Sunday, 10 July 2011

The RNA and the future

I've just returned from one day at the Romantic Novelists Association's (RNA) annual conference. With a three-month-old baby it was always going to be a struggle to get there, but I made it for the Saturday (thanks to a week of diligent pumping...tmi?...and a very supportive husband who willingly hung out in Caerleon with the baby, bringing her to me at lunch for her midday feed and juggling bottles and hot water for the interim ones).

It was well worth the effort. Not only did I get to rub shoulders with some impressive authors, agents and editors, but I also attended various workshops that helped get me back thinking about how to make my book 'the' one for publication.

Earlier this year, I submitted my novel (currently titled Sister Swap, previously More to Life, previously the Sisterly Conspiracy, previously the Golden Rule...can you tell I have trouble choosing titles?) to the RNA's New Writers Scheme. For the bargain price of £103, you get membership to the RNA and a full critique of your entire manuscript. Although the feedback is anonymous, you are guaranteed to be read by someone who knows what they're talking about. I received about four pages of written feedback plus comments all over my first three chapters. Excellent. I have been rewriting it in the odd minutes my baby sleeps but have since come to the conclusion that I need something more...

And that's a hook. A really good, grabbing hook that means any agent or editor who looks at my cover letter not only goes 'hmm...' but 'wow'. So far, I am sorry to say that this has not been the case.

I don't think there's anything terribly wrong with my book. I think it's quite funny, interesting and light. But it's not a first novel. Not yet, anyway. So, I have to decide whether to rehaul it (current options include shelving an entire character, and hence a third of the book) or starting over.

I have a lot to think about, but I'm determined to remain positive. After all, if I can come up with a good enough hook and a new book, perhaps Sister Swap can be my second novel...? :)

1 comment:

  1. No way! Didn't realise you had a 3 month old baby in tow when you attended the conference. I'm seriously impressed! It was lovely to meet you.