The only agent I follow on Twitter is Steve Laube. Not because I want to publish Christian literature but because he tweets all sorts of useful links. On Friday there was ‘Two questions I ask every writer’ by Francess Caballo, an author and social medial strategist. The two questions are:
would you tell me about your book?
who are your readers?
Now, to me the first question is badly phrased as it invites a yes/no response. But it is the second question I am interested in today for two reasons.
First, I am never quite sure who my intended readers are.
Second, I started reading Moby Dick last night, and I am convinced that if any author needed to consider who his readers might be, it was Herman Melville. I am two chapters in and wondering why I should go on (apart from novel research). I am finding it so difficult on so many levels I actually spent quite a lot of time Googling around the novel this morning, including the Biblical character Ishmael, as my husband said the opening line should have given me a clue as to the nature of the book and its allusions.
I am no expert on the Bible as I left the Baptists when I was about thirteen. But it turns out that my husband, who has read it from cover to cover, some of it in Hebrew, remembered it wrong. Suffice to say this – Moby Dick – is the book which made me download the free dictionary onto my iPad so that I can understand what the hell Melville is alluding to.
Two chapters in and not even a sniff of a boat let alone a whale. I can see why his publisher rejected it with reference to the ‘vision impairing length’.
With a whole first chapter on the philosophy of man’s inherent attraction to water, the ‘baroque’ writing style (had to look that up, too) the biblical and classical references, I have to ask myself who exactly Melville was writing for. It certainly was not the likes of me. Given that he only sold a little over 3000 copies in his lifetime, it probably wasn’t most of his contemporary English speakers either.
In case you need your mind taking off the prospect of nuclear war, here’s a few things that made me smile today.
Susan Calman has made it onto Strictly. I am so happy for her. She has been so wanting to get onto this show for so long. I can’t imagine the diminutive Scot in high heels and dancing skirt though. I might have to start watching.
I have no idea how I came across this video of Thunderstruck on Youtube, but I am so glad I did. Steve’n’Seagulls only have one gig in Britain on their current tour and we missed it. Might have to go to Germany when the Christmas markets are on.
Oh, and the sun is out. Enough of a rarity to make me smile any day.
Just a quick post to say that a friend of mine is on the pink heart society blog this month. I’ve never heard of the pink heart society, if I’m honest. A quick look at their site has revealed all sorts of inspirational stuff, including this post about keeping inspired which strikes a cord at the moment. I know everyone says it’s great to be shortlisted (and it is), but to a glass half empty person it means you lost!
So good luck to Mairibeth – I’ll keep my fingers crossed for your Vikings and your trip to Sweden – and I’m off to work on my conflicts.
I knew this a few months ago and, frankly, it’s been hell not telling anyone. I’ve had all that time for it to fester. Have I won? How many on the shortlist? (eight, I now know).
Now my face is up there with all those smiling young other writers. It’s something to celebrate, right? So why am I thinking, ‘Oh God, look at those wrinkles?’
Because I’m a glass half empty sort of person and that’s what we do! (Plus I take a terrible photo. Why do you think I have a swan as my avatar?).
But onward and upward as this is a positive blog. I don’t know if I’ve won but the point is, they liked my story. My name is worthy of putting up there on their website. This achievement is going on my writing CV. It will definitely be mentioned by me (passive sentence and I don’t care because I’m happy) when I submit my next story.
It just goes to show that you’ve got to be in it to win it. And I would not have come across this competition were it not for social media – a FB friend who writes for M&B flagged it up. So thank you, Kate Hardy, and happy anniversary.
To all you budding writers out there – make connections, keep feelers out and keep writing, no matter how grey your day, no matter how many rejections you’ve had recently.