It’s funny how you can be inspired by the most random of things …
As I’ve said time and time again, I write, and am inspired, by making connections. Drawing the lines between dots I handpick from life.
And I guess a couple of the lines this week have given me a kick-start to revisit my first book.
‘Flicker’, which some of you may have read samples of on the blog, is my first novel, a teenage fantasy book about an orphaned girl setting off on her gap year travels. After several edits of the book, my agent submitted it to a around ten publishers this time last year, unfortunately to no avail. After a few months, the book was shelved, and my second book ‘The Dream Navigator’ was made publisher-ready, and then did the rounds.
And that, a year on, is where I’m at. Having edited and re-edited two different books for publisher submission, I’ve then had to pass on the baton to my agent, and wait for the news to roll in.
As any of you in the same situation will know, whilst it’s a necessary part of the process, it can be rather frustrating! And at first, whilst the frustration of not hearing anything back from ‘Flicker’ lead me to pile all my energy into ‘The Dream Navigator’, a year on, no matter my best intentions, I’m finding it far too easy to sit on my hands, and make excuses.
If I’m completely honest, it’s very hard to finish another book, knowing nothing so far has come of the others. When I think of the hours I spent on the other two books, I feel drained, and back in the real world (I wrote the books whilst travelling) I feel too tired from everyday work to sit back in front of the computer at the end of the day, when I haven’t seen any return for all the other work.
But this is an attitude which needs to stop. If I’m to become an author – a real, bonafide, published author – then I need to get my head back in the game. And whilst the ball is heavily still in my agent’s court, that doesn’t mean I can’t be doing something to help.
I think what I’ve been doing wrong is trying to push forward with all the other ideas I’ve had since Flicker, when instead, there is something there in that story – there must have been to have got noticed in the first place – I just need to polish it!
So where has this change of heart sprung from? What were the dots that joined together to lead to that conclusion?
Last week I saw a friend I haven’t seen since I left to go travelling, and it turns out he reads my blog, and, despite being a 30 year old man … he read, AND LOVED!!! … the excerpts of Flicker which I put up on it!! I guess hearing his enthusiasm for the book reminded me how enthusiastic I had once been about the story.
Then last night, I was at a friend’s birthday drinks, and it turned out a number of his friends had heard that I was aspiring author. When, in turn, they asked me how it was going, I shrugged, disheartened, and said the same thing over and over again ‘it’s in the hands of my agent … I’m not really doing much at the moment … I work for a bank …’
And I listened to myself, and thought, if you’d asked 14 year-old me what I wanted to do at 28, the last thing I would have said was ‘work for a bank’. I wanted to be an author … so badly that I sent a shell of a story off to a publisher, and received my first mass mailshot rejection letter!! And you know what, I STILL want to be an author … so why the hell have I stopped working for it??
And then finally, this afternoon I sat down to watch the film ‘Chalet Girl’. Of all the ‘inspirations’ this is probably the most off the wall and silly … but bare with me 🙂
So ‘Chalet Girl’ is a teenage British chick flick – the story of a girl who goes to the Austrian alps, falls in love with a hot posh guy and becomes a snowboard champ – total cheese … but I’ve always loved cheesy tv 🙂 Now, if anything, I was expecting to finish the film and simply be dying to head back to Whistler … and don’t get me wrong, after 2 winters as a seasonaire it was impossible not to watch the film and yearn for snow … but there was a stronger compulsion that came from the film, and that was to revisit Flicker. Because years ago, when I day-dreamed about Flicker as a book, I put actors faces to some of the characters, imagining what it might be like to see my book on the big screen. And in that day dream, Ed Westwick was Daniel DeSilva, to Felicity Jones’s ‘Flic Firstone’ – the two young British actors starring opposite one another in Chalet Girl.
And I guess I don’t want that daydream to die. I want Flicker to still be an option. I want it to become a name synonymous with a book, not just a horse and an online photo sharing site! I want to be an author. I want to be a scriptwriter. I want to see books on shelves, with my name on the spine, and films and tv on the screen, underpinned by stories I’ve written. And I’m not gonna achieve that by sitting on my hands! I’m gonna do it by gritting my teeth, peeling the plaster off, and looking at a text I haven’t looked at for a year, because no matter how much I don’t want to acknowledge it, it is ‘damaged’ in some way … it’s not finished … and the only way someone is going to love it enough to publish it, is if I can fix it …
This is my challenge. This is my part of the baton-passing process ….
To make my manuscript as kick-ass brilliant as I possibly can, so that next time my agent submits it to publishers, someone snaps it up 🙂