Monday, 29 September 2014

The Age of Miracles

Alright? Long time no see. I’ve managed to improve my lot in life. How, you may ask. Well, let me tell you…

It mostly started a few months back. Tired of trying every agent in the Writer’s and Artist’s Yearbook and getting rejected, I jumped at the chance of attending the 2014 Festival of Writing. I booked my Saturday, sorted two copies of the beginning of my book, and sent them ahead of me for perusal by the agent and book doctors with whom I’d booked discussion sessions.

Thing is, actually getting to York from The Sunshine Coast (A.K.A. not London) was shaping up to be a public transport nightmare. I would have to get a bus to the train station, get a train to The North, change to a taxi to get to the B&B I’d booked, and then rely on buses to get around.

After scratching my head over the possibilities of a flight from Southampton to Leeds Bradford airport, and how I was going to get to Southampton in the first place, and how to get from Leeds Bradford airport to the sodding B&B, I went with ‘fuck that’ and instead went about looking into hiring a car for the weekend.

Quite unexpectedly, I ended up buying a second hand car. A year’s tax and MOT came with it, and I was set. Literally all I had to do to get it to York and back, not a small feat at around an 600-mile round trip, was buy it some engine oil. Now that’s what I call a result.

Anyway, the festival was great. Walking into the hall and seeing all the people - the writers - waiting around just as I was doing was oddly pleasing. People were generally politely curious, happily chatty - ‘What kind of books do you write?’ - ‘Have you seen what Hodder & Stoughton are starting next year?’ - ‘What version of Scrivener do you use?’ - ‘Do you do that thing where you move the scene punchline six times before putting it back where you had it?’ - and so on. Not one person looked at me like I was a flake, someone who pretended to be ‘in the arts’ because they wanted to sound creative. It was… nice.

I don’t like to mix with people. So I didn’t. I was happy to be by myself, and have my one-to-one discussions with the agent (very exciting to hear her enthusiasm for my book) and the book doctor (who pronounced it a 9; if it’d had gone up to 10 or 11 he’d have taken it himself to hand to an agent). I was so stoked; I’d finally got a car, and it was all for booking this epic weekend for myself. I’d had professionals look at my work and decide that it was a biscuit away from being taken on by an actual agent. And to top it off, Saturday night after the festival my sister and I found a really nice pseudo Mexican place that did AMAZING chimichangas. Sorted.

And then it came to pass that my mate had a mate who had an empty top floor in his house. Yep, you’ve guessed it - I jumped at the chance of renting it. Back to no distractions, back to my own space, back to my own time and mood and feeling like I want to spend four hours writing and no-one can stop me. All the notes I got from the agent and the book doctor? Yeah, you bet I’m going to spend the next few weeks and months working on them, on my book, and turning it into an 11. I’ve spent too long sending it out and getting it turned away; this next agent on my list is going to look at this and demand the rest of the manuscript. And then it’ll all snowball into representation and a publishing deal. FINALLY.

A friend of mine once said that the year of the snake was my year. I think this year, the year of the horse, is turning out to be my year.


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