Wednesday, 31 December 2008

Writing, Nathan and Bookbag


"There's good reason for this rule to apply -- one of the absolute most important attributes of any successful writer is the ability to scrutinize their own work in order to improve it and make it better. The minute a writer starts thinking what they write is genius is the moment they stop scrutinizing their work for places where it can be improved upon, changed, or, most importantly of all, removed. A healthy skepticism is an essential tool in a writer's arsenal. Also bourbon."

This quote comes from Nathan Bransford's blog and it is so true.

However, it is too late for FAR AFTER GOLD. In exactly one month's time, my book will out in the world for public scrutiny. I cannot improve it now, but believe me, I worked hard on it, and I learned a great deal about writing while revising it. The picture above is my image of Oli, one of the characters in the book. Elaine Dingsdale of Bookbag says in her review: He's a beautifully depicted character who really brings the book to life with his hero worship of Flane and his empathy with Emer, whom he immediately recognises as a kindred spirit and fellow misfit. His maturity and attitude were tremendous and with wisdom beyond his years, I was moved close to tears on several occasions."

This time of year is for reflection on what has gone and what is to come. I'm comfortable with what I've achieved in 2008. I'm not one for making resolutions and even less do I broadcast the ones I think about in my deepest thoughts. What I will do is spend the next month publicising my book whenever and wherever I can. It needs my help. I'm an unknown name and I don't want Quaestor to regret that they took a chance on me.

I'll still be working on KEEP TRUST, which is going well, but I must become a PR person. It doesn't come easily. Those who ask me about my writing must think I don't want to talk about it, because I can never think of anything witty or interesting to say about it. To say creative writing takes up most of my waking hours sounds pretentious and dreadfully snobbish, and unless the person you speak to does it themselves, it is hard to make the subject interesting.

Perhaps when (if, girl, if) I become established, (if ever) I'll have learned how to talk about what and how I write and an interesting and friendly way. I remember how Phillippa Gregory performed so confidently at Bowes Museum and applaud her. At the moment, I feel tongue-tied with embarrassment. And I notice my over use of the word interesting in this piece.

3 comments:

Linda Banche said...

Congratulations on your 2008 accomplishments. And you don't have to broadcast your resolutions. I prefer seeing a person's accomplishments instead of a plan list. Making a plan is easy. Coming through on it is hard.

Yes, PR is difficult. Doing it goes against the grain for me, too. But let us know your PR plans so that we can come and help.

Happy New Year
from another unknown

Jen Black said...

Thanks Linda - indeed I will let you know. I hope all is well with you.
Jen

Anonymous said...

Hi Jen,

Just wanted to let you know I dropped by and loved the excerpt from Far After Gold. You've got me hooked and as I'm currently reading 'Dark Pool' and recently finished 'Banners of Alba', I know I won't be disappointed! Keep up the good work. Congrats on the Bookbag review too. Warm regards, Carol Harvey