Monday, 2 May 2011


Over the years I’ve written novels with no plot and done no research whatsoever. I’ve mixed romance with thriller with satire with sub-lit-fic with kitchen sink. I’ve planned sequels on top of novels that couldn’t even support their own weight.

My advice to you is simple. Do not under any circumstances do any of these things. Certainly do not do all of them in the same novel. It’s a recipe for disaster – aka, the first novel I ever wrote. This is the one I’m editing at the moment.

I spent five years editing Bad Romance – and having kids, which added to the confusion. Each edit added more layers of wrongness. The final draft was a gnarled mass of words that looked like it ought to make sense but didn’t. In the course of time and hundreds of revisions, I must have sent this novel to about forty plus agents. All of them rejected it. Two, in the later stages of editing, asked to see the complete MS – which was exciting – until they too rejected it.

When I’ve finished editing Bad Romance this time, I already know one of the problems I’m going to have. I discovered this recently when reading Miss Snark’s blog. And thank goodness I did. Miss Snark writes that although agents are sent thousands of manuscripts each year, they will remember if you send them the same manuscript twice. And if you do, they will hunt you down and kill you.