I am not quite at the same mental low as last week, but I would be lying if I said I felt 100% stable.
Reading that last bit, I sound like a complete basket case. I wish I could say I didn’t feel some element of truth to it either. Maybe not so much a basket case, more a Tupperware box case? If nothing else, it means my crazy is vacuum sealed! It would appear that this Tuesday, I am in the mood to waffle.
There is no What Culture article this week for three reasons. Firstly, I haven’t been paid for the work yet, so I am not putting my fingers on the keys until I get my September pay-out. Second, the guy who has edited all my articles up until now, Ewan, has left, and I am not sure how I feel about it. I am not the worlds biggest fan of “change”. I am not sure if this is a mental health thing or just a personality thing.
The third reason is I was taking part in the Chicken House Books – Open Coop submission call/competition/thing. I took the week and thought about which of my half-finished horror novels for children I wanted to submit and then went to work. I boiled the concept down to what I liked about it, found all the salvageable parts from my earlier drafts and then set about writing a synopsis, sample chapter and cover letter.
I was pleased with the sample chapter. I think I have finally found my voice when it comes to writing. I had never written a synopsis before, but it’s far more straightforward and a lot harder than I first thought. It would be best if you conveyed a lot of big ideas with a minimal amount of information. At some point, I will try and boil my other half-finished manuscripts down to this and see just how weak they are.
The synopsis more or less wrote itself once I had that first chapter and a basic idea of who my protagonists were. The plot just happened; “If A does this, then B will do that, which will cause C too…” and so on. I will be honest and say I am scared shitless now. This submission is the first time I have allowed myself to get passionate about something and feel pride in something I have submitted. I am not sure how devastating the rejection will be, but if I didn’t at least try, I would never know.
There is only so long I can go on admonishing myself for not writing and then promising that I will start on Monday, only just to read comics and play video games. As a wise man once said, it’s time to shit or get of the pot.
The hardest part of the entire submission was the cover letter. It started well enough, introducing the book, giving it an “Elevator Pitch”, and telling them how much of the manuscript I had completed. The point the wheels came off was when I had to write about that git in the mirror. How does one talk in favourable terms about the one person you genuinely don’t like? I had to pretend I was a character in one of my stories.
Thinking like this, I will admit, did make it easier to write, but I also had to make sure I wasn’t making myself out to be the J.K. Rowling or Eoin Colfer. I think I managed it with a strange mixture of humility and sticking to the facts. Keeping it dry made it slightly more bearable, even if it might have hampered my chances a little or looked out of place in the otherwise light-hearted and confident letter.
Now, I am off to do the old day job. It might not be my passion or dream, but it puts food on the table and a roof over my head, so the job has got to count for something. It no longer buys me graphic novels; they come from money made during writing. Being able to say that makes me smile, so I must be doing something to right.