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What are your writing goals for April?

Well, when I asked at the beginning of March what your writing goals were, I had no idea how different most of our lives would be like by the end of the month.

I had a mixed month in March, days of not being able to write due to either kids needing me or just general panic and anxiety, other days where the words just poured out and I found a lot of peace and solace in living in an imaginary world for a bit.

I hit 50,000 words yesterday, my hope for April is to hit 70,000 words... 

I am hoping to finish this lean draft (75,000) in mid-May, and then edit it for structure, then character then prose. Only then will I send it to my agent as I've decided I would like to go this one alone. I can't really articulate why, I just want to get my head done and get it done!

What about you? 

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Replies (86)
  • I want to finish my children's book in April. The publisher has given me until 29 May, but it would be nice to get it done as I want to get my thriller finished before submitting in September. So, kiddies book this month and I'm hoping to make more use of my JW membership - I'm half way through one of their video courses - I'd like to finish that at least. Hope April is a little less life-changing than March was, or at least, life-changing in a positive way.

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    • Very weird month for me, but I also hit 50k on the WIP  I want to get to 80K by the end of this month, which in these weird times, I may do... Never thought I would see that as an achievable goal before though! 


      (I also really want to get an agent with the novel I am currently putting out on submission,and am doing all I can to make that happen. But that can take a lot longer... I'm so impatient!)

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      • Well done 50k twin! 


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      • As of this morning I have been furloughed for two months. Is this a dream? Being paid 80% to stay home and write? Brilliant!
        I have two ideas. Which option would most encourage you to want to read on?
        A? B? Neither!?

        OPTION A.

        Chapter 1

        Funny things happen, 30 seconds after you have just saved the Prime Minister from assassination.

        Especially, when all you have done is throw a tablecloth over him to prevent a bird of prey pecking him to death. Not that the pecks themselves would have done for him. It’s the cunningly applied lethal pathogens on the claws that would have sealed his fate. I knew this, but for now I must not tell you why.

        The crowd surged forward and I was knocked out of the way by a burly plainclothes policeman who rushed to the PM’s side and immediately began ushering him away from the melee and back towards his car. 

        The press throng, always the ones with most highly developed sense of a good story, surged towards me with microphones and lenses extended. A barrage of questions filled the air.

        “Sir, sir, are you Special Branch?”

        “Are you in the Magic Circle? That was some tablecloth trick!”

        At some point in the future, like probably tomorrow, I would come to realise that these last few seconds would define an equally large shift in my direction. For I was about to be cursed by fame. Never a good thing for a spy.

        But right now, all my undercover training was about to be called into being as the inevitable question was directed at me from the mouth of a hand holding a rather expensive looking Nikon.

        “What’s your name?”

        Quick as a flash I reached for the obvious. “John.” 

        I was lying. Convincingly, I thought.

        “John who? “ They chorused back.

        Oh, oh…quick, now I needed a big name to go with it. Somewhere in the deep recess of my left brain I instinctively remembered the habit of American country music singers who often use major cities as their moniker.   

        “Albuquerque” I blurted.

        “Al-Bookerky?” intoned the man from the Daily Mail. “What kind of weird foreign name is that? Are you one of these Imm-ee-grants?” He spat out the syllables with practiced disdain.  “How d’ya spell it?”

        “Same as the capital of New Mexico,” I proffered helpfully,” ’A-L-B-U’ followed by ‘kerky’, but using ‘qs’ instead of ‘ks’ ”

        “The capital of New Mexico is Sante Fe”, rejoined the man from the Guardian. Smart arse! 

        “John Albuquerque, you just saved the Prime Minister’s life. Do you have any comment on his party’s disgraceful record in mishandling the Gross Domestic Product?” 

        Oh shit. I had just performed tablecloth magic, saved the country’s favourite most boring man after Cliff Richard, and suddenly I was expected to be an expert in things I knew nothing about.

        OPTION B.

        Chapter 1

        It was a very nice polar bear. Except it was dead. Lying on a slab of rock, as lifeless as a discarded mattress, fly-tipped by the roadside. 

        The bear was named Kara, after the sea where her father was captured. She was the first to be born here in captivity, emerging from her mother with a coat as white as the snow she would never see. But now, after twenty seven increasingly mild winters in the wildlife park, her fur was an indistinct muddy brown. At this age, in the Arctic, she would have been long dead. Regular feeding, vitamin supplements and boredom had kept her alive. Until last night.

