Tuesday, 12 January 2010

So...the call

I'm happy to report that 'the call' happened as planned today, and they were lovely & chatty, not anywhere near as scary as I'd imagined . :o)

There was a lot of positives to draw on, they said they feel that my chapter hit the sassy tone of MH well, and that my voice is contemporary & sparkled with a unique & sexy style.
I reckon I could actually  die a happy girl after that!

There are necessary revisions though, and loads of things to think about going forward. The main concern is that my story includes a child, which they feel is an incredibly tricky thing to pull off.
I have to say that I can totally see what they mean - i've been finding exactly that as I've progressed on from where chapter one left off. It's an accomplished skill to be able to write in a child without allowing them to take up very much of the word count or get in the way of spontaneous action - def something to leave for later down the line in hind sight.
We discussed options to move the story forward, and i'm going to think on it to see if there's a way I can make the premise work without the child in it. It's quite tricky as lots of the emotional conflict hinges around the fact that my hero is a widower, and without that in the mix a lot of the fundamental elements of the plot have to go too. It's not impossible, but the fear is that in changing the scenario too much I might end up losing the spark that's there now, and I don't want to force the characters to fit the plot.  The alternative option is to shelve it for now and do something completely different, which thankfully they've said they'd happily read. As I said, loads to mull over.
I'm hopeful that I'll  find a way to make it work for Jack & Nancy though, as I'm fond of them and would love to finish writing their story.
On the phone today they encouraged me to really push the boundaries, so that's the plan i'm gonna go with... stand well back! :o)


  1. Joanne, I've just read your chapter and synop and passed some feedback onto Robyn. So funny, as soon as I sent it to her, your comment popped up on my site!

    Great chapter, BTW! And LOL on the broodiness...my children have that affect on people, until they see my boys in action. They have been referred to by my friends as birth control.

  2. haha maisey, i know exactly what you mean - i only have to look at my own boys and that new baby broodiness suddenly stops!

    Thank you for reading my chapter, it's really kind of you guys to cast an eye for me.

  3. Hi Joanne, sounds like you got a lot out of your call - good luck going forward!

  4. Fab comments, Joanne. But good idea re letting the characters drive the plot rather than the other way round. It's a tricky thing to get the hang of - taken me at least a year!
    If it's any consolation, my runner-up ms was R'd because I didn't change it enough so don't be scared to rework completely. In fact, I'm still in the process of re-writing it and it is a completely different story now.

    Good luck with the boundaries! I'm still trying to figure out where they are. :-)

  5. JOanne --

    It is possible to be a widower without producing a child. Equally, it is possible to be widower whose wife and child have died.
    Children are v hard to include and keep the focus where it should be.
    Whatever the emotional conflict, it needs to be focused on the relationship rather than on the relationship with one's child. If this makes sense?
    And sometimes it is easier to create something new and wait for one's skill to become such that you can execute it with ease, and truly do justice to the story.
    But the editors are lovely people.

  6. Huge congrats, Joanne. They love you :-)

    I think you're doing exactly the right thing, take some time to decide what you're going to do next and then get right into it. Can't wait to hear which option to choose.

  7. Wow - sounds like you had a great call! If it's any consolation I know how daunting it feels. I just rewrote my partial and had to take out the three things that i thought made it - Chrismtas, Boss/Employer and Family interactions - no idea whether I did it right or not yet!

    Good luck whatever you decide :)

  8. Hi Becca, thank you!

    Hey Jackie, thanks for the encouragement - I think I'm going along the lines of a major re-work, hoping I can do it without killing it all together. Boundaries - who knows eh?! Mysterious.

    Hi Michelle, thank you for your wise words, yes it does make sense. I'm trying at the moment to revamp things without the child or widower status involved at all, and surprisingly I think I might actually like it better this way. It's early days though, i could well send it back for them to say it's a pile of tosh. :o)

    Hiya Joanne, fab to see you here, thanks for sharing my excitement.x

    Hey Rachael, I'm glad i'm not the only one to be daunted by big changes. I'm learning it kind of goes with the territory doesn't it? Hope you get some good news soon on the partial.

  9. That sounds like a fantastic call. I'm so pleased it went well.


  10. I think you're right that it goes with the territory but it doesn't make it better at the time - lol!

    BTW... meant to ask, did your editor clarify what 'push the boundaries' actually means!?

  11. Thanks Suzanne x

    Rachael, no...pushing the boundaries remains a bit of a mystery to me.
    She said to think about 'pushing the boundaries to make to a really fresh and exciting read,'. I'm thinking it must mean think outside the box, maybe try not to kill anyone?! lol!

  12. Don't ya just love these phrases!? LOL!

  13. Wanted to add, Joanne, the MS of mine that was accepted had to be rewritten at some stage. Well, the last half of it anyway. And I was afraid of changing it too much, but in the end, just erasing all that text and starting over from the middle on gave me so much freedom, and the MS was much better for it. If I hadn't have given the thing a facelift...er...a whole new face...I don't think it would have gotten accepted.

    So, as Jackie said, don't be afraid of changing it too much. Although it sounds like you're already tackling it head one!! Good for you!

  14. Hey Maisey, it's really heartening to know that, thank you.
    Pressing delete is haaaaaard isn't it?! But as you say, you have to do it in order to be able to fix it and make it stronger.
    I'm actually kind of enjoying the process of thinking about my wip differently though - i'd got it all so set in my mind, I just hadn't given myself any space to imagine how it could be similar but different, if that makes sense?