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I've had two email notifications about being invited to join two separate groups. If I check my prof…
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  •  · I'm having the same problem

Brilliant news. Fingers crossed for a good publication offer.

I've just read his email and he himself was aiming for exactly that level of readability, despite the fact that he writes for adults. The scale simply means that a younger person would understand the writing, presumably because you don't use obscure vocabulary and complex grammar.

I'm with Greta on the subject of there being a problem. :-)

You've given us a hint of when this is set with the comment that the civil service has an empire to run, but I think we need a bit more.

The attempted suicide doesn't ring true, either as being an actual attempt or a cry for help in the fairly certain knowledge that the pills are placebos. I wonder if she might take a pill as directed, with no effect. Then she could store them up and persuade herself they are mild so she needs loads, while the readers have sussed there is no danger and that she doesn't really want to kill herself. Also, would the doctor not ask how she had been getting on with the pills at his second visit? She'd have to tread carefully. This is a missed opportunity not so much for tension (though you could build in tension) as for a bit more character insight.

The description of the coffin going into the hearse is ever so well done. Really heart-wrenching.

I love her exchanges with the priest and the doctor. She really gives them what-for, which must have been pretty unusual at the time, especially for a woman.

I remember this from before; I liked it then but you have improved it. I can't remember what the back story was but I do remember it getting in the way. I'd read on.

I've had several 121s, both in person at a Festival some years ago and by phone at last year's online Festival. I have to say that I have not found any of them to be particularly helpful when it came to working out why the agent did not want to take things further. The most constructive sessions were face to face, particularly the one I had with a commissioning editor. This leads me to wonder whether we are hoping for something an agent can't actually give us. A book doctor, by their very title, should be able to guide us. But an agent? I can see why an agent might be able to explain why they said "yes" but be unable to give an explanation as to why they said "no" - unless the work is execrable and should never have been submitted in the first place. Maybe it's just a gut feeling.

And why would an agent spend time pondering why they said "no"? I mean, if I am browsing clothes I don't bother working out why I don't try on X or Y. If forced to explain I could probably come up with something generic, like "I don't like the fabric". If I try something on I could explain much more why I do or don't end up buying it.

I, like Sarita, had always thought a 121 would be instructive. But having seen Polly's comment that it is a leg-up to the top of the slush pile as much as anything else, this makes more sense. 

Or a giant anteater? It could stick its long snout through cave passageways and people would be in danger of being hoovered up.

What about a giant guinea pig? They are very cute (when their proper size) but they are actually a bit dim, have fearsome teeth and eat their own poop. So if anyone gets any ideas about tracking the g-pig's whereabouts via its poop - well, that's a no go.

Added a comment to 121 Anxiety 

Wait, what? There's such a thing as an absolute final version? I never got the memo. 😄 

Added a comment to 121 Anxiety 

Wait, what? There's such a thing as an absolute final version? I never got the memo. 😄 

Added a comment to 121 Anxiety 

I suggest you email Jericho to let them know you want to record the session. I think the agent probably ought to know you are doing so. Checking this in advance rather than asking their permission on the day will save valuable time, especially if they object and you then get flustered.

I think I may have added a rogue pin in my fumblings. But I am now in there (I think)

I don't think you have a particular problem if you are mixing fiction and non-fiction. Mixing fiction genres would be much more of an issue, imho. What you might consider doing is targeting agents for your fiction submission who work in larger agencies with a non-fiction division. People are likely to be happy to cross-refer within an agency if appropriate.

Added a comment to Song Lyrics 

Pretty much anything by Paul Simon, Robbie Williams:Party Like a Russian, Jools Holland and Suggs: Oranges and Lemons Again, Ian Dury: many songs but especially Billericay Dickie, Nick Cave: most of it, Marianne Faithfull: The Ballad of Lucy Jordan, Dire Straits: most of it. I'll stop now.

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