Season of Hope

Right now is my absolute  favourite time of the year. I love it. Whilst people around me are bemoaning the passing of summer and the return to school runs, stews and soggy weather, I’m relishing the absence of barbecues, bared flesh and general all round joviality. I’m getting out the hot water bottle (actually I never put it away), readying the grate and closing the curtains on the world earlier and earlier each evening. What bliss.

To me, despite the fading light, Autumn always feels like a new beginning. Perhaps it’s because it’s the start of the academic year and anyone with children knows how this acts as a marker for change: much more so than the start of a new calendar year. For me, ever since I was a child, September has seemed like a time to gather my bearings and look to the future.

Amongst other things, I’m naturally taking stock of my writing. I think we all pretty much know where I am with that: I’m looking for an agent. So… how’s that going?

Although I’ve had my little moans about agents along the way, by and large I’ve found they do get back to you eventually and they often have some nice things to say. I’ve been circumspect in my submissions in that I’ve kept the numbers small. This means I can use the feedback received along the way to improve my submission and I still have many more avenues to explore. I try, of course, to target those agents to whom I think my work will appeal. It’s not always easy to tell. I’ve misfired a couple of times. I should have known better, for example, than to send it to an agent who spends all her time tweeting about cuddly kittens and handbags.

I’ve had some success with competitions. The opening eight thousand words were shortlisted for an agent-run competition. And the first page of my novel came first, as in actually won, the Words with Jam First Page prize. If you’d like a sneak preview of the opening of my book, it appears on their website here. (You’ll see what I mean about kittens and handbags).

Which all points to me thinking that I’m doing okay. Things are generally heading in a positive direction. I’m still in with a chance.

And now that the clamour of summer is dying down, I can enjoy getting on with the next novel without the need for ear plugs and Piriton. Yay!

I could have spent my prize money on groceries or pet insurance, but I decided instead to re-invest in my writing by purchasing this rather gorgeous desk chair.

I could have spent my prize money on groceries or pet insurance, but I decided instead to re-invest in my writing by purchasing this rather gorgeous desk chair.



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4 Responses to Season of Hope

  1. Congratulations on the awards, Claudia. I just read that first page and I am haunted, intrigued, and cannot wait for more (also, my mouth is watering in the most disconcerting way). The summer doldrums have ended, the best season is upon us, and I wish you continued good news and a sense of renewed optimism- you have so many reasons to celebrate your writing. The right agent will celebrate when s/he finds you!

  2. Ian says:

    I imagine you know the Ode alluded to by heart then?
    I agree with your sentiments wholly. Similar thought: Midsummer Day, eulogised by fluffy romantics, is actually the beginning of the decline of the year. The Winter solstice is the start of the longer days. I too look for any excuse to lay the kindling wood in the grate…in fact had 4 evenings by the fire already. Mists and mellow linger on,
    Ian x

    • claudia says:

      I do indeed know the Ode, Ian.
      Midsummer Day is when I announce to my friends with great glee that the evenings are drawing in. It’s what keeps me going till September. Now we’ve got five clear months before the first crocus appears.

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