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Hello, I hear there is coffee and cake?

Hello Everyone, and Festive Greetings to you all.

I'm a newbie to the Townhouse. I heard there was coffee and cake, so thought I'd better pop in and introduce myself before stuffing my face. I'm Rachel, I live in Yorkshire and I'm somewhere in my mid 30's. I'm a bit of a geek, I love Star Wars and superheroes and things like that. My favourite authors are Terry Pratchett, Neil Gaiman and Ben Aaronovitch, amongst myriad others. As you can tell, I like fantasy and sci-fi. I'm also quite fascinated by mythology (Ancient Greek is my fav), have a fascination with the human mind, and love a bit of true crime. I'm also a Master of Procrastination. Historically I've really struggled to write anything other than short stories, and if I'm being 100% honest with myself, it's because I'm scared of failure, and terrified that people will find my work bland and (shudder) boring. So, I stick with short things that I can easily defend 'oh it was just a short, silly thing' for example... Wuss.

I have been telling stories since I was a very young child, and wrote and illustrated some of my stories when I was in primary school. I will be the first to admit, the illustrations were total crap. I can barely draw a stick man. Over the years, I've written countless short stories, but never really been confident to have anything published. I wrote a play during my degree (Drama) and a few years later, submitted an abridged version to a short play festival. My play was selected from over 100 submissions, and was one of three to be performed. 

This year, I found myself in rather ill health (not the dreaded Covid, thankfully), and had to take 6 months off work. This gave me a lot of time to twiddle my thumbs and realise that if I don't pull my finger out, I won't get the chance to leave my mark on the world. Nothing like a global pandemic to give you a kick up the backside. I am proud to say, I have finished the first full draft of my first novel, Reality Filter. As you may expect, it's a fantasy, and if the tone of this post doesn't give you a clue, it is aiming for dark comedy, too.

I'm sure I'm not alone in having written something I'm very proud of, then realising I have not the foggiest idea of how to pitch it to an agent. I've done quite a bit of research, but I look at the advice about writing submission letters, and my brain tends to go 'wibble' and try to distract me with, for example, coffee and cake. Or wine. I've started about 5 versions of the letter, and I've written a full page synopsis, so I've made a start, at least. Oh and I've also researched agents and have several in mind who I would be extremely excited to have consider my work.

So....after my rather long and in-elegant ramble, that's my intro. 

Hope you've all had a really lovely Christmas, and here's hoping next year is a wee bit better than this one!

Rach

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Replies (29)
  • Welcome to Jericho, Rach. Writing the submission package always feels a hundred times harder than writing the book. Good luck with it and if you need help you can always post it on the critique forum for a bit of feedback.

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    • Thanks Kate! It's like writing a job application, the covering letters are always so tricky.

      Good to know, I shall have a go at pulling something together and try it on the critique forum.

      Cheers

      Welcome to Jericho, Rach. Writing the submission package always feels a hundred times harder than writing the book. Good luck with it and if you need help you can always post it on the critique forum for a bit of feedback.


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    • Welcome and congratulations on completing your first draft, now the editing fun can begin!
      Good luck with the edits and your submission letter.

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      • Welcome and congratulations on completing your first draft, now the editing fun can begin!
        Good luck with the edits and your submission letter.

        Thank you, I've already done a fair bit of tweaking as I've been going. It's driving me nuts, trying to get the first 3 chapters to be up to scratch. 

        Thank you for the warm welcome.

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      • Welcome Rach. There is coffe and cake, tea and ginger nuts, wine, gin and tonic or whatever else you may fancy. There are also a myriad of kind and helpful people ready to offer advice and feedback so you’ve come to the right place.

        I too am a procrastinator. You’ve got a lot further than me. I’ve always thought it might be fun (but really hard) to write a play. Well done you.

        There are lots of useful tutorials on the JW website about how to do your submission. I’m sure you will nail it.

        Where in Yorkshire are you?

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        • I am in Lincolnshire but my husband is from South Yorkshire and his Dad still lives there.

          I’m sorry you’ve been ill but glad you’ve found the time to focus on your writing.

          I am writing children’s stories but am an absolute beginner. I have done some picture books and nearly finished a middle grade novel but have a long way to go with the editing and the mysteries of submission! I find I am overflowing with ideas but finding the time to write them down, let alone edit them into some kind of shape, is tricky! This group is helping me a lot though.

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          • Thank you, I always find that tough experiences make us stronger, and it makes us realise a lot about ourselves. 

            Oh lovely, you're an illustrator too? I can barely draw a stickman, so I'm always in awe of those who can draw/paint etc. 

            I find self editing really hard. I did a Masters a few years back and got much better at it, but when it's creative and not academic, it's really difficult. I'm lucky that I've had a few friends who've been test readers, and are pretty honest about things, so they've been a massive help. Does make me worry that it's only people who know me that have read my novel though. Although saying that, I do trust them to tell me if it's crap or not!

            The group seems lovely - I'm off to explore some other forums and get a feel for things. Good luck with your writing :) 

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            • I would love to be an illustrator too but sadly my drawing is about as good as my quantum physics (I am not a physicist). I have only written the words and have yet to find an illustrator so my picture books are just little stories with nowhere to go. Onwards and upwards!

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            • Very lovely to meet you, Rach! 

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              • Thanks Holly, you too!

