Tuesday, 1 March 2011

Endings - and beginning again

Well, finally, I've finished the first draft of the new novel. Although it's always a relief to write that last paragraph, (especially if you're pleased with the ending!), this time I feel slightly apprehensive. Is it any good? Well, we always ask ourselves that, don't we - but my confidence has taken a bit of a knock, and this book is so different from my others that I'm finding it hard to judge, hard to know how much editing I need to do before taking that scary step of sending it off 'out there'. It's a bit like submitting my first novel, all over again - but this time I feel more wary of getting carried away with excitement. Times are harder. Rejection is all around us. Will anyone be interested in my new idea ... and even if they are, will they be willing to take a chance on me this time around?

Of course, there's only one way to find out, as we all know: edit, improve, submit. I'll feel better once I've taken the plunge and sent it out for the first time. Onwards and upwards!

Meanwhile, to bolster the flagging ego, I've had THREE short stories accepted by the same magazine within a week! (Thank you, lovely PF!). Two of these had been under consideration for quite a long while and I now have very few short stories 'out there' as I've been concentrating on the novel. So I'm looking forward to getting back to the shorts again soon, for a change. I've also heard from Jill at The Weekly News that the (only) story I've had accepted by them was actually published in the 1 January issue! She's had computer problems and some of us didn't receive notifications, but she's promised to send a copy. I hope I do receive one - I'd hate to miss seeing the first story I've sold them!

And I gave a successful talk yesterday to another U3A group, in Harlow - a lovely, large, receptive audience. I work hard at preparing my talks, and try to make them interesting and fun as well as informative, but I realised yesterday that I don't even get nervous about them any more - which is quite amazing, as I'd never have imagined myself giving talks at all, years ago, and certainly wouldn't say it was something that comes naturally to me! Like most writers, I prefer putting words down on paper than speaking them! But it just goes to show - as we get older, we can get used to anything! Yes: even the rejections!


  1. Well done on completing the novel, Olivia! It's a diffcult time, isn't it - the waiting and the wondering and the thinking of all the things you could/should have included/excluded. But very good luck with it.

    I'm glad you can do short stories as well (congrats on the sales, by the way!). I find that I've lost the knack since I've taken to novels, and while I have sent off a couple, my heart really wasn't in it. I don't know why. I think I've just got into the habit of writing at length, and worrying away at one thing rather than constantly thinking up new ideas.

  2. Well done on finishing the book and on the short stories. Finger scrossed that the book is a success.

  3. What great news about your stories, well done. I'm sure your new novel will sell itself, but I can understand you being scaried about sending it out on its own.

    Good Luck, Olivia

  4. I'm very wary after all my excitement of last year. Reality has set in and I've realised even having an agent is no guarantee of publication! I'm sure you'll be fine though, and the new novel sounds intriguing.

    Congratulations on the story sales too, and the talk :o)

  5. Well done on finishing the first draft of your new novel, Olivia! That's fantastic.

    Also congratulations on your PF successes - it's brilliant.

    As you say, onwards and upwards!

    Julie xx

  6. Thanks, everybody!

    Frances - I stopped writing short stories for a few years when my first few novels were published, because I was still working full-time and only had time to concentrate on the books. When I retired, I decided I should try the shorts again because I knew publishing was becoming tricky, and quite frankly I needed to keep earning a few pence! I don't write as many shorts as I used to - but I like having a change sometimes mid-novel.

    Colette - thank you. I'll be sure to keep you informed!

    Jamara - I'd like to feel that confident, but as you know, it's always a gamble!

    Karen - I know how you feel. Even being previously multi-published is no guarantee of being published again, trust me!! I always include a bit of a reality-check in my talks, by the way. Not negativity. Just warnings! People are often surprised ....

    Julie - thanks for your support, as always. x

  7. Hi Olivia,
    Congratulations on PF acceptances. I keep sending, maybe one day. In the meantime, I'll keep reading. I've put you on my list of stylish blog awards. I had mine from Teresa Ashby. No obligations.

  8. Thanks Suzy. Yes, keep trying PF - the good thing is that once you do get accepted, the editors there (in my experience anyway) are endlessly helpful and encouraging. I think the most important thing to remember with their stories is that nothing about the realities of today's world can creep in - no divorce, no sex outside marriage, no arguments, nasty thoughts or unpleasantness of any sort! Imagine writing to a sweet little old lady. Not that all PF readers are like that, of course, but that's what the editors want!

  9. Congratulations on the short stories and good luck with the edits.

  10. Thanks, Keith. The book is now going out to the only people I allow a look before I submit: my three daughters - to be subjected to their criticism!

  11. Hi Olivia! Well done on finishing the novel - fingers crossed.
    I love writing for PF too - they are great people to deal with and it's lovely to write stories with a more positive outlook on life.
    I too have nominated you for Stylish Blogger award, as I enjoy reading your posts.x

  12. Hi Lydia! Thanks for your good wishes. And thanks too - to you and to Suzy (sorry, I forgot to say it before!) for the award. x

  13. Congratulations on finishing your first draft and on the PF acceptances!