Remember that e-mail from Agent 2 (ignore the James Bond connotations, bear with me) asking me where I was based? And my reply of ‘rather too near the ceiling to catch my breath’?
Well as it’d been a good four weeks since he learnt of my proximity to Luton, I decided that the “No News is Good News” maxim was stretching it a bit and he was probably so unstuffed about letting me down gently that he couldn’t be arsed or else he was still trying to hone a cleverly-worded rejection.
Fledgling writers have rather less optimism than your average person. That’s why we’re fledgling. Like struggling baby birds who want the wings but haven’t quite got the strength behind them to take on the flight we desperately crave.
Although I did allow myself just one other last glimmer of hope and that was the London Book Fair (thank you, Deborah Durbin for once again showing me the end of your particularly encouraging wand, illuminating this fact and time spent being swallowed up by this annual event). Bide my time, my friendly witch calmed me. Bide. I’m good at biding.
Then lo and behold an e-mailed arrived not a few days later. (She’s GOOD).
Which should have come with with an oxygen mask attachment for all the breath I could draw. And I still never open my eyes for a few seconds if I see an Agent's name. I used to be like this with the National Lottery draw – and since we don’t’ do it anymore, we’ve ‘won’ £52.00 on it in the last 12 months (yeah?) I’m still like it with Deal or No Deal. But I’m digressing.
And if Digressing could secure me a book deal I’d be on par with Barbara Cartland by now.
I double clicked. I couldn’t even read it. Just scanned the reply.
Which was not brief by any means. And my first reaction was ‘great – not only does he not like it anymore, he’s going to tell me precisely why he doesn’t like it which will render me and “it” useless in the face of re-subbing in the future because it’s ALL WRONG and CRAP and other words associated with the word ‘Reject’.
*inward wail but audible from where I’m sitting*
But... Agent 2 was saying that he still likes the book, it has “a brilliant voice” (not in a Katherine Jenkins way) and a “great concept” and said he'd asked his colleague to have a read who’d made a list of comments, observations, suggestions - who also said it was “enjoyable, light-hearted and fun”.
I like her.
Then I read the list and thought my head would explode starting with a slow bleed from the eyeballs. And after being scraped off the virtual ceiling by my amazing friend, Keris, who is always the first person I turn to at times like... well, every time actually - I re-read it a thousand times and on the thousandth and one time, the magnitude felt less extreme and it all felt a lot less scary.
So, even though the work on it could amount to days - weeks perhaps, of re-writing and re-planning and undoing and unpicking and re-stitching and maybe even a load-bearing wall knocking through with the help of a literary JCB, it IS do-able.
Without affecting the storyline and without compromising the integrity and humour of my lovely lovely characters who I breathed life into and without whom my own life would be so much less fun.
And we all know what come to the Bear who Bides, don’t we?
Oh, and did I forget to mention that I finished my time-travelly book this week too? I did? Well, I did. As you can see from the word-count-ometer thingy over there. So now I have another baby who just needs a nice tidy up and a bit of adorning here and there before she, too, is allowed to see the light of the slushpile. Ah… I knew there was a Ma Walton in me somewhere – I just didn’t plan on the labour pains being quite so protracted!