Monday, 30 March 2009

The Handy Helicopter

I have just been reading Carole Blake's excellent From Pitch to Publication, required reading for someone in my position who has a novel(s) but no agent or publisher. It is a salutary experience for there is no getting away from the fact that trying to get a novel published is a very tricky business. For Lord of the Rings fans one must think of Tolkien's themes of endeavour against all odds and of maintaining hope without any guarantees. Trouble is, my little novel isn't going to save the world, at the very best it might bring a scintilla of pleasure into the lives of a very few people. But I carry on. Luckily, there is a whole host of people out there who are in the same position and recognising that we're on the same side of the battlefield, don't stab you in the back, but support and encourage. One such person is Jane Smith, whose blog I link to on the left. Now, this isn't just a plug for another blog even though I do recommend it highly. It brings me to the subject of coincidence.

Yesterday, Jane ran a blog challenge in which she invited everyone to write a pitch for their blog in 25 words. Goodness, what a lot of blogging bloggers there are out in Blogdom! It was great fun and often highly amusing but the real value was in the networking potential as most of us don't have Sam Gamgee by our side ready to carry us over rocky bits. Jane's challenge was a particularly sweet coincidence as far as I was concerned because I had just asked all my students to write a pitch for their work in order to be included in the term's anthology. How they groaned! I suggest that the louder the groan and resistance, the more valuable is the exercise. To reduce a piece of work to a sentence or two and then expect it to explode on impact is, well, challenging.

What can explode on impact is the plot device that involves coincidence. Carole Blake deplores coincidence full stop, citing it as being something that does happen in real life but rarely works in fiction. Oh dear. I have a coincidence in my novel. It isn't central to the plot by any means and doesn't involve my hero escaping in a handy helicopter when he's on the run and oh, what a good thing he had those helicopter flying lessons years ago...sorry, that's ridiculous isn't it?Nobody would do that. What? Dan Brown?
 

7 comments:

  1. Nice use of the word scintilla! Not a fan of Tolkien or Lord of the Rings are you? ;-) In your short blogging history, this is your second reference. But, who's counting. :-D

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  2. Who, moi? A fan of Lord of the Rings? Whatever made you think that, Diane? Or should I say, Cap'n Faramir?

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  3. I'm visiting from the pitch party! I loathe pitching and am very bad at it. I also find I'm not much good at writing proposals, either. I do have an agent, who is a real sweetie and very patient with me, but I'm conscious of all my shortcomings. I need a book like the one you recommend and more reading in this blog I think!

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  4. Hello, litlove :)

    How lovely to have a nice agent. I'd like one with wings and a wand, preferably! The pitch party was a brilliant idea, thanks for coming. I shall be visiting very soon.

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  6. Did you put the ring on? :)

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  7. LOL! One would think . . . but, no. I made a typo and I hated looking at it. It doesn't appear that you have the ability to edit what you post, so I deleted it.

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