Once More Unto the Breach

Copyright Freefoto.comExcruciatingly busy the past couple of days. However, just time to make a couple of comments on Things That Have Occurred To Me Recently. (I’m yet keen to write a mini review of Murakami’s South of the Border, West of the Sun, but I’m still at the stage of tapping my teeth thoughtfully and staring out of the window.)


Via Steve Clackson, I’ve just come across a blog entitled ‘This Writing Life’ (trust me, there are loads) written by a professional scrivener called Mark Terry. As I write this post, the top entry is one on luck. Quote of the day:

There’s a word to describe writers who don’t give up: published.



It seems that Waterstone’s has decided to ditch their online partnership with Amazon and set themselves up with a fresh, spangly-new website to tout their wares. Joe Gordon – the ace blogger who was fired by Waterstone’s for posting uncensored comments about the workings of his Scottish branch – casts a wry eye over the proceedings on his blog, the Woolamaloo Gazette. He points out that Waterstone’s were quick ditch an earlier website that, in their pre-Amazon days, was an effective sales conduit. Why on Earth did Waterstone’s hand over a chunk of their business to Amazon? Joe has some ideas.

Luck and (hopefully) Judgement

Late this afternoon, I finished the last major revisions to my comedy novel Proper Job. This is now the fifth draft. Major changes were made to the first few scenes, which, though funny (according to my band of reviewers), read more like a series of sketches than the beginning of a novel. The problem, as I see it, is that the novel is essentially a love story (in the sense that the relationship between Fabe and Penelope provides the narrative drive), so the bit leading up to the introduction of Fabe and Penelope seems a bit irrelevant to the reader once they realize that ‘the game’ involves Fabe’s attempts to woo Penelope (and hold down a job, and make up with his brother; nossuh, life ain’t easy for my characters). The point at which the game is obviously afoot tends to be the point at which the story starts, so I’ve re-imagined the beginning to make the ‘kick off’ come as early as possible.

Two or three passes through the manuscript should polish it to the degree where I won’t get any more shine (this is draft five, after all), and then I’ll begin the game of pitting my judgement (the book) and against luck (the unlikely possibility that my manuscript finds an agent in a good mood, without distractions, who shares my sense of humour, with a gap in his or her list, etc.).

Once more unto the, um, you know.

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Ian Hocking

Writer and psychologist.

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