Yesterday, I reached another milestone along the road to having my novel published.
I wrote “Naming Names” almost three years ago. I wrote the first draft very quickly, and then I shelved it.
When I heard about the Mslexia novel writing competition, I went back to my little novel and read it. I was surprised at how good it was... how good I thought it was. It moved me. I had written absolutely what I intended to write.
At that point, it took a couple of deep breaths and a pep talk from my more confident self to get the novel printed off and in the post, but I did it.
A year after I sent the novel, during which time I heard that “Naming Names” had been long-listed for the prize, and then shortlisted, the winner was finally announced. Rosie Garland won the inaugural Mslexia novel writing prize with “The Beast in all her Loveliness”, which was subsequently bought by Harper Collins in a two book deal. Huzzah!. That was fine by me, especially as my novel took one of the runner-up slots, alongside Rebecca Alexander’s book, now called “The Secrets of Life and Death”. I for one hope to read both books as soon as they’re available.
My real prize, as far as I’m concerned, is that I now have a lovely agent.
Naturally, the first meeting with my lovely agent revolved around rewrites.
I can’t tell you how glad I was that I’d left the first draft intact. Much easier to work with the source material, I thought, than to have to cobble something together from any number of previous drafts.
The novel was pristine... Not perfect, but, at least, virgin.
What’s more, my lovely agent didn’t want to impose her ideas on me. We talked, and she invited me to solve the problems that my original draft threw up.
I very quickly saw what my lovely agent was talking about, and I was lucky enough to have input from an extraordinary woman, who is also a wonderful writer. The three of us were in agreement about just what I needed to do to get the best out of my manuscript, and I think I’ve gone some way to achieving the results we were all hoping for.
Yesterday, eight weeks after beginning, I finished those rewrites.
The second draft is done. Now, it only remains for me to read it, and pack it off to my lovely agent, and to my wonderful critic, and then we can begin the process all over again.
Writing is a thrill, always.
Who’d have thought that rewriting could be so rewarding?