Pitching time again.
Which means I’m living in my bi-annual state of heightened terror.
This time, though, I’ve called in the cavalry. I’ve asked for more help over the last month than I have in the previous couple of years put together. Asking for help is scary and you don't need me to tell you why. All of us are - to some extent or another - fighting the inner voice that keeps telling us we should be arriving fully formed; skilled and talented, brimming with ideas all ready to be expertly executed. The need for help runs counter to this narrative. If I'm having to ask, I must be struggling, right? Shouldn't this be easy? Other people don't seem to have these problems...
And feedback can be bruising too. Over the last three weeks I've had an edit on Payback from the mighty folk at Chicken House. But not content with that, I'd also tasked two beta-readers with pulling every last issue apart in the book. So I had three versions of the mss to contend with, all bristling with comments in metaphorical (...actually, sometimes literal) red ink. I had a couple of weeks to do it all. It was a tough edit, folks, I'm not gonna lie.
That wasn't enough though. I also decided it might be good to send a pitch for a new book to two published writers of MG and YA fiction, asking them how it might be strengthened and lining up phone calls to hear the bad news. Then I sent it to my agent for a further beating. I've scribbled all over it, torn it apart, stormed around the house in an impotent rage and had waaay too many baths. Dry January didn't help, I have to say. My policy on sorrows is generally: drown them.
But I end the month feeling pretty good. Payback is looking tip top. And you wouldn't believe what I've got planned next. Ooooh, it's exciting. It's thrilling. Picture a Frank Darabont prison-break figure-skating with a John Hughes buddy comedy on a frozen lake of cheap champagne and broken dreams.