Sunday, February 24, 2008

Alas and alack…

Aside

We were up bright and early on Saturday and MTL popped out to get a paper when the phone rang. It was the birthday boy with the news that our grand-son had got the tummy bug that is plaguing their area and he wanted me to decide whether it was worth risking MTL and me getting it. We decided that I would discuss it with MTL and then phone him back. I rarely take health risks – certainly not where my husband is concerned – he takes enough himself – but it was my son’s birthday and I was so looking forward to a Sunday walk. I phoned my other DIL but as soon as I spoke to her I realised it just was not worth the risk. They themselves suffered it and she was certain we shouldn’t go. So we didn’t. We decided to cheer ourselves up – have an early lunch and go to the flicks, of which more later.

It’s odd when you have an unexpected free day. It seemed a good opportunity to do something I have been mulling over for ages. It’s a pipe dream to make a book of ‘Past Imperfect’. I am under no illusions of how difficult it would be to interest a publisher in the present literary climate, but at least I can start to clear the decks. At present all the posts are jumbled up together although everything is double- backed and burnt to CDs. After today’s efforts, I have listed all the posts in order and separated them from all the asides. My next step is to get it all on one document which should be well on the way to a first draft. I’m amazed to find the word count is over 89,000. Apart from more editing (I do edit all the time), cutting and shaping are needed.

Zinnia where are you when I need you? Off in foreign parts getting up to goodness knows what. I am in unfamiliar territory now so any advice will be appreciated. The trouble with disappointment – it engenders comfort eating. It must stop and I pledge to lose 7lbs by the summer (Indian or normal- who knows?)

26 comments:

Carmi said...

Good call on not taking the trip: considering how easily tummy bugs flip from person to person, you would have been exposing yourself had you gone.

The trick when writing and editing large-scale projects is to devote small amounts of time to the task each day. No matter what else you have on your schedule, set aside the time and stick to it. The very big job will get cut down to size very quickly

Popped by from Michele's tonight. Good to e-see you again, Pat!

kenju said...

I wish you luck with the book, Oat. I think it will be a very good read!

I need to lose at least 10; good luck with that too.

PI said...

Carmi: thanks for the excellent advice which I intend to follow.

Judy: I need to know what Oat means:)
We'll lose it together. Ready - steady - GO!

Z said...

Everyone is dieting. Everyone. Good for you, for dealing with it before it becomes a problem - if I'd lost the first few pounds I wouldn't now be busy losing two stone.

Good luck with the book. And I'll think of you as Oat all day!

PI said...

Z : thank you:} What can it mean?

R. Sherman said...

I think a book is a marvelous idea. I know nothing about the process, but perhaps engaging a literary agent first, for ideas on what's selling would be a good idea.

Cheers.

sablonneuse said...

Publishing your posts as a book sounds like a great idea. I wish you every success.
Sorry to hear you missed the birthday but I agree it seemed the right decision under the circumstances.
As for comfort eating - it's my downfall.

PI said...

Randall: thanks for your thoughts. I'll probably concentrate on getting it into a respectable state first. I'm stuck with the content I'm afraid:)

PI said...

Sablonneuse: join the club. Did you ever read the 'Three fat women of Antibes?' BTW I loved your comment on Jonny B's. Laughed my sox off.

OldOldLady Of The Hills said...

Oh Pat...I applaud you for getting everything in some kind of order!! BRAVO, my dear....And much good luck with the editing, etc....(I think Carmi's advice is invaluable!)
And I think you made the right decision too, about not going where there is a virulent germ about.....These things today seem very very bad....! So many people here are sick with some terrible Flu stuff...So, do be careful, my dear Pat.

My Oscar post will be up tomorrow...!

Sam, Problemchildbride said...

There's nothing wrong with a wee bit of comfort eating now and again, in my opinion. If we start feeling too guilty about it it'll only make us want to eat more. A little of what you fancy does you good, I reckon.

I'm really glad you're thinking along the publishing lines, Pat. Your story deserves a much wider audience, not least because you tell it so engagingly. And look at us lot here! We run the demographic gamut in terms of age and nationality and the differences in our lives, and we all come by here regularly to read your story. If you can keep all of us interested, there's every chance your book would cut across the focus groups and be of interest to many, many people.

If you're looking for an agent, be sure to direct him or her towards Past Imperfect - the community you've built up here is a huge selling point in getting your manuscript read.

I wish you all the luck in the world with it.

PI said...

Naomi: I'm so glad to have started and am making progress. It needed a rare free day to inspire me to do it and even if nothing comes of it it's far better to have some sort of order.

Sam: thank you for those encouraging words and I'll take note of what you say. It's good to have an extra project - keeps my brain from shrivelling. I've just finished a first chapter. - 4,000 words. I wonder if there is a fixed length?

apprentice said...

