I can remember going to a Romantic Novelists’ Association (RNA) Chapter meeting in Oxford a couple of years ago when I was eagerly awaiting my first New Writers’ Scheme (NWS) report. It was summertime and reminiscent of the year I took my A-levels, desperate to know whether I’d passed or not. I’d put so much effort into my manuscript (ms) and as I’d never written a novel before I had no idea whether I was working along the right lines. But a lovely and knowledgeable author gave me some advice that day which has stuck with me ever since.
‘Don’t be disheartened if the feedback isn’t what you’re expecting. Put your manuscript away in a drawer for six months then review it. You’ll tackle it better when you come back to it.’
As it happens I was really pleased with my feedback. Any criticism given was constructive and buoyed at how positive my NWS reader was I booked on Julie Cohen’s ‘Writing Commercial Women’s Fiction’ course. Which was where I discovered I really needed to replot the whole ms again…
My rewrite came back from the NWS last August and I was pleased to find I’d been lucky enough to have another positive reader who liked my ms and has given me some excellent advice on areas where it still needs attention. I was keen to get on with my revisions but life (namely paid work, which sadly must take precedent over writing *boo*) has been stealing my writing time and my ms has been left languishing in a wicker basket by the side of my desk for several months now.
Last week I finally sat down to start my revisions and and what do you know? That nugget of advice was spot on. My characters quickly all jumped back into place, their personalities, their traits and as I started reading through my ms I found myself thinking, ‘he just wouldn’t behave like that!’ and ‘this scenes needs acting out not mentioning in passing by some other characters.’
I have felt quite downtrodden these past few months by my neglect for my writing. I needn’t have though, because suddenly I have found that renewed vigour, that inspiration, that I-can’t-type-fast-enough-because-my-ideas-are-running-out-of-the-end-of-my-fingers feeling that you get when an idea is formulating in your head.
I’d like to thank my characters for being patient. Like me, they’ve matured and I guess it’s like the old saying goes; everything comes to those who wait 🙂