Danny Ambrose

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Now here's a thing. This week and for most of last week, we've had to self isolate due to my two kid…
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  •  · Thanks Lynn - self isolating is so boring and in a way counter-productive as I reckon once you've do…
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Here's something different, I'm struggling to do this at the moment, I find writing pages and pages …
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  •  · You originally said that it was actually about death, which is a pretty definitive statement. I had …
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I thought I'd share this on here, for those who are mid-way through their manuscripts and in that st…
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  •  · Hi Jane, I'm an 'all over the place' person too - jumping ahead and back and forth and I write the e…
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HI I'd thought I'd post the first chapter of my WIP - any feedback very welcome thanks              …
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  •  · Hey Danny,I didn't have an issue with the head hopping (haha!) as did some others but I would have l…
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I was reading an article this week in a magazine that stated it would be unlikely the above would ge…
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  •  · Haha! oh, you guys!! 😂 👽 😼 
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I was talking to my brother about the joys and otherwise of writing, over the weekend, and he asked …
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  •  · I don't think it's vanity to want the endorsement of an agent and publisher. Self-publishing (as dis…

Hi Jo

I liked it, a nice warming story with a happy ending - perfect for kids.

Added a comment to Feedback 

It's all very true - criticism is sometimes hard to take and sometimes it's misplaced but usually it's spot on. The way to deal with it, is read it, get annoyed, disagree with every word then put it away and go back to it a few days later and it'll all make sense...

I had a look online and a few reviews and I'm even after that I'm not sure what they are. They seem to be some kind of alternative/halfway house between self publishing and marketing unit - they do seem to want $500 upfront which sets the alarm bells ringing.

HI Liz


It's not rude, and well done for getting someone to request a full, quite an achievement. It's been a busy time of year - summer hols etc, I'd wait to the end of the month then drop him/her a polite email wondering what they thought of your manuscript. 


I have been in this position a few times, I currently have three unfinished projects on the go, I tend to flit between them. The one with the most promise currently is a pig to write. It's not that I hate it but i'm definitely on the final draft now and whilst I still love it I also hate it, which trust me is completely normal. (Have a read of Mhairi Macfarlane's blog) whereas I am really enjoying writing one of the others which is in the first draft stage. The other one has had two rewrites and will soon get to the stage where I hate it too!! 

What to try is leaving it for no more than 2 weeks, then go back and look at it fresh, if it still excites you then go and sort out the issues, it's always worth doing. if you can't be bothered then that should tell you all you know. Don't be afraid to abandon something that doesn't work it might feel like a waste of time, but it's not it's always a learning experience.

The only thing I'll add is to look very carefully at what the agent/publisher wants.

They all have their foibles and little rules that you have to follow or they might not even open your email. Query letters have mostly become query emails now, and what you need as Lyn said above, is something that catches their attention - it's hard to remember, but agents are swamped with stuff - if they are getting forty email submissions a day they are going to open the one that 1. follows their rules and 2. stands out.

The elevator pitch is usually the thing that'll make them open your email or read your email further - if the pitch is wrong it doesn't really matter how good your query letter is as they won't read it. So, I'd say get your query letter into decent shape, then work on the elevator pitch as it's that that'll make them open your email.

Feedback is great, but remember it's only an opinion and it is what you think that matters most. it's your book.

This is so complicated and PC rules these days are so complex. I lived in London for about 5 years in the early 00's - I was young when I moved there and whilst I'd moved from one city - Glasgow to a bigger one - London, I was initially quite fearful of going out and about. This was more to do with not knowing the landscape than any kind of racial fear.

I lived in Peckham initially then moved to rent a place in East Dulwich - before I continue I'm not sure when this piece is set because Peckham these days is very gentrified (run a Right Move search for property values and you'll see what I mean.) It's moved on since the Del Boy days. Homeless people are everywhere in London - and most seem to have Glaswegian accents for some reason!! 

The character here - I'm not sure is she fearful due to being unsure of the landscape due to it being alien to her? or is her fear born from news items describing 'another stabbing in London' or purely because she's not used to black people?

it is a valid point - Glasgow has a large Asian (India/Pakistan/Sri Lanka) population but not many black people, when I moved to London it surprised me, but the first two people who befriended me at the new job I'd moved there to take, were two black guys (I'll call them Ken & Hassy coz that was their names LOL) and I pretty much hung about with then for the whole 5 years I lived there. I still see Ken when I go down there, though Hassy moved to Germany in 2010 and we lost touch.

The group I ended up being part of were very mixed - black girls with white boyfriends and visa versa and whilst there were racist comments occasionally on both sides most of it was in jest and based around stereotypes and stuff and alcohol!

 There were a few ill mannered morons we came across that would do the monkey thing and a few resented white girls being with black guys - Ken was psychiatric nurse and his white girlfriend Karen, (wife now) was a doctor -  I found that the integration of the black kids and the white kids in Peckham was fine and most folk didn't even think about it. Initially, I'll admit to being a little uncomfortable walking about at night with Ken and Hassy in case anyone decided to have a go, but it never happened.

When I watch the news now about black gangs and territorial ghettos - that isn't the London I recognize or lived in. Things might have changed but there are people with  agendas out there that tend to overplay these things. 

Not sure this helps that much but hopefully the insights might help...

You have been incredibly lucky to get to that stage so well done you, you should be immensely proud of yourself. 

Once upon a time, I was lucky enough once to have an agent who pitched a manuscript I'd written. it didn't get taken up by a publisher and the agent, at that point, decided that we should part-company - they'd tried their best and flogging a dead horse doesn't keep the lights on or pay the rent basically. This was a fiction submission.

I was disappointed at the time, but hey ho I'd got quite a long way down the track. Research has since shown me that around 70% of manuscripts taken on by agents don't find a home at the first time of asking, I'm not sure what the hit rate is for non-fiction but I think the success rate is a little higher due to the market NOT being so crowded. Good luck.

Added a comment to Rejection  

Hard luck Debbie - All part of the learning process - it'll happen one day...fingers crossed 4u.

Thanks Mark, really useful to know but I reckon most folk on here (me included) don't have a spare £5k lying around to devote to their writing - even if you get the book published you're unlikely to make that back unless you are very lucky. Sobering thoughts indeed.

Added a comment to Writing tip 

Is that the bloke from Abba??

I tend not to do that - a year sounds crazy, plus I'd lose enthusiasm for it over that time, I'm usually beavering away on 2/3 different things anyway and I'll dip in and out of a draft fixing and changing as ideas come and go. Certainly when you finish a story you need to put it aside for a week or two, just to give yourself a break from it, but then back at it, I'd say...

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