On Writing (Fri 29 Jan, 2016)

More Amendments Needed

The day before yesterday, my agent sent through her suggested amendments for the funny rhyming story I had naturally assumed was perfect. (There’s no harm in having strong self-esteem when you’re attempting to write children’s books).

I made myself tea and toast before opening her attachment with multi-coloured marks all over it.

As a work of art it was very pretty – blacks, greens, reds, lines crossed through my text – yep, a veritable palette of revisionary colour.

Perhaps, if I didn’t feel so passionately about this story, I would have sighed and lost heart.

Instead, I set about reading her comments, which largely re-iterated the conversation she’d had with me about it, in the storm-hit Bournemouth beachfront café two days earlier.

So, yesterday was a fingers to the keyboard day as I attempted to absorb her comments and translate them into my style of rhyme writing.

I didn’t make all the amendments she had requested. I know mentioning tea is peculiarly British but I decided to leave the reference in.

Tea or Coffee?

My agent had said the mention of tea in my story might not be swallowed so well in The States where everyone drinks coffee.

Since I’d already used the word cookies instead of the British word ‘biscuits,’ I thought I’d already compromised some of my ‘British-ness.’

In true, ‘I’ll half listen to you’ fashion, I changed one of my lines from:

‘Perhaps you’d like a calming cup of fragrant Earl Grey Tea?’ to:

‘Perhaps you’d like a soothing cup of English Breakfast Tea?’

My thinking was: maybe the coffee-drinking Americans who haven’t heard of Earl Grey Tea will have heard of English Breakfast Tea which is, perhaps, more widely recognised?

Whether this will be accepted or not, only time will tell. It may come winging back to my in-box with even more cheerful red colour.

If this is the case, I will probably have to change the reference and the next few verses too because there are only a certain number of words which rhyme with ‘me’ in the preceding line.

And there’s the rub with writing in rhyme. It’s great when it works. When it doesn’t, it can be much harder to fix than prose.

To Blog or Not to Blog?

If you are reading this on my blog, I will have plucked up the courage, today, to try and download the material I have written so far.

I am currently looking at WordPress.com with the fear and anxiety that four and five-year-olds must experience when starting school.

To the tech-savvy out there, I urge patience and understanding.

I was brought up in an age before the internet, computers, I-pads, I-phones, kindles, tablets and even video recorders.

When I was a child, TVs had a mere three channels, which didn’t broadcast 24/7. Remote controls didn’t exist so if you wanted to change a channel, you had to stand up, walk to the TV and press a button.

I even remember my parents taking delivery of our first colour TV. Black and white was quite standard ‘in the old days.’

With the march of technology, life has transformed almost beyond recognition.

I would like to think I’m not a dinosaur and am trying to embrace change, but change is often scary.

Despite this, I use the internet daily for research. I have an I-phone, bank on-line, shop on-line, use Twitter and Facebook.

If you are reading this blog, I will have taken another monumental leap forward to embrace the technological and digital age.

It might not be a big deal for the fresh-faced youngsters out there who juggle technology like I juggle school runs, but I will be delighted that I am marching into the 21st century boldly (timidly, if truth be told).

Looking positively, I’m on the move.


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