As usual, scroll to the bottom if you just want to read the next instalment….
Wow, is it Friday already! How fast time goes (it does when you’re old!) hey, I’m only 43! (middle-aged, and in the process of a mid-life crisis – tandem skydive – I ask you!!) What’s wrong with that! I’m very brave and it’s for charity! I have two weeks until I brave a skydive, I’m making sure that I have got as far as I can with book two and that I finish this series on the Newark stories – just in case anything happens. My other half can sell it and make millions after I plunge to a flattening death. (Hope not – what about me – you’re selfish??) Anyway, enough of that – back to the writing stuff.
So, this week’s blog is more about submissions. If you are in the process and have any tips etc – please share – it all helps. I’ve sent out two more submissions and have a couple more ready for next week. When you embark on writing a story you don’t realise how many skills you need, especially for selling yourself (Oi, oi!) not like that! When you submit to an agent or publisher they all require different things. For the latest one, I needed to do a one-line pitch, a one-page synopsis, three comparisons to other books/authors, plus info about yourself (bet you didn’t struggle with that bit!). That right there is a lot of work and you need to use a lot of different skills to achieve this – selling yourself (oi, oi) is not something that comes naturally to most people – and it’s hard to do this without getting too cocky (yep – she said it! I’m in hysterics here people) okay go with arrogant then! Child. I would recommend thinking of some of these bits and bobs as you are writing your book – or when you are reading other work – think about how that compares to yours.
Luckily, I had a booklet called ‘How to perfect your submission’ by Scott Pack – I received this free in the writing magazine I subscribe to – so so useful. Either get yourself this, or something similar when doing your submissions, I cannot tell you how useful it was to me. If you have any book etc you use – feel free to share.
A couple of tips for finding agents. I went into Waterstones yesterday and looked at a few thrillers which is the genre I’m writing. I looked at the dedication page to see if any had mentioned their agent or publisher – low and behold they had!! (that’s clever – I will give you that one!) So, top tip; scout around the genre you are writing in – then check them out online, twitter etc (stalking again) Also, another good place for info is Twitter – I would recommend anyone to get involved. So far they have been very very supportive and I’ve got loads of tips and help. Writing is a lonely job – so even virtual support is very welcome.
When you are doing your submissions I would get it all written up and then step away for a few days, come back to re-read and just double check everything. I check out the agents website and see exactly what they are looking for – write it down on a list and check them off. E.g if they want double spacing, only one attachment, who to address it to etc. Also, get someone to check it over if you can. It’s a nerve-wracking time and it’s easy to make silly mistakes. Unfortunately, you are not likely to get a second chance if you address it to the wrong person – they often get thousands of submissions a year.
Right, I think that’s my ramblings for one week. Good luck if you are in the same boat as me with submitting your work. Don’t give up. Persistence, and keep on learning is the key to success. (she hopes) We can but try and hope someone sees how good our work is.
The next instalment of the Newark story is below – the other parts are available in previous blogs. Hope you enjoy it. Poor Ben is in a spot of bother…
If you want to sponsor my skydive this is the link (Shameless plugs – I like it!)www.justgiving.com/fundraising/howtodoamidlifecrisisbykarlaandclair
Part 4: Interrogation
Ben picked up the cup of tea they had kindly provided at the station. Truth be told he could do with a proper drink – but that’s what had led to all this trouble! The coppers on duty couldn’t hide their laughter when they booked him in with the outfit he was wearing, he had got some strange looks when the police officer had led him through the market square, where the stall holders were just setting up.
In the interview room he’d spent a while explaining to them why he was sneaking out of the castle in a Viking outfit with two mobiles, and wallets not belonging to him. He thought they believed him, but they had gone to check out his story. Pete and Ric would find this hilarious, he would make sure they paid for this.
The door opened, and PC Simons came in and sat down across from him. He didn’t look very happy. This wasn’t good.
