Thursday, June 21, 2007

Mr Mosse's Deadline


I haven’t even started writing my first novel yet and already I am at the mercy of an imposing deadline. Not self-imposed either; this is a fair dinkum submission deadline that could affect the outcome of my proposed writing career. Always the drama queen, aren’t I?

In July, The Jingo and I are heading to the Harrogate Crime Writing Festival in, well, Harrogate. Three days of fun filled seminars, interviews and drinking sessions with some of the best known UK crime writers as well as a few US authors thrown in for good luck. I’ll write up a prelude soon.

In addition, the organisers are putting on a full creative workshop day on the Thursday, which I have signed up for. It includes sessions on writing and publishing by those who know what they are talking about.

On top of all that, there were limited spaces available to have a free critique of continuous text or treatment/synopsis by the author and creative writing teacher, Greg Mosse (husband of Kate Mosse – no not that one, this one) and a one-on-one session with Mr Mosse for twenty minutes at the festival.

Well of course I fell over myself to sign up for this one! Great opportunity for a critique by an expert!

After much deliberation, I opted to submit a 3,000 word treatment for my first novel, instead of the first chapter. My theory was that feedback on my plot is more important than on my style (and my style will feed through the treatment anyway). Whether that theory is wrong or not, I’ve gone too far down the track to turn back now.

Deadline is 7th July – a week before Harrogate. I’m aiming to finish the week before the deadline, just in case things go teats up.

The good news is: I’ve finished the first draft of my treatment. It clocks in at 3,227 words and therefore a bit of culling is required. However, this is a far cry from the 5,885 words I was faced with at the start of the week. Subplots had to be solemnly removed; minor characters wiped off the face of the screen amidst much protestation, and the use of semi colons was stepped up a level; really cuts out the excess words; you know what I mean; I’m sure you do.

All in all, despite the fact that the plot looks nothing like what I started with, I’m happy with the first draft and I believe it will serve its purpose. I just need to do a bit more trimming, move a few things around and come up with some character names and it will be done.

Side note: Character names! The bane of my existence! Ideas are welcome.

What I want out of my session with Mr Mosse is his advice on whether my novel’s plot will work or not, whether it is exciting enough, whether it is saleable or whether it just sucks the root. Be it expressed with thumbs up or thumbs down (or even a slap to the face), his opinion will be quite invaluable. Better to find out how crap it really is now, then when I’m trying to flog off the finished product to a bunch of unforgiving agents.

Whatever comes out of the session and the creative writing day, I am going to take it all on board – its all going to help, no matter how harsh the criticism. Looking forward to it!

Well wish me luck; I’m off to eliminate 227 words off the face of this planet we call Earth.

Help me semi-colon, you’re my only hope.

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