Sorry you missed out on the trip. I'd recommend reading the whole thing through in a printed version,noot making any changes, just treat yourself as a general reader. It will give you a good feel for the heft of the whole piece. Then go back with your editor's pen and cut,shape and move bits.

You've already got a really good narrative style. I think people will be also really interested in the modelling parts, things like what the make up was like, I rember my Mum's cake mascara, and powder compacts, the fabrics and how magazines were orgainsed etc.

I think you'll surprise yourself when you're finished.

Zinnia Cyclamen said...

I'm back, I'm back, three cheers for you!!! I'm so glad you're going to take your own story as seriously as your readers do. But look, you don't need me, you've had excellent advice from lots of other people. Having said that, things I would suggest for your consideration include: an Arvon course on writing from life; check out relevant how-to books (I have a big collection of novel-related ones and find them useful to dip into, especially when I'm a bit stuck); read Petite Anglaise's autobiographical book-based-on-blog which has just come out, and read some of her contemporaneous blog posts too to identify the differences. For a book, you need a narrative arc, a theme if you like - from what you've posted so far, it seems to me that the love story of you and YTL is a big part of that, also your determined independence at a time when women overall weren't as independent as we are now. Don't forget that non-fiction sells better than fiction, which may help in interesting a publisher. Have you read 'An Ordinary Woman' by Margaret Forster? That's biog rather than autobiog, but written from the subject's diaries, and very well written at that - quite a page turner. Email me if you like, I'd be happy to 'chat' about this at more length. And I will be supporting you all the way. Go Pat Go!!!

PI said...

Anna: I have started doing that and it makes sense - I mean the doing of it - not necessarily the story. Most of it I haven't read since the day I posted it. I'm sure it is the right thing to do and I'd better get on with it. Thanks:)

Zinnia: thank you - especially for your offer of an e-mail chat. Your advice of 'how to' reading I shall follow - fortunately I have a birthday coming up. The petite Anglaise sounds a good bet - especially the comparisons and I always enjoy Margaret Forster. As you say I have lots of good advice and what is clear to me now is that I need to get my head down and - as Carmi says - do some EVERY day.
It feels the right time suddenly. BTW I'd love to go to the Devon Arvon again and have been looking at the on line brochure. Some of the relevant courses are already booked up and with home committments I 'll probably have to leave it for this year.

Kanani said...

Well, editing is my least favorite part. It's rewriting and often I find loads more to do than I'd anticipated!

Sorry to hear about the flu that was going around. Sounds like you made a good choice to just avoid it. We had something like it passed around for about 5 weeks. Awful!

xxx
Kanani

Jon said...

Hi, hope you don't mind me adding my tuppence worth. Two important points to remember about publishing a book.
1) Planning is vital to success, from what I've seen on your blog you've got that angle sussed.
2) You will have to sell yourself and your idea to a prospective publisher, so a well worded and properly laid out query letter is vital.

PI said...

kanani: I realise that actually I have been working on it for two years, so actually getting it together is easing my mind quite a bit. But I have to remember that although I'm working on it now from the beginning I still haven't finished it, and the climax, when I am reunited with MTL isn't written yet.

Jon: delighted to have your input.
I agree with what you say and have to research suitable publishers. I thought along with a covering letter, a synopsis/profile and maybe a sample chapter.

Jon said...

It may be better not to send a sample chapter with your proposal letter. Contact your chosen publisher first, in your letter give a brief outline of your book word count etc, and also ask if he would prefer to see the full manuscript or a couple of sample chapters.
That way you not only save yourself some hard work and also the price of postage.

PI said...

Jon: yes that makes sense and makes me realise I an nowhere near a finished manuscript. Better crack on:)

Eryl Shields said...

Lat week I met a literary agent who specialises in literary non-fiction her name is Jenny Brown and you can find her on her website Jenny Brown Associates. You will need an agent to sell your book to publishers and so do some research to find one that covers your type of work and also, Jenny suggested, deal with the newest recruit to an agency as they will be looking to build their portfolio. Once you think it is ready to send off, send a covering letter, a synopsis and the first three chapters. Literary non-fiction is doing well these days, publishers like anything a bit quirky.

Hope that helps.

PI said...

Eryl: many thanks - that is very interesting. One of my oldest friends is a Jenny Browne. I have opened a file of useful advice so that when the time comes I can get on with it. At the moment I'm stuck:( The decision to do the book has momentarily(I hope) blocked the flow.

Nea said...

You can't get writers block now, we want to know what happens next!

PI said...

Nea: oh alright then. Just for you.

Kim Ayres said...

I have no idea why, but I've kept drawing a blank when I've gone to comment on your later posts. So I thought I'd drop you in a comment back here just to say helloooo :)

PI said...

Hi Kim! It took me a while to find you. Sometimes my comments go to Dash board and miss my in box. Gawd knows why!