Friday, 9 May 2008

So it starts again…

I’ve done it! A whole six weeks (yup - count them!) in an office with people and printers and sweets and spreadsheets and meetings and marbles (actually no marbles – that was just to keep you on your toes). It was great fun to be this efficient office lass with her pashmina for a while but oh the relief of going back to being me – back to being creative, back with my writing and books, back in my flat, back to my story.

The budget has now been shored up with sticks, and I have a month or two clear to get my red pen busy with editing. I have also successfully pitched an idea to a London magazine that I cannot wait to get cracking on (quirky London history is my forte!), and in the near dim and distant future will be editing a factual book that should test my subbing skills. Bring it on, is what I say! Oh yes.

I got talking to a children’s book author the other day (as you do) and gave him one of my children’s book ideas to see what he thought. It was really interesting advice (basically keep working on it, try and develop a ‘voice’, think whether a publisher can see more than one story in you) but it was what he said about the illustrations that really struck home. I had experimented with a new style for two of them, and one he liked, and the other he didn’t, and he pointed out the bits in the picture that didn’t work for him. I instantly saw where I had gone wrong – I had run out of steam, and had finished it hurriedly, instead of really working on it. This worries me slightly, as I knew that with that particular drawing, yet I still showed it to him, and presented it as ‘finished’ when in reality, it needed more time. I’m not altogether sure with these children’s books of mine – they were something I did at University and I think they need ‘a lot’ of work to get them up to scratch – the picture book market is very, very tough. Something to pop on the back burner, maybe…

In the meantime the flat is a tip. Me and J have been scudding in and out of the flat like clouds across the sky over the last few weeks and the result is little pockets of mess everywhere I look. So it appears my first job will be a spring clean, followed by a scrub – and that is just me! My hair is starting to look like an unravelled brillo pad, it has been so long since I last had it cut. So I have decided tomorrow is to be a day of treats – new hair, new clothes, new shoes (well, why the devil not!) and then I can really settle down. I have a bundle of old newspapers dating back to the 1700’s to work my way through – friend C’s mum and dad have a house that is part home / part amazing museum. They let me borrow a suitcase full of old treasure… erm, newspapers, to see if there are any from 1940's etc to help the book, but apparently they go back even further than that, something that keeps the historian in me very happy indeed. I have also been collecting old books on different decades from various charity shops – oh yes, my home library is alive and thriving. J is thrilled, I tell you. Thrilled.

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