CatherineDj

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I’ve side-stepped around the edges of writing for a long time, but believed I didn’t have anything worth saying to the world. Thankfully I’ve gained a bit more confidence since then and am currently working on a historical novel set in 1590s York and a non-fiction book proposal. I dabble in short stories and poems too and am here to learn and grow.

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CatherineDj Discussions
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Today I received my first rejection letter and I’m strangely pleased by it. It’s a good few months s…
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I wrote this micro-story recently. Originally it fitted within a Twitter post but I decided to expan…
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  •  · CatherineDj, I really enjoyed reading your micro piece. You painted a detailed picture in so few wor…
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When submitting to agents, what are the nitty-gritty bits of layout that we need to follow? I’m talk…
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  •  · Follow the layout that the agent wants, some are very specific.
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Who here has submitted a non-fiction proposal, either to literary agents or direct to publishers? Wo…
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  •  · There is indeed, but it’s not much used. I’ve read Harry’s article on Jericho Writers, attended the …
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I always enjoy the Friday emails from Harry and have gained plenty of tips and tricks over the years…
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  •  · If you want some odd village names there are some good ones in Lincolnshire. Mavis Enderby is not fa…
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So, if you are writing in two very different genres, and one of them is heading towards submission t…
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  •  · Thanks. If my fiction submission was likely to be ready in the next x months then that would make se…
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Today I received my first rejection letter and I’m strangely pleased by it. It’s a good few months since I submitted and had already assumed it was a no. But the reply reminded me that I am a writer and I can and will submit again, and the fact that the response sounded encouraging (maybe they all do?) has given me heart to continue. I’ve been absent from here for the past few months while my life has attempted to disintegrate around me, but this has prodded me to safeguard space for writing in my newly reconstructed life.

Added a comment to Cover Reveal 

Well done Laure! It must be so exciting to see your baby growing up and taking its real-life shape at last. How are you finding this stage of the process?

I absolutely agree about timing being hugely influential in how we respond to a book. I’d add mood and a whole panoply of personal factors too. I once took the book Rotherweird away with me. On the train, with my wriggling child next to me, I don’t think I managed even the first page. Coming back to it a year later with the time and silence to get into it I had an entirely different experience. This week I had a half-day of potentially scary hospital tests and knew I needed a gripping but not too hard-to-read book to steady my nerves and pass the time. I chose A Narrow Door by Joanne Harris, and though a psychological thriller wouldn’t always be my thing, this was perfect for the moment.

Difference is wonderful!

Really? I give up on loads. Over the past few years I’ve got better at picking books I’ll find worth continuing, but sometimes I just need to try one to see. Usually a few pages is enough to decide if it’s not for me, or not for me right now. But I have occasionally got half way through a book before turning away.

I had a funny moment went I went back into my phone notes (where all of my writing happened last year) and amongst all the bits I expected to find there was a piece with just its title. It meant nothing to me at all, but I could only assume it had thoughts attached to it once. Until I realised that me son asked me for the spelling of said word and I’d needed to check it.

The vast majority of my pieces are from the last few years, so I don’t have the experience of going back to things written by a much-younger me. There was one short story somewhere though. I wonder if I can lay my hands on it.

Poor rats, relegated to the role of villain once more 😢 I shall begin a campaign for the rehabilitation of their reputation. 

I’m mostly joking...

I think that’s a perfectly good approach, and as I said fixing grammatical stuff is by far the easiest type of editing to deal with. Even if it doesn’t come naturally to you, many of us here would be willing and able to persuade your sentences into their grammatically acceptable forms.

Thanks for sharing, Debbie. I like your choice of title 

 and I enjoyed reading your chapter. I don’t think I’ve had the pleasure of seeing chapter 2 so I don’t know what misadventures Archie has had so far, but I’d happily read on.

The obvious area where the text needs cleaning up is your use of run-on sentences, where you use a comma instead of a full stop. Though there’s rather a lot of them in this chapter, it’s not a hard thing to fix so don’t be discouraged. Is this something you’re aware of and know how to spot? There are a few other grammatical things- apostrophes and so on- but I’d far rather have things like this to fix in a text rather than a premise that’s rubbish, or boring writing. 

As someone who spends much of her professional life helping people to engage with nature, and sometimes encouraging children and adults to rethink prejudice, stereotypes and fears of particular animals, I’m all for giving the “traditional” scary creatures a break. Leave the spiders, rodents, wasps, wolves, snakes, flies and so on and pick something that doesn’t already suffer from an image problem. Meerkats, maybe. 

I’m a print-only reader, so I mostly use Fox Lane Books (who live locally to me) and Little Apple Bookshop near the Minster in York. Sometimes I get a bicycle delivery within hours from them.

Added a comment to My book 

Christine, I don’t know whether it’s a technical problem or not, but the version I’ve just had a look at seems almost identical to the original. If it is a technology issue of one sort or another I‘m sorry to say that I don’t have a solution.

I’m going to say this as gently as I can, but from what I have read so far I wouldn’t be thinking of sending this to an agent. It’s often said that writers need a first draft to tell their story, of whatever sort, to themselves. It’s the time to work out what we want to say and find the kernel of it all. Then we work on how to shape that for a reader, and hopefully an agent. I’m afraid yours currently reads as a first draft “what is my story” rather than an engaging account that can hold a reader. In addition, I’d strongly recommend thinking about your tone. There are bitter undercurrents in most mentions of people in your life then that make for uncomfortable reading.

Sorry I can’t be more encouraging. I know from experience though that submitting to agents is time-consuming for the writer, so there’s no point wasting our own time when our work isn’t ready.

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