        It is not difficult to shoot a polar bear. Especially up close, and preferably with a fence between you and the animal. It had been done quickly and confidently. Even aiming for the head had given the shooter a target the size of a medicine ball. After a single shot he had removed the silencer, replaced the gun in his holdall alongside the bolt cutters and vanished back out through the wire fence.

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        • I like that! 

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          • …(worse) is to come!

            Isn't the rule for an opening… If you're going to ramp up the intensity "later," then whatever you put in the start to build to it needs the chop?

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            • I see your points, Lain (Iain?). Good luck. I'd be interested in a darker bear story I can ride through with the protagonist. 😳 

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            • Following a detailed and expert Jericho review (by Dexter Petley), I have lots of work to do with the 80,000 words of memoir I sent him. Some good encouragement though. Second book now on hold!

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              • I have my first novel out to agents and am collecting some lovely rejection slips. But however lovely, a miss does often feel as good as a mile. I'm longlisted in one national competition, but I suspect that list is very long indeed. I'm also looking at the very helpful feedback from my JW book doctor and making some changes to the intro before submitting to the next batch of agents. So my aim for April is to get an agent (as it was for Feb and March). But I'm also using what free time I have to write or in some cases rewrite short stories and submit those to competitions too. 

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                • Wendy, you made a longest, this is terrific, what a boost. I have given up at the moment sending my first book out, half the agents didn't reply and this was before COVID.  Could you let me know about the book doctor, is this JW mentoring or did you have a MS appraisal, will hopefully be doing this in the latter part of the year, if savings allow.  Best of luck in the competition... 

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                  • Hi Jane

                    The book doctor was a paid add-on to the Getting Published Day - I sent cover letter, synopsis and first 3k words and should have had 15-min session during the day to discuss with my assigned book doc (James Law). Virtual version was response by email - got v helpful comments on things to change and also need to think more about slot in the market (which I find v difficult - it's not genre and is if anything what I gather is called 'upmarket' - I loathe the phrase but apparently bookgroup or high-end commercial/v accessible literary - I'm sure someone in the group will correct me if I've got that wrong!)

                    But to get back to your question, JW do offer all sorts of packages all the year round - from going over cover letter to critique of whole MS. Details on the site.

                    Good luck! 

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                    • I would really recommend a JW assessment and  would only add that the closer your MS is to your idea of the finish line, the more value you’ll get. And be prepared for some work! 

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                    • April, for me, will be a month in two halves. Quite literally.

                      Fortnight 1 will revolve around consuming all the JW members' material, which, if the opening chapters of the How to Write course are an accurate representation of all, are some of the most clearly structured and concisely delivered writing instuction I have ever come across.

                      Fortnight 2 will involve diving into my WIP outline and performing open-arc surgery based on feedback I've received: snipping, rerouting, butressing, and generally adding hardship for my setting's million inhabitants…

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                      • Fantastic feedback Rick, glad it's helpful!

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                        • I'm about to tuck in to the How to Write course so good to see a recommendation here.

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                        • I started my third novel earlier this year, but have struggled to work on it recently. Hopefully April will see me get back into big time. 

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                          • I have my novel due to my mentor April 25th. It should be, at least, 60,000 words. With the Pandemic, trying to teach math virtually and helping The Emergency Respose Team of our rural town-- it took me ten days to write a thousand words. Four thousand more to go! Argh.

                            The biggest distraction is that my yongest son Thomas is a doctor in a public hospital in New York City. You can imagine what he's dealing with. I watch all the news about New York constantly. And there are the times I break down and cry. 

                            But I'm going to write this afternoon and see how it goes.

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                            • Good luck Mary Kathleen Mehuron I'm also working on finishing mine ready for the deadline - almost there. We can do it! My thoughts are with you.

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                              • Hi Mary Kathleen Mehuron did you get your novel done? Hope so and hope you are doing well.

                                I just managed to get there with mine - over the line with around 63K words - so I was very happy - especially once I'd sent it off. 

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                              • I’m messing around with a slash fiction about Naruto. It’s possibly the best thing I’ve ever written. Wish me luck, as I drink from the beak of the Nine Tailed Fox!!! Do you ever get in reverie, I do.

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                                • Hope to finish the first draft, and maybe one full edit, of novel 3 in my Pyrate series. Anxious to get on to novel 4 sometime in May. The extension of the 'Shelter-in-Place' to May 3 here in California should help; it's the silver lining in a dark cloud.

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                                  • To complete a query letter and book proposal in the lofty pursuit of having my book of personal essays published. I find myself going down rabbit holes in research and somehow never better informed to succeed. I'm also completing an essay to submit to the NYTimes 'Modern Love' column.


