Friday, 14 March 2008

Coffee break

Sorry about the delay guys – I’m having a fairly crazy week at the moment (I worked until 1am on Wednesday!). Anyway, I hope you’re all sitting comfortably with a nice cup of coffee or maybe some afternoon tea (it’s not quite late enough to say cocoa, thank goodness!).
I had been thinking about posting something to do with genre this week, as it’s been floating around my brain since I received feedback from one of my reviewers that from my first three chapters, they couldn’t tell what genre they were reading. I had hoped that my vague musings on this would have coalesced into a reasonable post by now, but I just haven’t had the brain space, unfortunately.

However, it now seems that talking about our little community, and the things we get out of it, would be more appropriate with all the talk about meeting up. I joined the Novel Racers back when I was making my first tentative steps towards writing seriously, which was something that had always been in the back of my mind, but I needed a little encouragement to get going. What if people laughed at me? Joining the Novel Racers helped me get over that fear, and got me writing. Since then, I’ve written nearly 40,000 words and planned a lot more. I’ve also told most of my friends and family about my literary ambitions, none of whom laughed! I honestly I wouldn’t have made it that far by now without a regular dose of Novel Racing action. Reading all of your blogs, and the posts on this blog, made it clear to me that whatever else was going on in my life, there were people who understood the centre of it – pouring words out of my brain and into my story.

Our shared experiences, the wobbles, the cases of writers’ bum, and most importantly, the genuine affection that has grown through cyberspace and into real life is now on the verge of going one step further. Whether we all actually manage to meet up or not (and I really hope we do), isn’t it wonderful that we all want to?


Leatherdykeuk said...

It's pretty cool, yes ;)

I'm a bit disheartened today. A rejection came which said that although the writing was competent and publishable, the story was unimaginative and predictable. Go figure. I've sent it out again.

Lucy Diamond said...

It is indeed a wonderful place to be, the Novel Racers blog!

I've done no work on Novel 3 this week....BUT I have had the news that it's going to be published, along with a fourth novel - whoopeeee!! So I am feeling VERY happy about being Lucy Diamond for a while longer.

Now I just have to write the thing...thank goodness for you lot, giving me a prompt every Friday!
Have a good weekend everyone x

Fiona said...

Interesting point about genre.
Does it have to be in a certain genre?

A. Writer said...

Yep, joining the Novel Racers is one of the best things I've ever done. I feel extremely privileged to be part of this group.

I've said it before, if it wasn't for you guys I'd have given up ages ago. Now I've got a completed novel sitting beside me. I can't believe it!

Thank you so much! xx

Helen Shearer said...

I think it's great that we all want to meet. I sadly can't make it to Manchester on such short notice but I would love to meet up with everyone in the future.

About genre - why do so many writers try to categorize their work? Isn't that the agent/ editor/ publisher's job? I thought that the writers were just supposed to produce the best work possible and leave the business part up to the business people. Or maybe I'm way off. Maybe I need to start thinking about what to call my wip when I finish it.

I am happy to report that my dry spell is over and I have been getting more work done. Hopefully I can finally push on 'til the end.

Rachel, don't listen to them. How many people said that Harry Potter wasn't commercial?

Have a great week everyone.

Zinnia Cyclamen said...


NoviceNovelist said...

It's a great place to come and know you're not the only one banging away on a story while the house falls down around you, the kids are starving...okay maybe a slight exaggeration... but it can be a lonely old life this writing - It's so good to be able to talk about it in all its glory!!!!!

Rowan Coleman said...

Congratulations Lucy! And Rachel, keep going - you'll get there. I've enjoyed being part of the racers because writing is largely a solitary business and it is so nice to have a group of people to share news, discuss writing and generally get to know. I hope we pull off a meeting! I think we'd have fun.

Helen said...

I have no idea what genre my story will fit into. I'm thinking young adult at the moment but who knows. I just want to get it down first of all...then I'll assess it once I have.

I wouldn't have made it this far either without everyone here. It is lovely.

DOT said...

I feel I should creep guiltily into this blog with my tails between my legs as I have not commented, nor indeed blogged, for some months. Let's just say times have been tricky. However, I have recently posted on my blog and I have been writing. I am presently working on two, yes, two books!

It works for me. I find when I hit a cul de sac on one, I can make progress on the other. And as the two are so totally different in style and genre, if not in philosophical outlook, I never get confused. (If you knew me better, you would fully appreciate what a triumph that is.)

wordtryst said...

The best part for me is sharing the ups and downs of the writing life with people who understand, and who are supportive.

Leatherdykeuk, that's one agent's opinion. Agents and editors express opposite sentiments about the same work all the time (I know, I've had it happen to me). It can simply mean that your writing is not a good fit for that particular agent. Keep on sending it out.

