Would you believe it…!

So, you know how I mentioned I had been accepted to appear on The Hook! at the SCBWI conference in Winchester? Well, the conference took place a couple of weeks ago and I did indeed do The Hook! and, amazingly, I won!

I’m so proud of myself. I’ve always had a thing about public speaking and it has put me off doing all sorts of things, but I actually did it this time. I was terrified – shook all the way through – but I did it! And I think I’m happier about that than actually winning!

I know that’s a bit mad, because a fabulous agent, Amber Caraveo of Skylark Literary, is now going to read Hagstone and give me feedback on it, and that will be invaluable. In truth I’m very excited about it, and it’s all systems go here, as I try and polish the book before I send it to her.

I’m also very grateful for all the support that I got from fellow SCBWI’s, especially from those in Scotland. Tips, practice, hugs – you name it, they supplied it. Even the photo above… Elizabeth Frattaroli, thank you!

Thank you, all.

Nearly Finished

I once read somewhere that when you think you’ve finished writing your book – you haven’t. It is, sadly, true.

This time last year, I was on my umpteenth draft of Psigns and thought that I was nearly there. I had started to research agents and was working on my synopsis. And then I met my mentor, Julie Bertagna, as part of the New Writers’ Award scheme from the Scottish Book Trust, and put everything on hold.

All those niggles I’d had, about pace and characters and endings – I should have listened. If I’d sent the book out then, I probably wouldn’t have got anywhere at all, because the book wasn’t ready. I wasn’t ready. There was a lot more work still to do.

I’ve learned many things over the past year, but I think the most valuable lesson of all is not to rush the process. Dig deeper than you want to into each and every character. Follow each plot point through so that it makes sense at every stage of the story. And don’t be scared to experiment – you’ll still have your old drafts, after all, and you might come up with something special.

It’s been an amazing experience and I have a much better story at the end of it. So is it finished? I don’t know. But I think I have taken it as far as I can right now.

So I’m back to researching agents and polishing up my synopsis and hopefully, this time, I’ll get somewhere.