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                                    • I just checked out what my goals for March were, and I realise that April's are just more of the same. I've altered the opening to my WIP based on feedback I got in February and I'm going to use this revised version to enter the Write Mentor Summer Mentoring programme.

                                      I've also started to rewrite/repurpose/re-whateveryouwanttocallit the whole thing from 3rd to 1st person POV in order to see what that looks like and possibly use that as my entry to a couple of children's book competitions by the end of April. I'm currently about a quarter of the way through that. So when that's done I'll effectively have two versions - no danger of any confusion there!

                                      If I get the time/inclination, I'll also work on editing the sequel - but will it in be in 1st or 3rd person POV?! 

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                                      • I finished a 3rd person manuscript that had already been edited by a professional, and I rewrote and switched to 1st person about 20 pages in and to the end. Worked well. My current novel was in 3rd person, and I was halfway through it when I tried 1st person. I love it. I think it better connects with the reader. There are scenes I have to write in 3rd person because my protagonist is not present, but they are one of the reflections or scenes belonging to another character, or they are the dreaded backstory. It's tricky to switch up, but it can be done if careful. Good luck.

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                                        • Thanks, Dennis. I think my ms was probably ripe to be turned into first person as my MC's in every scene, and it's restricted 3rd person so the reader only gets her POV. So it's probably less daunting than it might seem.

                                          I've always written fiction in 3rd person up to now, that just seems to be the way I automatically approach things. But 1st person does seem to work better for this so far, and I find it's a lot easier to write in 1st with the story already in place.

                                          I'l let you know how it goes!


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                                          • I was sucked into a 3rd person style because I come from a screenwriting background. Essentially, it's all 3rd person. Good luck.

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                                          • My goal for the year had been to push my book and get an agent. Although not impossible, that's looking less likely and harder to achieve, so my goal for April is to get to at least 50,000 words in book 2 of my YA fantasy series. Am trying to juggle skype tutoring sessions, making school resources for home and the whims and demands of a tiny but crazy parakeet who thinks me being at home all day is the best thing ever and why don't I give her more attention?

                                            So any words I can get down are an achievement, but I might also try playing about with PoV. I'm really used to writing in third person, but I might try some first person narrative to see how well I manage it...

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                                            • Hi everyone 

                                              Haven't managed to do any new writing at all since the COVID outbreak, as an NHS worker we are all now working shifts in my department to maintain social distancing - so doing some very strange hours at the moment. All spare time is spent on the self edit course (for my WIP) which is the second full length book I've written, have found some excellent writing companions on there. Any of you who are thinking of doing this, I can heartily recommend. 

                                              I think at some point this month they'll set me up to work from home which will then take massive self will not to do other things, I hate the idea of working from home - I like the company at work, bar the commuting.  

                                              So,April is all about editing, and getting book two into shape, I have an idea for book three, but will probably wait until summer, as book one may need some work too. 

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                                              • I'd like to make more revisions on the fantasy novel I've written. It's slow going because I teach 4 college classes online now due to the Covid-19. The classes were originally seated classes and going online in such a fast time forced tons of revisions, and learning of software. I'd also like to find a publisher for my comedy-horror cross short-story.

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                                                • Hi Christina, I’m a teaching assistant at a primary school and am working from home. I’m about a quarter of the way through my fantasy novel. I would like to get it finished in a few months but it’s tough going at the moment. I’m finding it hard to focus. Sounds like you’re very busy with all those students. 

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                                                • My goal is to get my character at her lowest place in plot and story, the post midpoint big gloom or all-is-lost moment. Up to the midpoint in the story, I'm satisfied it's a good rough draft. Her fall from grace toward the bottom only needs to be well-sketched. Then work her way toward what she needs to drive through and into the third act to the climax and finale. I look forward to getting there so I can start the left-brain editing fun.

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                                                  • COVID19 - has meant that I'm confined to barracks like everyone else. I started a new novel last week and to date have managed to set down 32k words - most of it will be pants but it's the first draft and getting the words on the virtual page is what matters and I can go back and edit and review when I get stuck for words. 

                                                    Working on new stuff always energizes me it's the third or fourth draft that leaves me struggling...



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                                                    • My goal is to use the month , self isolating, to finally finish my second novel, Outsiders. I keep telling myself finished is better than perfect...but my inner pernickety critic keeps finding stuff I need to sort! I’m on the sixth redraft...... and at last seeing the shape I was aiming for. Coronavirus has given the advantage of no excuses about ‘time’.....Another goal is to send out my first one ‘Unsuitable Girl’ to another 8 agents.....a waiting game. 

