2017 was a year of writing highs and lows.
By June I was ready to throw the hat in, having had several rejections, one of which was a Prima Competition, and several other submissions where I got absolutely nowhere. Writers naturally have wobbly confidence, and mine is dreadful at the best of times. But then I had a breakthrough.
My application to WoMentoring Project was successful, and Sophie Orme is now my mentor. I wrote about it here.
On the initial feedback from Sophie I rewrote the novel I had been working on – Every Time I See You.
I also got more feedback from fellow writers and authors in the Irish RNA group.
I re-wrote 75,000 words of that novel again during the school holidays and submitted it to the RNA New Writers Scheme with hours to spare for the Aug 31st deadline. I exhausted myself, binge watched The Crown on Netflix and also ‘Anne With an E’. I highly recommend both, but not if you have a writing deadline.
So I did no work in September and October on the novel, and waited on feedback from the RNA. However, I had another little breakthrough when my pitch got favourited on one of these twitter pitches. I submitted my manuscript, and although she didn’t love it enough to want to represent me, it showed where else to improve, and also that I did have a chance.
Early November I got my RNA feedback and I was thrilled with the feedback. They liked it. I had a list of corrections, but yes they liked it and could see it being picked up by someone and being published. Hooray! I can at least write a complete novel that someone wants to read. All is not lost.
Roll on the end of November and I was starting to fall apart trying to sort out the edits following the feedback.
Let me tell you, if you think writing a first draft is painful, then structural edits are like giving birth with no pain relief. Trust me, I’ve done it and its not funny.
And then in late, late November, the icing on my writing year.
I got back a charity critique which I’d received as a present last Christmas from S.A.L.V.E. International. Mine was with Kate Elton from HarperCollins. Yes, the Kate Elton from HarperCollins.
She liked my book. She said I could write. She liked my writing style. She thought the novel had commercial potential. She loved Chapter One. Actually lots of people love Chapter One. I just want one agent to love chapter one – chapter 41!
So there it is. Kate Elton, likes my book.
I might not have got anything published in 2017, but I wrote a huge amount of words. I re-wrote my novel lots of times, and Kate Elton thinks I can write. And that, as far as I am concerned is a reason to celebrate.
Here’s to 2018