Thursday, September 29, 2005

On being brain tired

I have a new appreciation for editors!
Over the past few days, I hae been doing not only critquing for my lovely cps but also reading for the NWS.
It is quite easy to tell whether or not a full manuscript is going to be suitable for publication or not. Or at least wit hteh ones I have read thus far. It is quite a bit harder to do reading with a view towards revision bit. How can you tell people -- this is not a romance. Or start commenting on things when it is clearly not ready for publication, but they have paid money to try to get a report...
When I am reading for pleasure, I can read a 100k book in a relatively short period of time. It takes a good six hours or so to actually read a manuscript properly and make note s on it. I can easily see what is wrong, but how to make it better?
Each time I open a new mss, I hope that this will be one that I can send for a second read. So far none of them have been for a second read. Even the one which had a second read way back in 2001. There were a lot of flaws, but I thought this woman had a really publishable voice. She simply needs the right plot. Or rather a tweaking of the current plot. Editors do this for a living and survive to tell the tale. Every day is like the end of the NWS period. They are such hard working people.
I am in awe of my editor and the fact that she saw enough in Gladiator's Honour. Fingers crossed she sees enough in T SD... The bnext one of course will be even better. I have to believe that my writing is getting better.
In the meantime, my muse is sulking at being ignored. She wants to get started on the next one. She keeps feeding me little scraps of details. Look see there is the hero and isn't he yummy.What do think about her for a heroine/ What about this time period? See isn't there a lot going on? Look at all the tension and conflict. What sort of woman is the heroine? Butthen the postman opens the door and deposits another beread asap as people are waiting.
Valerie Parv has a wonderful Muse Obediance training School on her website. Full of sage advice on how to make your muse behave.
I very merrily told Jan Jones who is organising the RNA conference that I would speak at the conference on something new and different. But what? What would be exciting? I could speak on Rome, but how many people would want to hear that? Or perhaps on warrior heroes? Maybe on effective habits for juggling several things at once.(Um after forgetting a staff committee meeting maybe not) I need to come up with something and with handouts. Possibly soemthing to do with historical writing.
At the M&B party last Friday, an editor (not mine) was talking about writers being arty people. I have neverthought of myself as arty. Creative, I suppose. Organised, yes. Disliking detail -- okay I'll admit to that. Lateral thinking perhaps. Full of ideas. Finding an excuse for a messy house, defiantely. But arty? Oh help. Arty means on another planet. While I know my dh and children sometimes think this. My eldest often comes and asks me if he can go to Moscow because once apparantly he did and I said yes, not realizing what I did. This is a source of great amusement. But I am not God's Daisy Chain type arty. I'm just me who has happens to have a vivid imagination. Vivid imaginations are best employed with writing books rather than worrying about people and situations.


Donna Alward said...

Am laughing at Michelle's lack of "artiness". I hear ya babe. I'm not that organic arty kind of person either. But creative....yes.

And your brain is tired....then let me say a big THANK YOU again for being such a great cp and being so very prompt. I love that about you.

You know you should talk about the analytical side of writing. You are wonderful at taking a piece of work and dissecting it into what works and what doesn't, asking the hard questions and the mechanics. Perhaps you could do a talk on how to look at your own work objectively!

You could also do a talk on research and how much actually makes it into the book as opposed to how much you actually know about the period.

Anonymous said...

I'd like to add my thanks to Donna's, Michelle. You're a wonderful cp and thank you for a brilliant critique.

Creative covers it for me too, if I wasn't writing, I'd be channelling the creativity into interior design or gardening.

Allison said...

Donna has said it all.

You take the time and care about people. I can't thank you enough for that.

Even though i'm cringing at the NWS comment. GGG.

Michelle Styles said...

I have not had ANY NWS manscripts to critque from people I know, so you are safe, Allison!

TO be fair to the writers, I suspect that with perserverance they will all make it. But it always takes a willingness to learn.