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              • Hi Rachel, nice to meet you! 🙂

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                • Hi Rachel, nice to meet you! 🙂

                  And you!

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                • Hi Rach! Nice to meet you 😊 I too have found myself without work due to poor health and have found writing to be an absolute lifeline. It never really feels like I have any more time though 😂 Congratulations on finishing your manuscript & good luck with submissions!

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                  • Poor health sucks, doesn't it? I've been quite lucky in the fact that I was able to take paid time off. My work have been absolutely fantastic through the whole thing, I really don't think I'd have been as positive as I was if it weren't for them. Being ill sucks, but knowing you have a good support network is half the battle.

                    You're right, writing really does help, doesn't it? 

                    How are you getting on with your writing? What kind of things do you write? I hope your health is improving.

                    Rach

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                    • Absolutely. Unfortunately, my situation is chronic, so although I have bouts of better health, it's always a bit of a roller coaster! Much like you though, I have a fabulous support network who make it much easier to cope with 😊 

                      It's great that you have a supportive employer too, that makes all the difference doesn't it? It was ultimately my own decision to leave, because I had no idea when I'd be well enough to carry out the role again, and the pressure of that was impacting my mental health. 

                      Writing helps so much- great escapism to climb into your character's heads for a few hours, haha.

                      I'm currently writing a high concept thriller, and moving onto editing stages now. Hallelujah! I occasionally write short stories, but I think long form comes more naturally to me. 

                      I hope your health is improving too! It's not a great year to fall ill, is it?!

                      Amy

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                    • Congratulations on fighting through adversity. Bouncing back is an underestimated life skill.

                      Pratchett. Warms the cockles of my soul.

                      Nice to meet you. -- Michael

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                      • Yep, re-reading it, far too long for an elevator pitch - needs work.

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                        • Nice title! (I don't have one yet...suggestions?) 

                          Does this make sense for your elevator pitch: 'Kelly lives a sensible life as therapist. But how can she help her patients battle their demons when she can see what REALLY threatens them, AND her?" (27 wds)  

                          Hogfather (Susan Sto-Helit has the same problem as Kelly!), Wee Free Men (Ah, Tiffany!), Thud, and Fifth Elephant are my favorites. Today. I read someone's opinion that Vimes is one of the best literary detectives out there, and I was embarrassed that I hadn't made that connection...s/he's right! He's realistic, in the middle of a fantasy world, precisely because of his human imperfections you mention.

                          I've about had it with America's obsession with conspiracy theories. I know we don't have the market for those cornered, but we seem to be reveling in their inanity far more than any group of 330 million people should. But we're intellectually lazy here, anymore, and we lack critical thinking skills on the whole so the insanity will continue. Next week elected officials will probably protest on the floor of the House or Senate that Biden stole the election. <exasperated sigh>

                          Michael

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                          • Thank you, it was originally a working title, but it's stuck around and made itself at home. How's this as an elevator pitch: 'Assistant psychologist, Kelly, discovers that magic is real, which makes her job even more difficult. What makes it extra hard, is battling the same ancient darkness as one of her patients.' (31 words).

                            I like yours, however it's only 1 patient's demon she can see (also, it does NOT like to be called a demon!).

                            I always LOVED Susan, she was one of my favourite characters. I was always sad there wasn't another book about her after Thief of Time. I have definitely got some inspiration from Discworld, but also Ben Aaronovitch (if you've not discovered his writing, he is BRILLIANT, and also a big Pratchett fan!), Neil Gaiman and myriad others, too. Hopefully my story is fairly original though.

                            Sadly, it isn't just America who've bought into conspiracy theories. They abound in the UK too, and it's deeply saddening and very worrying. How can people believe that 5G transmits a virus?! How can people deny that the bloody virus even exists? It's just utterly absurd. I find myself watching less and less news as it just despresses me. 

                            Although I take your point about the whole election thing. It absolutely boggles the mind. Ah well.

                            As for your title, hmmm. I always struggle with title and character names. They define everything, don't they? Do you have a working title yet? Without knowing more, the only things even vaguely coming to mind are stuff like 'Junk Mail' or 'The Japanese Connection', neither of which I think do justice to your idea. If either of those items of mail have a title, that could help? Reality Filter is named after something within the story, and just seemed to fit. It didn't have a title until I figured out that the reality filter was even a thing!

                            Good luck with it! I hope you'll post updates about how you get on with the story :) 

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                          • Susan figures prominently in Hogfather, if you need a Sto-Helit fix. 

                            "Junk Male" would be perfect, but it's already been taken...drat.

                            How about... 'Assistant psychologist, Kelly, discovers that magic is real, and makes her job even more difficult when she must battle the same ancient darkness as one of her patients.' (28 words).

                            Good luck with your writing! Thanks for the friending.

                            Cheers!

                            Michael

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                            • One step ahead of you, there! I didn't manage my annual re-read this year, but I did watch the TV adaptation, so I got my Susan fix. 

                              Nice one, thanks for the edit :)

                              Shame about Junk Male, it's a shame when you find your 'perfect' title already exists, grumble grumble. 

                              Thanks very much, and no worries at all! OK, I'm off to stare blankly at my query letter now haha. 

                              Take care,


                              Rach

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                            • What a lovely introduction!  Welcome, Meditative Rose.

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                              • What a lovely introduction!  Welcome, Meditative Rose.

                                Why thank you very much! Pleasure to meet you, Blakeney.


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