Monday

Had a strange feeling just now that I was floating out of my body, dizzying whirls in my chest as I floated upwards, excited whirling, inevitable swooning.

Is this what happens when you have time to stand and think? When you read too much and other lives enter yours?

Is this what happens when you are overtaken by emotion? This mixture or elation and grief at the same time. But wanting it, wanting to rise out of yourself and be something else?

Is this what yearning for something beyond your grasp really is?

And I looked out of the window at the bright red maple and the bright blue sky and the lime green tree we call ‘Twig.’ And it just stood there waiting.DSC04376

How much can a day hold?

How much can a day hold?

DSC02427Three chapters of my next novel to Agent Jane.

Trying to sit correctly at my computer so I don’t strain my neck any more than it already hurts.

Loving the feel of the autumn air and the change of colour and also so sad at the memory of those red and orange leaves driving too and from Wythenshawe Hospital visiting Mum and the late afternoon orange squares of light on the wall of her room when she was put on The Pathway.

And just after six, checking my emails for the last time of the day to hear from Agent Jane saying she loved the three chapters and wants to hear more about perfume but two out of the three publishers she sent Jiddy Vardy to, said ‘No.’

And Genevieve’s Latin Fusion class bringing tears to my eyes because dancing to Brazilian music meant dancing with my whole body but every movement hurt my neck and I kept thinking that one of the publishers had spelt Jiddy Vardy as Jiddy Bardy.

But Genevieve played Baillando as the warm up and that brought back Cuba and the Malecon and the beach and everyone dancing around tables.

And that I always think of autumn as the time of new beginnings and now how sad it also makes me feel.

The Children’s Art Books

If anyone is writing for children I would highly recommend joining The Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI)

Recently, I have been to two of their events in Manchester. The first was a talk given by two former book editors, Amber Caraveo and Joanna Moult who run up The Skylark Literary Agency. They gave an inspiring, insightful, helpful talk before pre-booked one to one sessions.

The main thing is Voice. Find your voice. That is what they are looking for. And with that, great writing.

For the one to one, I met with Joanna, having sent her a copy of Noise of Snow a month or so ago. Now, the Agency do not represent picture books and Noise of Snow is a picture book of sorts. But, she liked it, really liked it and knows nothing like it. Good news.

And something I knew before, but have fought against. It is written in rhyme and because rhyme is difficult to translate to many languages, publishers can be put off by it. As pictures books are expensive to print, with their full colour pages, co-publishing prior to print needs to be gained. And by co-publishing, this means getting different countries, and so languages on board.

And she skipped the artists’ biographies, scanned them rather, so I may not need those. Think I’ll reinstall the artists’ soundbites which I had originally.

And so the verses. I am rewriting them in prose.

And another thought: Agents who have publishing skills are a plus.

And onto the second SCBWI meeting and the critique groups. I’d written the prose, and that needs work, but the main points were – cut down to 12 spreads, (I had 16 – cost again) and follow the story…I had fitted the story to my illustrations, so the thread of the action broke several times. I need to stop being so precious. I can always use the illustrations I cut in another book 🙂

This journey is a long one..but I can see the view is improving, step by step.Gustav Klimt for SPRER

Mind and Body

Mucha for SPRER.jpegMoving the body is important; mind and body both need stretching. We all have our preferences, mine is dance for the body, writing for the mind.

Yesterday morning, the writing flowed, maybe because I knew my subject so well, through books and pages of research. Maybe it flowed because I enjoyed the scenes, the characters, maybe it flowed because it was one of those good days.

However, not only is writing about sticking your backside in a chair and staying there, a writer also needs to do the opposite at times and shake not only the body up to compensate for lack of movement, but also the mind to free up, shake up, let air into those clogged up brain muscles.

Yesterday though, was particularly important for movement. The book I’m working on is an expansion of ‘Meeting Coty’ (published years ago) Agent J says I have to stick to the same ‘genre’ at this stage, not leap from historical to fantasy, to crime to erotica…it’s about marketing an author and if I stick to the same genre, it’s easier. So, ‘Jiddy Vardy’ which she is trying to place now with a publisher is set in 1794-5, the Coty book (working title) is set in 1910-22. Historical Fiction.

Back to why a writer needs to use exercise the body as well as the mind!

a) sitting in a chair all day isn’t great for the body.

b) writing all day can play havoc with the mind! Plus, Coty is very personal to me. It’s based on family history but also, a writer often takes events, emotions, from their own lives and uses them in a different context, like an actor when playing and axe murderer for example!

So, yesterday, I grew increasingly emotional.

I needed to move my body to balance not only my body and my mind but also my emotions. I’d have gone nuts otherwise!

Thank God for Dance!

A perfectly combined day of mind and body work out. What every writer needs to remain healthy 🙂