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Guest Blogger: The Delusional Writer

Courtesy of my first guest blogger, Paula:


I am forever grateful that the chick-lit genre became popular just as I became 18 - it was getting a little embarrassing being at uni and still visiting the kid's library every week for my Point Romance and Sweet Dreams hit. Finally I had a more grown-up option.

I always believe that writers tend to ultimately write what they themselves would like to read. As a kid, it would be boarding school stories I would scribble down feverishly in exercise books pilfered from my teacher mother, inspired by Enid Blyton and "The Chalet School". As a teenager, "coming-of-age" fiction in my attempt to recreate a more modern Judy Blume novel. And when I discovered chick-lit, I knew my true calling.

Inspired then by such authors as Helen Fielding, Fiona Walker and Marian Keyes, I started to write a "novel". I used the term loosely as it really wasn't a particularly good novel. I realise that with hindsight. At the time I thought it was awesome. I would waste most of my free time scrawling it down freehand, and at night I would read it to my sister. She loved it. I thought this was a sign of things to come.

The whole plot was a bit crap though. I called the story "Make 'Em And Break 'Em" and christened my heroine Zoe. She was - well, bonkers, to be honest! And a bit of a nympho. She'd slept with about seventy people and at the start of a new year, she resolved to stop being such a slut. Then she continued to be one! And she never ever had trouble pulling men - and they were always hot! I mean, that's completely unrealistic, right?

But my hero . . . Oh my god, he was amazing. His name was Ryan, he was gorgeous, intelligent, and he had that moody quality which is so attractive in imaginary men, but not so much in real life. Still, if I could have brought that guy to life, moods and all, I would have. Yum. I like to think other people would have fallen in love with him too. Probably not though. I had created him to be everything I wanted in a guy. And sometimes I have strange taste . . .

Anyway. So I actually finished my story, even typed the whole thing out in its entirety. "Polished" it, admittedly half-heartedly. With arrogance of youth on my side, I felt like my story was better than most of the stuff on the market already anyway. And it had taken me nearly six months to write (and nearly as long to type out) so I really had to start concentrating on other things (my uni coursework, for example). I started to do my research, forked out some of my limited student allowance to buy a copy of "The Writers and Artists Yearbook". I practically read that book cover to cover, I was so excited at how close I was to being a published author. I imagined how envious everyone would be of me, a mere teen, being on the bestseller list. How delusional I was.

Taking the advice of the manual, I chose an agent, trawling through my favourite chick-lit books to find the mention of who their agents were in the acknowledgements, and finding the one who I felt meshed best with my style. I can't remember for definite, but I have a feeling the literary agency I selected in the end was called "AM Heath & Co". I composed a cover letter and synopsis and sent it off with my first three chapters.

Did anyone even read it? If they did, they probably laughed at the stupidity of the whole thing, at the girl who thought she could stop sleeping with randoms, and the girl who had wrote about her and thought she would be a bestseller. All I know is that several months later, the manuscript was returned with the rejection letter. Unfortunately I hadn't included enough postage so, to add insult to injury, I had to go to the post office to collect it in person and pay for my failure.

I still write these days and one day I do still hope I'll write something that a publisher wants to fork out money to turn into an actual real book. I'm realistic enough to know that rejection is something that virtually every writer goes through at one point, but I'm not quite ready to put myself out there again just yet. For now, blogging, and writing the occasional short story, is quite enough. I don't really have time for much else.

And, even though I chucked out everything to do with "Make 'Em and Break 'Em" - although there is a slight possibility the rejection letter lies somewhere in my parent's attic - I'll always have my memories of the delicious Ryan . . .


Thank you, Paula!

3 comments:

  1. Aaaah - who doesn't have a copy of The Writers and Artists Yearbook!? A sign of a *true* want-to-be writer!

    And just for the record, *how* delicious was Ryan!? Hehe!

    Great post, Paula! Thank you very much! :0)

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  2. Wow, that's impressive! I always wanted to be a writer, but I never got any further than the first chapter (which was always the best first chapter ever written of course *g*).

    Nowadays I'm perfectly happy being a blogger and a reader. I'm incredibly grateful for those people who do manage to make it past the first chapter and actually write a whole book for me to fall in love with :-)

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  3. I used to want to be a writer, too! I was the only kid who showed up at this publishing workshop with a whole bunch of adults. I totally wrote about boarding schools, too. It was so much easier to write adventures when you didn't have to write parents in.

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