Monday, 25 July 2011

Literary rejection.

Rejection is a part of life. As a child it begins when the child at school no longer wants to play with you, they find someone else and, suddenly, they are 'their' friend so you're left to watch them play without you. As you grow the rejection changes, it's that man (or woman) who doesn't want to be your boyfriend (or girlfriend), it's the potential employer who doesn't want to hire you or the mother's at the school gate who don't want to talk to you or the credit card company who don't want to let you have one of their cards (please don't send me spam).

 Writers forget that publishing is a business. When they are told 'no thanks' when they themselves are not being rejected, their work isn't wanted. A few months ago I was unfortunate to read a blog in which the writer of a novel had requested a review of her book but she disagreed with the review to such an extent that she was writing profanities towards the reviewer on his blog (which shall remain nameless). Life is full of people who say 'no thanks.' Yes, it is painful but what differentiates a writer from someone who wants to be is how they overcome this. I don't mind rejection, as long as I can use it to improve. Yes, it is painful and yes, I do sulk for a few days but I will look at it, dissect it and use it to see where I have gone wrong.  If my work doesn't 'sparkle enough' then I will look at it and try to work out why. I don't give in, nor do I email the agent back to tell them to 'f*** off.' Writing and getting a book published is a business. You wouldn't expect a major company to reply to you in this manner so why do some people think that this is acceptable to speak to reviewers or agents in this way? No one wants to work with a diva and agents talk.

Wednesday, 20 July 2011

6 reasons why I am not JK Rowling.

Whenever people ask what I do, nine times out of ten I will get the same response:

'So you're the next JK Rowling?'

Let me make this perfectly clear. I like JK Rowling, it was the first Harry Potter novel that inspired me to write my own. I've always loved books. As a child we had two so, at the tender age of 11, I volunteered to work in the school library so I could read as much as I could. I find it wonderful that she's encouraged so many children to read, and I am incredibly thankful that she gave me the inspiration to write my own books. So, ten reasons why I am not JK Rowling:

1) Because I'm not writing Harry Potter. She's done this, I don't use other writer's plots. There's a huge world out there, full of dragons, witches and mythical creatures. I am very capable of thinking of my own ideas, thank you very much.

2) My main character never has been, nor ever will be called Harry Potter. It's a trade mark/copyright/legal thing that will make my hair curl, my hands shake and end up in bankruptcy if I ever use it.

3) I doubt very much that Bloomsbury will publish my books or that Christopher Little will be my agent.

4) JK Rowling wrote Harry Potter in a cafe on her laptop. I can't use my laptop in the local coffee shop, the battery will not survive for longer then 5 minutes without it being connected to the mains.

5) I don't write like JK Rowling, because I am not her. I am me, Juliet Brough. I am perfectly happy being me, why spoil it and become someone else?

6) I live in England, not Edinburgh, but I'm sure it's a lovely place.

There you have it. There are more reasons but these are the main ones. The next time you meet a writer, please don't ask them if they are the next JK Rowling, it gets tedious after the first 10 people.

Thursday, 14 July 2011

Mouse lady.

In order to get from A to B and then back to A, I use public transport. I don't drive, a lovely friend did try to teach me once but I could smell the fear that was dripping from every one of her pores after a few minutes so I quickly decided that this was not a good idea, the world is a far safer place for this. Public transport is the bane of my life. Not only does it cost a ridiculous amount of money but I also have to share my journey with nose pickers, water phobics and people who have no respect for their ears or the ears of anyone else sitting within a three mile radius. Occasionally I will meet people who make me think.

Mouse lady is about 60. She waltzed onto the bus, laden with lipstick and carrying her stuffed toy mouse. She stumbled down the bus and chose to sit behind me. Throughout the whole of the journey she was telling her stuffed mouse to be quiet, 'shhh!' I didn't laugh, I couldn't see anything funny or disturbing about her but I did feel sad. Sad that she could have been someones mother, someones granny. I had thoughts of my own mother, how devastated I would feel if she was in this position, so lonely that she had nothing but a stuffed mouse for company.

10 years ago the elderly had families around them, neighbours that would stop by to see how they were. I admit to not knowing a vast amount of my neighbours. My immediate neighbours I know well but others come and go with the university terms and it can be difficult to keep track of who lives where and it's the elderly who fall through the net. I speak to the bus drivers, they are paid 51 pence for each OAP who takes a ride on the bus (it's free for the pensioner) and he admits that the vast majority of them sit and ride to the end of the line, and then back again on an almost daily basis because they have nothing to do and they are lonely. I find this heartbreaking.
 As a new parent I was lonely. It's very isolating having a baby to care for and every day blends into one, relentless feeds and nappy changes. I would make up excuses to get out of the house with him so in a way, he was my mouse. My mouse has now grown, he's 12 and I can have a conversation with him. One day he will be living his life and I will be waiting for his visits. Maybe I will be the one sitting on the bus all day with my stuffed mouse.