Thursday, November 21, 2013

In control

I forgot to go to the Fair Trade stall in the village hall yesterday because we were busy cutting the hawthorn tree down to size. That is, Dave was up a ladder being scratched as if by five cross cats, and I was on the lawn, directing operations. The day before, he stood atop his car, pruning the copper beech away from the telephone wire, while I directed operations. That’s my forte - directing operations.

Later I did more clearing. This included bagging up three defunct manuscripts to give to my grandsons for drawing paper. And I found some literary memorabilia, such as this paper clipping of a man I used as a model for George in BUT I TOLD YOU LAST YEAR THAT I LOVED YOU. (It’s really someone called Professor Tallis whom I don’t know, and George has nothing to do with him: I clip out photos of strangers from the paper to help me imagine my characters better.)

George from But I Told You

I also found a rejection letter for BUT I TOLD YOU. I have lots of rejection letters for various books – every writer has them. Sometimes they just say “No thank you.” Sometimes they say lots of nice things and then “No thank you.” And sometimes they say baffling things and then “No thank you” like this one. This one still made me want to spit.

rejection letter

No-one has ever before or since accused me of having too much plot in my first three chapters. Usually the criticism is that the beginnings of my books are far too slow.

Do you know what? It’s wonderful to know I shall never again be sitting waiting for a letter from a literary agent. It is a horrid thing to have your future life resting in someone else’s hands and to wait, day after day, week after week, month after month, for them to present you with it.

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