How to be a Proper Writer – Part 1

Yep! That’s me, green skin and all, finishing my latest novel, The Raindrop Girl. I sent it off to my editor yesterday. Maybe she’ll accept it, maybe not. I began it 3rd Feb with a vague idea of the story. Done like a dingo’s dinner in under two months from first idea to final draft.

As is often the case with my writing, it began with a short story I wrote six years ago and sold three years later. I sent the first three chapters plus an outline (a synopsis) off to her 25th Feb and she said ‘Go ahead’ the day after. We talked on the phone about changes and now, voila. It’s finished.

Whatever happens with Raindrop Girl, I’m proud of it.

When you think about it, we’re all writers. Maybe a FB post, an email to Aunty Gladys or an application for a loan. Hell, even that SMS to me from a former girlfriend saying ‘Alan. U R dumpt’ is writing.

A few things happened this week apart from me finishing my sixteenth novel in under 4 years. I was approached to be a paid ghostwriter, I failed to make the final three in a novel comp in Australia (made it to final 15 though) and I realised that I should only accept criticism about my style (or lack thereof) from those I respect.

Some of the judges comments were glowing, some not so. Comments about my tendency to ‘tell, not show’, something that’s difficult when you write in the first person, like me. We all have our own opinion but for any person to dictate Rules of Writing to anyone is criminal. There is no right or wrong way but there are those who regard themselves as Writing Gods, the Muses of Heaven passing their commandments from above.

I realise my skills aren’t great and that I am learning all the time but I sold eight novels last year. SOLD. Not self-published or paying.

And then, when I begin to doubt that I am a ‘proper’ writer, I receive a lovely email from the Jane Austen Literacy Foundation asking if they can use my videos on short story writing for this year’s competition. I guess I must be doing something right after all.

My short story collection is getting some fine reviews. More next post.

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