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                                                      • Good luck. I like your title, it’s intriguing. 

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                                                      • My goal is to make 3 uninterrupted hours each day for writing, at least 4 days a week. With my 8 year old daughter at home it's tricky! But my husband wants to record music, so we're attempting a trade-off - he hides out for 3 hrs in the morning to record his songs, and I hide out for 3 hrs in the afternoon to write - we'll see if we can actually stick to it! Goal is to get a proper start on my travel memoir. We've spent the last 3 years driving from the US to Argentina in a camper van and have a host of good stories. Need to figure out how to pull it together in an exciting way, rather than a mish mash of chronological adventures.

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                                                        • I've just finished the first draft of my second novel. Its is printed off and ready for a heavy edit to iron out all the things that changed as I was writing it. Then it's of to beta-reader land to find out what sucks and what's good. Before that though, I'm tucking into Children of Ruin by the utterly brilliant Adrian Tchaicovsky.

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                                                          • My goals for April including continuing my search for an agent for my first novel. Started that search at the beginning of Feb and have decided to keep going until middle of the year. I may then take the leap into self-pub. 

                                                            Also 10k words into my second novel but have been struggling to be creative during this period of worry about our health and future. Need to get my mojo back. How are other people finding the impact of worry on your creative goals?

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                                                            • Hi Caroline, I really hear you on this. I didn't write for the first few days after we went on lockdown and still struggle. I find I have to just set time aside in the morning before looking at any news, that helps a bit. Once the day pollutes my head I find it a lot harder! 

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                                                              • Thanks Holly. I think having structure in the day really helps both creative juices and aiding anxiety levels.

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                                                              • For me  10K to 15K would be a good target to set. I did 10K in March because I had to review my MS after the publisher gave first round inputs. Also I want to find an agent for my first cli-fi novel which is turning out daunting bcs  agents are not gung ho about environment. 

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                                                                • That's interesting, Sandip. Why aren't they keen?

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                                                                • Hi all. After a couple of weeks feeling frozen, I’ve launched into Finish the Damn Book mode. Set myself a target of end April to stop the fiddling and comma shifting, get a copy edit done and submit it to agents and a couple of competitions. A good way to distract myself from the fact that my company is in free fall 🔥. 

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                                                                  • Good for you! Finish the damn book and celebrate with us here when you have! 

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                                                                    • Hi, I was in the process of a final edit before sending it to Jericho for a manuscript assessment. Seventy-one, working on my first novel, off and on, for a good few years, and along comes Cov19 and knocks me off my perch. Haven't touched, or thought about, my manuscript for weeks, which is something I usually think about all the time. Not sure of the reasons behind this self-sabotage, fear of spending money from a minimal pot, fear of a thousand other abstract possibilities. I guess responding here is an attempt to engage, which is another thing I feel oddly resistant too I'm going to open my manuscript doc and see if I can return to work, wish me, as I do all of you, luck and good health.🙏 

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                                                                      • Hi Maureen. I do sympathise. I've been holding off writing anything substantial since the lock down started, despite having planned a novel, developed the characters etc. Partly fear of failure (I've written four books before, all of which are flawed). But it's partly this situation too, the awful news everyday. Then last week I decided enough was enough and I just launched into the first chapter. It was a shaky start and I'll re write the opening pages thoroughly, but it's feeling better now, the tone and voice coming through.

                                                                        What I'm trying to say is, be patient with yourself - these are extraordinary times and don't beat yourself up for not being you're most creative. And if you feel you just want to dive in and write, do it! You can always delete what you don't like.

                                                                        Good luck with it all and stay safe


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                                                                      • My normal goal for any month is roughly 4 chapters, as that's my usual pace. One chapter per week. But, thanks to the corona virus, my job has been downsized into oblivion. So I'm looking at the bright side. I can spend all day working on my book. My manuscript is sitting at 72k words now. I want to finish the book, edits and all, and submit to my editor by the end of May. 

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                                                                        • Release my paperback, hit 50 000 words in my third novel (currently on 20 000), finalise my second novel, finalise the cover on my second novel and write a speech for my daughter's wedding!

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                                                                          • I finished the Damn Book! 🎉 Two weeks before the self-imposed deadline of 29 April. It's gone for a proof check while I work on my Damn cover letter and synopsis. Tonight I'm celebrating with the other two people in my bubble. Cheers! 

