Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Stalling

The novel is now in its third incarnation. It’s been tweaked, pummelled and teased. I’ve read it through so many times I can no longer hear the rhythm of the language. I can’t tell if it jars or if it flows. The first five chapters have been re-arranged. Vast tracts of text have been cut out like malignant tumours and dumped into metaphorical specimen jars. I’d like to take the analogy even further and say it’s been rebuilt like Steve Austin. The world’s first bionic novel. But to be honest I haven’t got 6 million dollars to throw at it.

The point is though it is now ready to be placed into a Moses basket (mixing my metaphors here like the crazy dude I am) and sent off downstream to prospective agents, one of whom may favour it and me by clasping it to his/her bosom and taking it on to the promised land.

All I need to do is write the covering letter, the synopsis and some sort of CV / About Me document. And I’ve written versions of all three of these. They just need finishing. Salient information adding. Tidying up. The work of a single afternoon.

All I need to do is put my mind to it.

And yet my mind insists on putting itself elsewhere; on finding a hundred and one other, less urgent things to do.

I wonder why?

Is it fear of (re)entering the rejection game? My natural loathing of all kinds of admin? Or just plain laziness?

I suspect it is all three. But it occurred to me today that if I am not careful I will spend the same amount of time just physically getting the novel sent off to an agent as it took to write the ruddy thing in the first place.

This blog post is meant to be a boot up the backside to myself – but do feel free to add your toes behind it.

Quit stalling, man! Get it sent off. Faint heart never won fair maiden and all that.

Besides which I have ordered a few reference books ready for my next novel. Various guides to sign language and deaf culture... which may possibly give you a small clue as to some of the subject matter.

It’s time to draw a line under the old and commence with the new.

What's the sign for "stop prevaricating and get on with it"?

Give me a week or two and I should be able to tell you.


38 comments:

Heather said...

for godsake man, stopping fannying about on the internet and get it done! It's pathetic, a grown man like yourself, hiding from your fears like this. stand up, grow some backbone, get the damn thing finished and sent already!

that kind of thing?

Steve said...

Ooh Heather. Do you normally charge for this type of thing? Do you dress up as well? ;-)

EmmaK said...

JUST DO IT!!!
Believe me some of the rejection letters are quite funny especially those form ones that are like 'thank you for your play about George Bush but we do not accept plays' I got once from an agent I had sent a novel to.

The Dotterel said...

Oh, sorry.... didn't mean to intrude! (She goes to naked parties, you know, so maybe the answer to the costume question is a 'no'.)

But for what it's worth, I'd take your time. My book went through about two dozen serious re-writes, most after I'd shot my bolt with various agents/publishers. And be prepared for the long slog. (I'm sure you know all this anyway, but still.)

Oh and one more thing... good luck!

Steve said...

Emma: was it a novel about George Bush or was that something bizarre they just threw into the mix as well?

The Dotterel: I think the long slog is what I fear the most. It was a long slog just writing the thing in the first place. But now that I've come this far...

ArtSparker said...

I hear you, I do notice that when I get on with it it's the only time I feel complete, that everything hasn't come to a halt so that conflicting needs hold me in stasis.

French Fancy said...

You can't give up now Steve. You wrote the thing - now go out there and do the next step.It won't post itself you know (waggles finger and makes tut tutting noise)

Selina Kingston said...

Get on with it man! You say you feel ready to get it out there so what are you waiting for? Stop reading your comments and get on with what needs to be done. DO YOU HEAR ???

Rol said...

Get it sent off...

Then start writing the next one.

Steve said...

ArtSparker: I know what you mean. I always feel much better for clearing the decks but a period of pre-clearing prevarication always dogs me for the weeks leading up to it...

FF: yes, ma'am!

Selina: *sniff* yes miss.

Vernon Carew said...

I once heard a famous musician who when asked about the secret to his success where others failed and he said, 'The two most fundamental keys to reaching his goal were persistance and just doing IT!!'
Push your work out there and if someone rejects it have belief in your ability and push out there again.
A young disillusioned woman wrote her first major manuscript and sent it to 12 publishers to receieve 12 rejections and array of pathetic excuses.
Bloomsbury the 13th took the gamble and accepted to publish on conditon she'd agree to only a trial of 500 books be published and only for libraries.
Now,400 million book sales worldwide and £15 billion pounds later I think Bloomsbury were glad they took faith in this J.K.Rowling.

Steve said...

Rol: sage advice from one who knows... thank you.

Vernon: JK's story certainly has persistence as its moral... I may cling to that in the hard times ahead!

femminismo said...

What can I say? I've never even finished one of my novels. But surely you're not as lazy as I am. If something is holding you back - the fear of success, the worries of not being able to go out in public without hordes of folks trying to rip off pieces of your clothing - then get help to deal with it. But definitely send it off and keep working on it at the same time!

Candace said...

Uh... Moses never actually entered the Promised Land. He hit a rock instead of speaking to it and well -- you know the rest.

Am enjoying your two blogs very much. Found you thru femminismo and am really glad I did. (So I can hide...)
Good luck with it all.
Candace, Still in Athens.

English Rider said...

