My goodness, it is August. Yesterday, I was too busy processing a rather exciting Saturday to post this month’s update! More about that in a minute, as first I must tell you about my time at the bottom of the emotional roller coaster, or this blog would not be the fair exposition of the writing/publishing process that I had promised you all.
There are many wonderful writing prizes that are presented annually or biennially here in Australia. In a good year, there are four that accept unpublished Young Adult novel length manuscripts from someone of my age. (I say that not because middle-aged YA writers are rare, but because one of the prizes is for writers under 35. Sadly, that is no longer me, although hopefully I make up in wisdom what I lack in youthful exuberance these days. Otherwise, I feel short-changed! However, back to the point.) This year only one of those prizes was run and while I entered it hopefully, I knew I would be up against many other excellent manuscripts.
Sure enough, I missed out on the shortlist, which was the height of my aspirations, and I was disappointed. More disappointed than last year, when I’d felt in my bones that the MS I’d entered wasn’t quite up to scratch yet. I had a bit of a pout this time and allowed myself a few days to feel like a very average – possibly less than average – writer. Feeling your feelings is important, people tell me! It sucked. But it sucked less than it would have when I was under 35. Because I don’t think I was ready then for ‘the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune’ that are the reality of the publishing world. Some people are. I was not.
At the grand age I am now, throughout my sulk, I knew the feelings would pass, that at some point my writer self would stand up again and say, um hello, i ‘m still here and i’m not going away and you need to get back out there. Knowing this helped immeasurably. The following week, I was getting back on the horse, eating less chocolate and drinking less wine – LOL not LOL! – when a dear little email popped into my inbox. It was from an agent requesting ‘a full’ of my first YA – which means she had read the ten pages and the synopsis I’d sent her and liked it enough to be interested in reading more. Well. Prize shortlist? What prize shortlist?! (Though seriously it was a great shortlist with amazing writers on it and you can find it and the deserving winner here!) I am just so heartened that, whatever happens, this particularly wonderful agent wanted to read more of it! 🙂
Then, this Saturday just gone, I attended the Kidlitvic online conference and had a double request for manuscript from the two publishers I pitched to! Well, knock me down and pick me back up again! Here we are at the next upswing of the Luna Park roller coaster, looking out across Port Phillip Bay and St Kilda, wind rushing through our hair! (Actually never in real life…. literal rollercoasters make me pass out ….shhhh, keep that to yourself. Oh and also, I don’t live in Melbourne anymore, but let’s not get bogged down in details!)
So, that’s where we are now. There’s still an awful lot of waiting going on with a few spikes of intense activity at times! I’m working on my next story, which is taking a little longer than usual, possibly because I’m writing from the viewpoint of a 17 year old boy, someone I have never been, not even in the distant past. And the story has a sad beginning, which takes time to do well enough.
It’s been three years since I sat down and started writing seriously. My first manuscript – a contemporary adult novel – is still in its drawer for now. The next two are out trying their luck in the big world. They have to be marketable as well as decently written. I have little control over the former, but I can keep working on the latter and hope for the best of luck!
To all my fellow writers seeking publication, may the words and luck be flowing. To those of you reading because you are an important person in my life, hello and may it be a good day in your world. And to you all, thank you and blessings.