Many old blog friends will no doubt be wondering where on earth cocaine jesus, that bane of bloggers has gone to? Where has he been? What has he been doing? Does anyone really care?
Perhaps the final question is the more pertinent. Does anyone really care?
I hope so, I really hope so.
The past few months I have focused on completing my novel, my daft old bit of odd nonsense tales. 'The Village Tales of Fekenham Swarberry is now finished with only a few amends to be made. I am very grateful to another old blogger who has done enormous amounts to correct my mistakes (spellings and punctuations)and also given the whole story a polish it wouldn't have had. I am also grateful to that self-same individual for his understated advice that has/is given with such sensitivity and without appearing to be dictatorial or 'pushy'. A lot of which I have acted in making the relevant changes as his wisdom strikes a chord; one that only a fool would ignore.
You all know this man but I will not, without his consent, name him here although I am sure you will all guess. I have never met the man in the flesh but without a doubt, he is a friend (even if he is a country bumpkin!)
Normally with me, I do things in a random, heat of the moment type way with little or no revision. I have always enjoyed that spontaneity, that sort of write, publish and be damned. Not so with Fekenham. Those madcap tales mean a great deal to me so and have had me working long hours to get them into a fashion that I feel is good enough to go with. Even now I have serious doubts about, not only my small ability but also, the stories themselves. I mean, posting Fekenham on the blog is one thing but turning those same vignettes into chapters with those chapters then into a novel is another matter entirely. The story I have written is short, about 76,000 words, which has me worrying that it isn’t long enough, that it isn’t how a real novel should be. But what have I got to lose? If nothing else my story is typical of someone of my generation; a brief blast as if from a punk song. At least, that is how I see it.
Writing the book may seem to have been the hard part but in truth it is only half the battle with the hardest bit to follow; now I have to convince either a literary agent or a publisher of the worth of my book. Armed with my trusty Writers and Artists’ Yearbook 2008, I have been scouring the pages to learn all and any bits of wisdom contained. Fortunately, it has bundles of advice with lots of it coming from some very successful novelists. People like J.K. Rowling, Alexander McCall Smith, and Terry Pratchett. Another worry that anyone, anyone who wants to write that is, has is the fear that their words will fail in a literary sense; that they will not be as talented or gifted with their command of English, (perhaps I should say words here as many great authors are translated into English from their native tongue), and that they will be judged against literary giants such as Albert Camus, Haruki Murakami, William Burroughs, Gabriel Garzia Marquez but the cold, hard truth is that, as many publishers will affirm, their one overriding concern is - does it sell?
That is the one thing that no one can ever know and has to be left to the judgment of those whose money will go to, hopefully, promoting, advertising and publishing me.
To all those who have come to this very site and left the odd comment without a single reply, then please accept my sincere apology. I enjoy your comments and your continued support with luck I will soon be counting upon your patronage when you buy the book but first things first.
The next stage is to write a letter of introduction and, acting upon the Writers and Artists’ Yearbooks considered opinion, I will then have to select six literary agents along with six publishers and send them my letter with, possibly, a synopsis and some sample chapters. Then we have the long wait as both agents and publishers can take months deciding if the concept and manuscript are worthy. Of course, I think my idea is good but then again I would, wouldn’t I? but I do not have their know how.
The one thing that I do know, succeed or fail, is that I love writing and as much as I have dreamt of being the next author of a Harry Potter franchise, the only thing I want to do is to make a living from writing. Oh sure, the fortune that lady has made is fabulous, not so sure about the fame, but I truly would be happy to keep hearth and home ticking over just by the art of spinning a good tale and having people like, buy and read my stuff.
Keep your fingers crossed guys. I am going to need all the good vibes I can get.
all words and art are copyright © of C.J. Duffy.