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                                                                            • So good to hear this, well done Caroline! Fingers crossed for you!


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                                                                              • Let us know once you've sent it, Trudi, and well done for finishing! 

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                                                                                • Hi Kate, lovely to hear from you. Hope you are well and surviving lockdown. How is your lovely novel? 


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                                                                                • I've finished my book too! Just have to tidy up then submit to my mentor for editing and assessment - then the hard work begins - the editing! :-)

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                                                                                  • Yes well done from me too Jacs... class of Self-Editing 2018 lives on, and at least the lockdown is good for something! Cx

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                                                                                    • Great news, Jaqs! Happy editing.

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                                                                                      • Thanks but that’s always the hard bit!

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                                                                                      • It's reassuring to see so many other writers on this thread feeling affected creatively by COVID-19. I was supposed to be on honeymoon now so shouldn't really be putting any pressure on myself or setting goals, but I keep feeling how annoyed I will be if I don't make the most of the 12 hours + I am saving from not commuting at the moment. Instead I keep working late and in my spare time just doing whatever I need to keep my mood level (usually running or walking or phoning people!). But I have just started carving out more time again to read and write, and am getting back into writing by doing things other than fiction, including journalling, blogging and writing a monologue (potentially to send to an online theatre initiative). I submitted my first novel to agents last autumn and had some near-misses so I want to take heart from that. I think my goal this month will be to get into the regular practice of writing again - using that hour I now have in the mornings before work - and work towards doing character profiles ready to start my new novel next month! My main goal for life is to maintain my wellbeing amid all this anxiety, but writing is usually a good way of achieving that!

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                                                                                        • Hi KateH so sorry you missed your wedding and honeymoon and are finding life hard. It will get better and it will get easier - believe me. 

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                                                                                          • Hi Kate H. Life is so full-on at the moment and I can't imagine what it feels like to have your wedding and honeymoon so affected. I really am sorry. It sounds like your book did well. Can you keep at it? The right agent might be just around the corner. In all the bubble world of the current isolation, I can hear the sound of many global fingers tap-tap-tapping at the keyboard. Be kind to yourself, it's okay to feel let down at the change of plans. Be assured that it will make a memorable story one day!  

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                                                                                            • Yes, me too - I was actually thinking about you a few days ago, wondering if you'd managed to have your wedding before chaos struck! I hope you have rearranged it for another date, and have that to look forward to when this is all over.

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                                                                                            • Sorry Kate, just seen this. It is indeed an extremely strange time, and probably about as bad as it gets (both psychologically and practically) to be going through the horrible submissions process. What I SHOULD be doing is getting stuck into something new, but I'm finding it very difficult. Like you say, my mind is rather pre-occupied by Covid, and I find it hard to imagine anyone will ever want to read anything again that doesn't refer to it in some way or other ... hey ho. But your goal sounds very sensible. 

                                                                                              Idea - how about a Self-Edit Class of 2018 zoom catch up meeting sometime, to compare notes and hopefully lift spirits. Julia, Trudi, Jaqs - Laura? Anyone else out there?? Just a thought ... happy to organise. 

                                                                                              Keep safe, all of you, and keep writing (somehow!) 

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                                                                                              • Good luck Trudi, with the submission and the sequel plotting!

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                                                                                                • That's great Trudi, I'm sure we can work with that. Would 8am be too early for you, if we went for an evening here?? Very well done on submitting - I started 2 weeks ago - so far the silence is deafening, which is a little dispiriting but hardly surprising, especially given the circumstances! But a sequel, even ... brilliant, well done! 

                                                                                                  Let me know about timings and I will send round an email later 


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                                                                                                  • Hi everyone!

                                                                                                    Great minds think alike, Caroline;) I just suggested the same thing in our group forum:) Any time works for me, I've only got one online class I have to be present at per week, so I'm pretty flexible. Ahh, now I'm really excited already!<3

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                                                                                                  • Great idea Caroline Swinburne  - I'm in! 

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                                                                                                    • I'd be up for that, Caroline.

                                                                                                      Sorry to hear you got close, but not close enough, with your novel, Kate. Are you planning to do more work on that one, or focus entirely on something new? I put The Drownings in a metaphorical drawer for several months and started mapping out something new, but I've now gone back to Sylvia's story and am trying to edit it again, improving the pace and narrative arc to make it more compelling. Writing is definitely something we can do to get away from everything in this crazy time. At least the sun is shining.


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                                                                                                      • Lovely, will send round an email later Cx

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