Saturday, 8 February 2014

The Slim Hope

I’ve already put in four solid hours today and I really should take the time to stop and write a blog post.

Yesterday was so busy, I finally fell asleep around 1am, drawing a cartoon as I tried to watch a Rob Brydon comedy in the background. I blame his sonorous Welsh accent for relaxing me. I slept through the night and woke up at eight and jumped straight out of bed with new determination to get this book finished.

Elberry kindly read the draft a week or so ago. He liked some of it, really hated other parts, but that hadn’t prompted me to get the book finished. Elberry’s response had more of the opposite effect. I began to think I should dump it.

However, yesterday was a very day strange. My sister’s computer woes hadn’t improved and she was losing work. It made business sense to replace it so, long story short: I found myself heeling it into Manchester to pick up a desktop Mac. Not my ideal choice (I’m firmly a PC man) though it was a beautiful machine and perfect for somebody who isn’t interested in learning to use a PC and needs reliability. Nearly killed myself carrying it back though...

However, I took the chance of a trip out to browse my favourite bookshop, the Waterstones on Deansgate, where I spotted a new hardback on the humour shelves. It made me give a gasp of frustration. It wasn’t like the book I’ve written, but there were enough similarities to make me believe that my book is eminently publishable. I’m as certain as hell that it’s funnier and would appeal to a much bigger audience than this other book.

So first thing this morning, I tracked down an agent who has worked with the publisher. A quick look at their website suggests they’re open to manuscripts and they seem to have a sense of humour, so long as I can put together a good cover letter.

Then I went to town on my manuscript, liberally cutting it where Elberry had suggested (deleting the entire introduction and preface), tweaking other bits to reduce the more surreal humour, and otherwise trying to get a strong 20,000 words together which I can send away and perhaps attract interest in the other 30,000 words I’ve written and the 20,000 I probably need to write.

I have to put the effort in. My other work is driving me crazy and I’m now at my wit’s end with worry. The problem of working with small companies is that they don’t operate through the power of delegation. Every piece of work I’ve done lately has been wrong. I’m told to do one thing, which I do well, and then I’m told to do something else based on what seem like spurious reasoning. It means I’m constantly redoing work and constantly wasting hour upon hour upon hour. If I could just sell one manuscript, then I could relieve myself from this bloody torture. Hence, my busy morning and my determination to use this weekend to properly fashion this manuscript and at least see if it has some value. It’s a slim hope but slim hopes are all that I seem to have left.


  1. On the whole i liked it and there wasn't anything i hated about it. Sorry if i gave the impression that i really hated parts of it, when in fact i just didn't get some of the jokes. i do apologise.

  2. Hell, you know there's no need to apologise. I'm just bloody grateful anybody would want to read a draft and to give feedback. You know how I channel negative energy. I guess we all do it but I think your instincts about earlier sections was right, so they're now gone and the MS still comes in at a fairly respectable 50,000+ words. As to the rest, it's looking better and tighter thanks to your suggestions. I'll send it off to an agent on Monday and see what happens. It's a crazy idea for a book, possibly unpublishable, but at least I've done something other than stick it under my bed with all my other drafts. If it ever gets, published, your name will feature the most prominently in the thanks since it was you who got me writing it again.