percent through, but not sure where the story is going'.

I also have one 'outlned' with a fully laid out story, character profiles, the political background of the era, every scene summarised with an aim, conflict and action. When I began, the passion for the story was incredibly strong - so why have I only written one chapter so far? Is it because my subconscious, neat and tidy mind says I must finish my two incomplete ones first - or will my great new idea be 'the one', so I cannot ignore it.

So how many WIPs is too many? And is having too many ideas on the go better than not being able to come up with one at all?  Is it better to have a plotted outline, or is being a pantser better as the story can evolve as it goes along?

Or are WIP's like shoes, and there is always a better pair in the next shop?