Lucy, congrats!

liz fenwick said...

Love the Novel Racers.....

I think you need to have idea of genre so that you can target the right agent/pub other than that its not too important.......

Hugs on the R Rachel but keep going 'cause I love your stories :-)

WTG Lucy!!!

Welcome back DOT. Pleased to hear things have improved and your are writing again.

I have thought through the breakthrough on the rewrite so once I have time to write again I think I can fix the problems with the work :-)

JJ said...

Hi all, I think it's great we want to meet. I just wish I didn't have to make a decision about where and when because it rules out some people no matter what I decide.

So I've made some progress planning this week. Today I'm tidying (excavating) my desk and now I've made a HUGE mess and have to clear it up... Ewugh.

Lane said...

This is certainly a very nice place to be. It's inspiring, encouraging, supportive and there's always someone to answer our numpty queries.

Leatherdyke - unimaginative?. Noo. Send it out pronto.
Dot, nice to see you back:-)
Re genre - I agree with Rowan who has advised us many times - write a good book and don't worry about categorizing it. Wise words.
Good luck with the meet-up arrangements JJ. You'll just have to go with the largest number of votes. We should arrange regular (yearly?) north/south meet ups.

Debs said...

I think this is a great place to be. It's great to have connection to other people who have a common interest and who encourage each other as they write. It helps me to know that I'm not the only one having wobbles.

L-Plate Author said...

I echo Debs' thoughts too. I think if it wasn't for you novel racers who keep my spirits up through every wobble, I wouldn't have dared send out my chapters. But send them out I have. Proud to say I posted five submissions off this morning. Please keep everything crossed for me!

I don't 'know' anyone else who has an obsession with words so it's great for me to get and send emails, leave messages etc. And the spooky things is, don't you think there are so many similarities between us all?

Cal said...

Genre? That's a tricky one. My novel's in a sub genre that doesn't exist in the UK at the moment but does exist in the states (supernatural chicklit). I'm hoping that won't count against me and that an agent, and publisher, decide to give it a chance.

I've had a good week. I've finished the rewrite of novel #1 (hooray, I can cross my name off the list on the left) and am justing reading it through/listening to it (see my blog) before I send off the full to agent #2 on Monday along with the outline and a 'chunk' of my second book.

This time next week, of course, I'm may be sobbing into my keyboard during coffee break because it's been rejected but you can but hope.

The novelracers is a brilliant group to be part of. It encourages me, motivates me, reassures me, inspires me and the wealth of different experiences in the group is incredibly useful. Over the last two weeks I've been 'racing' A.Writer and L-Plate to get our rewrites done. I came in third but that's not important. If it wasn't for the other two posting their daily word counts I wouldn't have felt half so inspired to get on with my own rewriting.

I think I'm going to take a week off writing next week and, instead, do a bit of brainstorming on novel #2. If writing novel #2 has taught me anything it's the importance of sketching out a rough plot before I start writing.

Rachel - Unimaginative? Are you kidding me? If it's the same novel that got through to the second round of the Amazon comp all I can say is "Did they even read it?" I don't think I've read ANYTHING more imaginative than your novel extract in the last few years. Rubbish agent. You wouldn't have wanted them anyway.

Cal said...

p.s. I've just updated the sidebar to reflect this and the fact that L-Plate and I have started drafts of new novels. If anyone has finished anything listed in the sidebar or started anything new please let me know.

L-Plate Author said...

Thanks Cal, even thought I feel a fraud because I started off doing a new draft. I did enjoy the 'race' and I'm sure if it wasn't for you I wouldn't be finished yet. It was a nudge when I saw your percentage had gone up again!

And funnily enough, you've just given me the buzz to go back to book three as I wasn't that enthused after doing two and getting nowhere...yet.

I am down for doing a first draft, I'm at the bottom of the list under my real name (what you're surprised it's not L-plate? I feel really attached to it now!) When I first joined, I wasn't sure of a blog name so Liz kindly put me on as my name and then added me to the first draft list. In light of your recent posts, I'd be glad if you'd take me off please. You never know.

Clare said...

Genre is a pain in the bum I can completely relate to. My two novels so far have been hard to classify, genrewise, and it's something a few agents have used as a reason for not taking me on. But having said that...

My agent loves the 2nd book, as does the German publisher who has just bought it (yay!), and when I asked my agent about genre, he simply said, "Don't go there. It's contemporary fiction. End of."

Some agents and publishers get in a right old state about genre, others don't. If you are *trying* to write, say, a chick lit novel and nobody can tell that's what it is, then you have a problem. But if you're not aiming for any particular genre, then maybe you are simply literary fiction or contemporary fiction, and maybe that is enough? Don't tie yourself in knots over this, focus instead on writing a really good book.