This is going to be a bit of a download so stay with me. Blogging allows me to do this and I always feel lighter after emptying my head of thoughts onto a blog post.
The unexpected curveball
Last week I had an unexpected writing curveball. I got an email to say I was through to the next round of the Penguin Christmas Love Story competition. This was a competition I entered back in February.
The idea for this new story came to me in January…6 seconds…after I’d opened up a lovely and positive rejection email. It was from an agent about another story I’d been working on last year. That story had been like a love affair for me in 2020. It had taken me on such an exhilarating ride and had gained agent interest. My feelings for it had changed over Christmas and this sounds crazy but I was secretly glad the agent had rejected it.
At first my new idea scared the hell out of me because I felt I couldn’t do it justice. This was a new feeling for me. I love new ideas and always end up cartwheeling around the garden when one comes to me. But, this idea, filled me with creative terror. So, I spent a couple of weeks trying to ignore it and worked on my romance series which I was planning to self-publish.
The post it note for the competition, which had been stuck to my desk for weeks, kept catching my attention. I knew this idea would be a good fit for the competition as it was a Christmas romance but my writing confidence at that time wasn’t great. During a video call with some fellow writers from the Next Level Authors Podcast my cat, Wellington, decided to walk across my desk, knock off the post it note and strut past me with the post-it-note stuck to his fur. I’m a big believer in signs and took Wellington’s decision to wear my post-it note as a fashion accessory as a sign. I decided to write the competition entry, 1000 words, a 200 word pitch and hope the big, scary idea went away.
The universe obviously had other ideas. Last week I got the email to say my story was through to the next round. Eeek! I would like to point out that up until now I have had NO luck with writing competitions. So, when I submitted it I didn’t expect to hear anything back.
I have to write more of the story and submit mid-April.
Back at the start of February I sent the first book of my romance series, Roxy Collins, to my editor. Deep in my gut (the only place in your body which tells you the truth) I knew this book needed more work on it and prayed my editor would feel differently. As I have said before editors are special people who have been blessed with the magical ability to see what’s really going on with your draft novel. I knew when we had our critique phone call my editor had shone a bright light on my draft novel. My gut instinct was right.
As much as my brain is urging me to start work on the changes to Roxy my gut is telling me something different. I have therefore decided to put Roxy Collins and her diaries on hold until later in the year. Her story needs more cooking time and she deserves 100% of my time. This is one of the benefits of self-publishing as you can revise your timings for books.
This new story is taking shape in my mind at an astonishing rate and I want to get as much as I can down onto paper. If I am not successful with the competition I know this story has potential.
I do feel lighter now. I am going to go get all festive and wrestle with this Christmas story idea.
Keep writing 💃