My manuscript is out with agents. I’m in literary no man’s land, so what am I to do?
I could wait and constantly hit refresh on my email inbox. But what will that do, except give me RSI and a bad mood?
Don’t stop writing is a top tip. Don’t languish. I could carry on and write my second instalment My Dorset Piggy Tale – Revelations, or try something completely different.
I’m tempted to start writing a science fiction disaster novel. Yes, that’s right. Me, who got double E grade in Science GCSE. I was more interested in flirting with the boys. Nobody noticed that I avoided doing science homework and coursework for the last year. In my defence, how could I find excitement in a subject when all we did was copy what the teacher wrote on the blackboard?
Since then, we’ve had all manner of blockbuster films screaming through the screens at us, namely Flood and Day After Tomorrow. Nature is terrifying in its power when it demands. Science matters. We should take notice of what we’re doing to the planet.
So this idea I have…What is the story and who are the characters are legitimate questions, but my first question is an immediate one. Maybe the most important one. What writing name do I go by?
I’ve been happy to use my maiden name for My Dorset Piggy Tale. My surname is a difficult one to pronounce, but a distinctive one. And many people who know me still use it, even though I’ve been married for three years. Maybe some people remember it from my days at the newspaper. I’m comfortable writing in my own voice, about me and the pigs.
But SF is unknown territory to me. A daunting, scary one where I feel I don’t belong because I have no background knowledge to speak of. A bit like going into a garage when my car’s broken. The mechanics have the upper hand straight away because I don’t know how to change a tyre or what a catalytic converter is.
My instinct is to use my initials, mask my gender. But why deny myself? My name is who I am. Otherwise I may as well bind my breasts and chop off my hair.
I shouldn’t give in to my inferiority complex. This I have given a name. Marjorie. She is an old lady with a cauliflower blue rinse. She sits on my shoulder, telling me my book is crap and I know nothing about being an author. It’s easier to imagine my complex as a person so I can tell her ‘bugger off, I’m not playing with you today.’
Just because I have a womb, it doesn’t make me inept at SF writing. Five years ago, I’d never have dreamt I’d be writing about pigs one day. But I have, and I am.
Maybe this week I will start my SF novel or maybe I’ll carry on with my second ‘piggy’ book. I’ll see how I feel. But I’ll be brave and use the name my parents gave me. Except the ‘Lucinda’ bit. That’s only for the doctor and the dentist.
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