“Okay, we have spoken to Pete’s wife Karen and Ric’s wife Lisa. They have confirmed that they know you, and that you all went out in fancy dress. But, I’m afraid they haven’t seen or heard from Pete or Ric since you all left last night.”
“What do you mean?” Ben’s fuzzy head couldn’t make sense of this.
“Basically, your friends haven’t been since you went out last night. I’m just in the process of getting the CCTV from the area so we can see when they left the castle. We are also going to speak to the pubs to confirm you were actually in there.”
“Where could they be? It doesn’t make sense. We all went in there last night. I told you I woke up and they were gone. I thought they were playing a prank on me!”
“That’s something else we need to discuss. It could be that you will be prosecuted for breaking and entering the castle.”
“But we didn’t break anything! It’s a bloody castle for god’s sake. The Undercroft was already open. We didn’t break in.”
“Well you did jump over the castle gate, but we will discuss this later. Firstly, we need to solve the mystery of your missing friends. Can you go over one more time what happened when you woke up?”
Ben repeated the story. He was getting a bad feeling. He suddenly had a flash back to waking up and someone saying something about some barrels and something was a bit weird or wrong. He couldn’t tell if he had imagined this; he was so drunk.
“Have you remembered something?” PC Simons asked.
“I’m trying to remember everything I can. I was so drunk. Something just came to me about barrels or something like that. Maybe one of them saying something wasn’t right. It’s just snippets of memory, nothing I can take hold of.”
“Snippets? Well that doesn’t really help us does it? I’m going to take you back to the holding cell to sleep this off a bit and try and get a bit more information before we chat again this afternoon. Is there anyone you want me to call?”
“You mean I can’t go home now? Look mate I really haven’t done anything. I’m as worried as you about Pete and Ric. I just don’t understand what’s going on.”
“We can’t let you go until we have looked into the situation. You’ve been found in the early hours sneaking out of the castle, in possession of items not belonging to you. These people are now missing, and you are the last person to see them. You must see that we have to look into this?”
“Yes, but. Okay, please can you let my parents know? They will be worried sick. Please try not to worry them.”
“Okay. Come on, I will take you back to your room.”
Ben thought the word cell might be more appropriate, it wasn’t a hotel!
Four hours later he was led back into the interview room. They’d provided him with some food and after a sleep he didn’t think he would manage; he felt a little better. His mind felt clearer. He kept coming back to these words; barrels, gates, mobiles being lost. Memories he couldn’t quite grasp. Also, he now remembered hearing some women’s voices. He better not mention that to Pete’s wife!
“So, how you feeling?” PC Simons asked.
“Bit better actually, although worried, any sign of Pete and Ric?”
Ben hoped that they had been found.
“No, I’m afraid not. We have you entering the castle grounds on CCTV and you leaving in the morning but nothing else. No sign of Pete and Ric leaving. The pubs have confirmed that you were there. I suppose you all stood out! Apart from that, nothing. We’ve had Pete’s wife demanding to have her hobby horse returned – she seemed more concerned about that, than her husband.”
Ben sniggered, and then shut up smartish when PC Simons looked at him.
“Is there anything else at all that has come to you?”
“No, nothing. I wish there was. Am I allowed to leave now? I really don’t know what else I can tell you.”
Ben thought it best not to mention the vague things he was remembering until he had it straight in head. He didn’t want to come over as being unstable.
“Yes. We will provide you with some clothes to leave in. We have kept yours for forensics to look over and I suspect you don’t want to return home in that outfit. Please do not leave the area as we may still have questions to ask.”
“Wait you cannot seriously think I’ve done anything,” Ben was feeling scared, “They’re my mates, I wouldn’t hurt them. There must be an explanation for it?”
“Well, when you find one, be sure to tell us. In the meantime, you need to report to the desk every morning at ten am and afternoon at two pm. Fail to attend, and you will be remanded in custody. Do you understand?”
Ben nodded. This was a nightmare. Where were they…