Hmm, the blog posts are getting further and further apart. But I am still here, still writing, and mostly present on Bookstagram, my happy place of books, authors, readers and bloggers. It’s not a coincidence that many of the accounts I follow post gorgeous and/or funny photos of their animals alongside gorgeous photos of book recommendations, events or just life. A nice place to be, most of the time!
Anyway, there’s now just six weeks (arrgghh!) until I take up my residential fellowship at Varuna in the stunning Blue Mountains outside Sydney. My manuscript Ella, which got me the fellowship, has gone out to two beta readers so far and initial reports are good. Phew! It’s definitely a work in progress, one where I know what I want to achieve and feel that I am on the right track. I am happy with the idea that it will take lots of revising and drafting to get it to publishable stage, and that two weeks of intensive work at Varuna should help with this.
Meanwhile I’m using the time to work at two lighter, younger manuscripts, one of which is YA (young adult) and the other more MG (middle grade). I am having fun with both (strangely, they both involve lots of animals again – there are a few in Ella as well) and I think I have finally forced myself to come up with plots that may not be perfect but they will lead me into finishing a first draft in a lot less time than my first three manuscripts (ie: maybe even under a year – WOW!).
My wonderful friend and very successful author Alison Evans told me recently about this lovely lady Rachael Stephen, who talks about a thing called the Plot Embryo. As Rachael says herself, she didn’t come up with the idea, but she sure knows how to use it, manipulate it and give extremely helpful advice to authors struggling with plotting and just generally getting that damn manuscript finished. Added bonuses – her Scottish accent, no-nonsense attitude, lots of swearing and bloopers 😀
Oh – my YA manuscript Inside Out is on hold for now after going out to ten publishers and aaaaaaalmost hooking one. So close! But yes, it’s not quite ready for publication in our very small Aussie YA world and it’s harder to push a debut author unless they already have a name for themselves, so I’m concentrating on taking Ella to Varuna to continue our battle (she’s my toughest character yet).
So the long road to being published (traditionally) continues between lots of reading, author events, bookclub, workshops and fun writing sessions with friends (eh, so, the last one involved much coffee, laughs, advice and very little writing, but it was worth it!) 🙂