Thursday, July 9, 2009

My Journey

As I mentioned all too briefly in my first post I have ambitions about getting the manuscript for my first novel Veiled in Shadows published.

Wait, stop right there Al!

I should say something about my work. Veiled in Shadows is a thriller/espionage piece set in Europe during World War II against a backdrop of the Holocaust. It explores a number of themes from the point of view of several major characters. Included in the themes are: loyalty and treachery; notions of good and evil and how different frameworks can alter individual's ideas of what is right; the capacity human beings have to endure almost anything; perhaps most important is an exploration of the differing effects years of suffering and inhumanity can have on people.

So what is my problem? Getting published of course!

I finished a draft I was finally quite happy with about eighteen months ago.
I'd done all the usual stuff, inflicting it on friends and family etc.
Next I thought I'd get a professional opinion. I sent it off to a manuscript assessor, I chose Driftwood Manuscripts in South Australia.
I had a couple of months of anxious wait, to be sure friends and family had all been positive, but that comes with the territory.

The response I received from Driftwood was on the whole really positive, with the assessor using terms like "enchanting package" to describe the work. The assessor also provided some really helpful advice on a few sections he/she (Driftwood maintain the anonymity of their assessors) thought were problematic. In particular a section of the plot relied too much on coincidence. They also suggested I get a copy edit to improve saleability. I would like to stress here that this was not a sales pitch from Driftwood, they neither offered a service nor recommended any service provider.

I went with Pat Stone from Canberra as a copy editor. I was very impressed with her fast turn around and very reasonable rates. Also she did my ego no end of good with more positive comments about the work. Pat also warned me that what I had done so far was the easy bit. She warned that getting published would be much harder than writing a book of any length.

How right Pat was.

Enough about my book for now.

Just for something completely different a couple of photo's I took last autumn at Merimbula.
These fellows are soldier crabs. They feed along tidal flats at low tide in numbers of hundreds or thousands.

They are cute little guys, the little ones about an inch across. The biggest I have seen are maybe three inches across.
They do this amazing little dance to see which is the biggest and toughest.
Mostly they just seem to measure each others size; but if they are about equal, there is often a bit of pushing and shoving to see who is boss

And just to close a sunset, also at Merimbula.


Clare Dudman said...

Hi Al, thanks for visiting my blog! I thought I'd return the favour. What strange looking crabs (to me any way)! And that is such a wistful sunset photo. Anyway, very interesting stuff - and best of luck with your novel!

Kathleen Jones said...

I'm a well-published author and professor of creative writing and the sad thing is that thousands of really good books never make it to the book shelves. A good plot and a well-written book are no longer enough. You have to have a new angle, an edge, or be particularly marketable yourself. This is quite sickening when one sees the amount of c***p that gets published, when unknown authors with wonderful books do not. You've just got to be tough and determined and keep going and never give up. Send the book out to everyone and then get down to writing the next. Lots of authors get published at the second or third go and then their previous ms are accepted afterwards. Hopefully someone will love your first and publish it right now! I wish you every bit of luck there is.