Saturday, 7 November 2009

Writing pleasure and pain

I'm listening to Vaughn William's Fantasia on a theme of Thomas Tallis. It's a piece of music that I associate with my first book, Torbrek and the Dragon Variation, and I am reminded of the pure visceral pleasure of writing it; the innocent thrill of creation, unequalled since. It all went straight down on to the page, reckless POV shifts, authorial interjections, slabs of backstory; nothing got between me and the intoxicating sensation of story telling.

These days I'm a much better writer. But that huge first joy is lost; not so much because I'm aware of technical concerns that went right over my head when I was a novice, but because of the consciousness of the near impossibility of getting published these days. You not only have to write a book people will want to read; you have to get that book on to the desk of an agent at precisely the moment she is hoping for a book like yours to arrive, and that's tricky.

I know, from the feedback I've had from agents, that my third novel, currently called Heart of Rock, is in the top 5% of the slushpile. I'm sending it out on its second wave of submissions. Can I just tip it over the edge? I don't know.


  1. Lexi,

    I think that is what ultimately separates the Writers from the Almost Writers, keeping at it when it becomes something other than a lark. When the initial urge to tell a story combines with the realization that you have to tell it well. It's tougher, no doubt, but if you can still do it when it becomes a bit of a JOB, then you've lifted yourself above much of the crowd.

    In my estimation, you're already way above.

  2. Ah, thanks, Alan. Thanks too for all the helpful advice you've given me over the last few years - you are a jolly good editor, though it's not what you do for a living.

    Isn't the definition of a professional someone who can do the job when he doesn't feel like it and isn't in the mood? If one can write coherently with toothache, one has probably reached this happy state.

  3. Hi Lexi
    I have something for you on my blog here:
    Cheers, Sandra

  4. Thanks, Sandra, I'm working on it.

    Hi Sonia - I had a look at your blog and it's all little rectangles - maybe this is a language problem?