Alice Dryden (huskyteer) wrote,
Alice Dryden

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A Goal

Some of you know this already, from conversations in person or by email or snippets dropped in LiveJournal comments.

It's something of a big confession for me, as I'm a great believer in not counting chickens before they've hatched and these eggs are barely fertilised.

I want to write children's books.

This is partly because I'm not very good at plot and I'm hoping children are easier to fool than adults, partly because there's no way I could make the word count for a full-length grown-up novel, but mostly because in children's literature you can have talking dogs without needing to be all ironic about it.

Seriously: it's a genre I still enjoy reading myself, and I believe books read in childhood stick with you far more than those you read later.

Top of my wish list for Life is a work of children's fiction written by me and with my name on the cover, published by a reputable firm and available from all good bookshops. Oh - it would be nice if people bought it, too.

(Wishes are tricky. You have to be as specific as possible.)

I write in the mornings before I go to work. I'm really not a morning person, but I know if I tried in the evenings I would stay up late messing about on the internet while my word count remained static.

Last year I completed a manuscript of nearly 30,000 words and sent the prescribed first three chapters around a number of literary agents.

They all rejected it - in one case, when I submitted by email, within six hours - with a form letter.

Now we have computers and printers it's enormously easy to produce a decent-looking manuscript and bung it off. It shouldn't feel like an achievement, not when I know the lunatics who submit pages handwritten in pink glitter glue get exactly the same letter. Yet, somehow, it does.

I wrote something. It has a beginning and an end and some stuff in between which I flatter myself is fairly interesting, and I did it and it is mine. My first manuscript. The one that lives in your bottom drawer and gets published in an expensive, cloth-bound limited edition once you're famous for something else.

I have a thing going at the moment which is approaching the stage where it too gets polished up and packed off to the slush pile in a big brown envelope, and some notes and scenes for the next thing after that, about which I am excited at a level that's only sustainable until you sit down and actually try to start writing the bugger for real.

I can't call myself a writer, any more than I could buy a tiny drill and a chair that tips back and call myself a dentist. There is much I should be doing - joining writing groups, networking, scrounging anonymous hack work, trying to get on to the team behind Animal Ark - that I'm not. At the moment I'm really just writing to please myself, which I understand is not a great strategy in today's market.

It's time to stop noodling around and take this whole business more seriously. I have plans for this year, possibly half-baked ones but plans nonetheless, and a list of goals post-dated and eyes-only at the top of my LJ which I see every time I visit.

It feels good to have shared this after holding it to my chest for so long. I hope it doesn't sound too daft.
Tags: writing
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