Dear Author,
If only we had received this brilliant work sooner. We were searching for something just like this and had to settle for one that had been sent in that we don't like half as much.
Regrets, The Publisher

Steve said...

Femminismo: to be honest, I'm more concerned about being chased down the street by lunch mobs...

Candance: thank you kindly for dropping by - do hope you'll do so again.

English Rider: ooooh... that hits the spot!

Alienne said...

Well, I do hope that after all the berating and encouragement you have actually got on with it! You'll feel a lot better when you have.

missbehaving said...

You really should hurry, I heard about a guy who found a memory stick with a finished novel on it nad he's planning to pass it off as his own, he's writing the cover letter right now...

Vicky said...

As we say here in Australia "feint heart never won a fat chook" - go forth and submit the book, the force will be with you.

Owen said...

You already have the flamethrower, so you know what to do with the sources of rejection... so go for it ! And if it doesn't work out, there's always Somalia... so nothing to fear...

Steve said...

Alienne: you are completely right of course. Prevaricating only prolongs the agony.

MissBehaving: aaargh! Just as long as it's not Jeffrey Archer...!

Vicky: thank you Jedi master!

Owen: this is true. Alternative job opportunities abound in the third world. What am I waiting for?

French Fancy said...

Okay Steve, what is the status report on the synopsis? Done your CV yet?

Get off the blogosphere and go and do it!

You'll thank us all in the end - when you are a Famous Author.

Reluctant Blogger said...

Oh but this is so often the case, isn't it? I'm just the same. I am good at getting things done to that point just before they are completely finished and then I just can't motivate myself to send them off, or if it is decorating, finish the little bits in the corners or whatever.

But you will feel so much better to shift it off your plate onto someone else's for a while. It'll feel good. So do it!

Joe Bloggs said...

You've got nothing to lose (only the potential success; the millions of readers, the cash, the film royalties etc etc) and everything to gain.
I mean, think of how many authors didn't have the option of - as a last ditch attempt of getting read by someone, anyone; bar vanity publishing, or, before that, lots of munks to make hand-made copies - of publishing at the press of a button.
Okay, shoot me! :just tryna look on the bright side.

Clippy Mat said...

"Procrastination is the thief of time." Edward Young
"Procrastination is something best put off until tomorrow." Gerald Vaughan
"To think too long about doing a thing often becomes its undoing." ~Eva Young
"Procrastination is opportunity's assassin." ~Victor Kiam
"shit. or get off the pot." clippy mat.
hope this helps.
;-)

Steve said...

FF: all I really need to do is dig out the old poetry mags I have poems published in so I can add them to my CV... just means going under the bed where the dark crawlie things live... ulp!

Gina: "you will feel so much better to shift it off your plate onto someone else's for a while" - this, more than anything, really sells the idea to me!

Joe Bloggs: I quite fancy having an army of monks making illuminated copies for me, all hand written on deer hide. Hmm. I wonder where I can find me one...? I'm sure they've got plenty of time on their hands and I could probably pay them in turnips.

Clippy Mat: love the last one. And I'm normally so regular!

KAZ said...

You are obviously not lazy - so it must be your 'natural loathing of all kinds of admin' - which I share. Trying to rush through and get it over with doesn't work as it usually comes back boomerang style and takes twice as long to put right.
Get a cup of tea and a BIG bar of chocolate, relax and say it's going to take hours and hours.
You may be pleasantly surprised.

Steve said...

Kaz: you had me at "BIG bar of chocolate".

French Fancy said...

Forget the poetry mags being mentioned on the cv. I'm sure it won't make a jot of difference to an agent reading - and being riveted by - your first taste of the novel. I'd go straight to working on the cv.

Steve said...

FF: you're possibly right but I feel the need to prove that other editors and publishers have found my work worthy in the past...!

The Sagittarian said...

Of course by now, since I am late in commenting, you will have already sent the thing away and will be like a school kid waiting for exam results WON'T YOU!

Steve said...

Amanda: I love it when you come over all schoolmistressy... I've finally dug out all my published works - poems, short stories and articles and added their details to the CV. All I need now is for my editor (the wife) to give it all the once over and me the green light... then I'm good to go!

lunarossa said...

As everybody else has already written everything about your post, I just would like to add "good luck" and don't forget us when you are really very very famous! Ciao. A.

Steve said...

Lunarossa: ah - good luck. The nicest, most welcome advice of all. Thank you.

Löst Jimmy said...

Get that sent off, I've said it before and I'll happily say it again...it is worthy of a readership. Plus I want a bound copy on the bookshelf here in Victory Mansions. Don't be put off you have just got to keep plugging it, a publisher awaits I am sure.

Steve said...

Löst Jimmy: you're a gentleman and a scholar. Thank you.

A Write Blog said...

Not sure it is entirely stalling.

I'm in a similar boat.

However, I'm going to read it all through again after having left it alone for some time.

That way it will seem new and some of the areas of concern brought up by others who have read it may seem more obvious.

Well, that's my excuse.

Steve said...

AWB: can't knock your reasoning! For the last week or so I haven't really got near mine anyway - work has kicked off at the moment - (nor yours for that matter) and I'm beginning to wonder how I had the time to write the thing if I can't now find the time to read it!