Wednesday, 14 April 2021


 It’s that time of the month again! No, not that time of the month, I mean the time when I have to come up with something wise and witty about writing for my monthly Blog for Abba. And once again the muse has deserted me.

Possibly because I’ve been so busy writing! Or in my case, rewriting.

Earlier this year I finished my current Work In Progress, sent it to a few trusted writer friends for their opinions/suggestions, took those on board and,  if I was happy with them, amended the manuscript accordingly. Then, when I was satisfied that it was as good as I could get it, I sent it out to a selection of suitable agents. (I am currently unagented since my last agent gave up her agency, so I have decided it’s time I found another.)

Three responses were encouraging – they really liked it but were “not quite sufficiently passionate about it” to take it on. The others rejected it by default (ie “if you haven’t heard from us within 4/6/8 weeks, we don’t want it”). So I had another look at the manuscript, took some more advice, and eventually decided I had two options: I could either

  1. leave it as it was and send it out to more agents in its original state (given that three had really liked it, even if they didn’t like it enough to take it on) OR

  2. I could “beef up” the opening three chapters before sending it out again – given that most agents only want to see the first three chapters before deciding if they want to see the rest.

After much dithering I decided to go for option 2, which felt more pro-active. So I had another look at the first three chapters and realised it was maybe a bit slow to start. So that was one thing I could do right away: I could go in with a bang!

1883 eruption of Krakatoa - Wikipedia

This is what so many books do, and usually it works well in putting the reader slap in the middle of the action right away and makes them want to read on.

Except that my book isn’t a full-on action-adventure sort of book – although there’s plenty of tension and drama throughout the book, it’s rather more quiet in style, especially at the beginning. So I thought again.

Then I came up with another idea, which involved adding another aspect and then having to change other elements of the book, but I felt this would improve it. So I rewrote the first three chapters, using this idea. And I think it will work.

Only it definitely means rewriting the rest of the book too. Which I don’t mind – I really like the new idea, and I think the book will be better for it. Only now all the chapters, which were originally roughly the same length, are out of sinc, with one new chapter ending half way through the next one. So in order to get them right, and also end each one on something of a cliffhanger, I have to do a bit of reorganising.

File:Cliffhanger.jpg - Wikimedia Commons

Which again, I don’t mind – but it does take a long time, and I do want to get the book out there again sooner rather than later.

And I know that before I send it out again, I will also have to have another go at the synopsis, always the most difficult part, and make it more tempting to a potential agent!

So that’s why I haven’t come up with a new idea for my monthly Blog.

I hope this will do instead. It may not be wise or witty, but it’s certainly about writing!

 Lynne Benton


Nick Garlick said...

I like your post. Hard enough coming up with an idea in the first place - but then to have someone point out that it could be improved... and accept that they're right can be really difficult. (And I think writing a synopsis is the hardest part of all.) Good luck!!!

Lynne Benton said...

Thanks, Nick! And thanks to Penny who posted this for me when a technical hitch meant I couldn't post it myself!

Sue Purkiss said...

Good luck with the new incarnation!

Lynne Benton said...

Thanks, Sue - and thanks for your help with the technical hitch too!

Nick Garlick said...

I keep looking at the black&white photo: is he falling, or is the picture upside down?

Lynne Benton said...

No, I think he is falling! It's the same way up in the original photo.

Becca McCallum said...

Good luck with the re-write!

Rowena House said...

Writing is a hard task master! Very best of luck with the rewrite, and for sharing your thought process. It's fascinating to share these stages.

Penny Dolan said...

Sometimes, Nick Garlick, when I'm working on a complicated WIP, it can be hard to tell whether I'm climbing up or falling down the cliff. Possibly hanging on to it for dear life? :-)

Good luck, Lynne.

Nick Garlick said...

Penny Dolan: Hanging on describes it perfectly. Just trying to order my thoughts and create a coherent storyline is EXHAUSTING!