Killing Your Darlings

To round off 2014  and in expectation of good things to come I have a guest post from the wonderful Judy Hall to end things on a high note. Have a wonderful New Year’s Eve and hoping that 2015 is filled with good things for you all.

Judy Hall is a successful Mind Body Spirit author with over 40 books to her credit including the million selling Crystal Bible (volumes 1, 2 and 3). Judy has recently been voted the 2014 Kindred Spirit MBS personality of the year.

She has been a past life therapist and karmic astrologer for over 40 years. An internationally known author, psychic, healer, broadcaster and workshop leader, her books have been translated into fifteen languages. She recently appeared in the Watkins Review of the one hundred most spiritually influential authors.

You can find out more about Judy on her website at www.judyhall.co.uk

 

Judy HallKilling Your Darlings

It’s that time of year again. Commissioning editors are suddenly aware that the London Book Fair is looming and they urgently need New Ideas. But so often what they really mean is that they want what is selling well packaged slightly differently. With publishing the way it is these days, they are rarely ready to take a chance on something entirely new. So it’s the moment to draw up fresh proposals – but also to dust off some cherished old ones and try again, because I know that someone somewhere wants to read the thoughts I’ve been nurturing for years. But will they be accepted?
You don’t become an author if you can’t handle rejection. If you measure your self worth by how your creations are greeted by the outside world. Or perhaps you do. Just so you’ll learn to handle it and re-cognise that true worth cannot be measured in book sales or whatever.

There’s another learning to be had in being an author. It isn’t over once an idea has been accepted. ‘Kill your darlings’ we are told. That carefully crafted sentence or scene we are so proud of may be holding up the action. Creating a ‘hump in the road’ as my friend Sue Joiner puts it. The copy editor says it has to go.

So like life. Who is it that said that life is what happens while you’re waiting for your dreams to come true? Perhaps we all need a commissioning editor, along with an editorial director and a copy editor to weed out past-their-sell-by-date ideas and the dreams to which we cling but which only hold up our journey.

Life is a story, one we create in our heads. Or so we’re told. Some people live them out very graphically in their everyday soap-opera lives. Authors people their novels with them. We constantly recycle. But sometimes we dare to be different.

I’m very aware of this at this time. I’ve just finished a novel about sexual alchemy. A time-slip tale that is radically different to my first novel Torn Clouds. How will it be greeted? My freelance copy editor loved it. A librarian friend wants it on her shelves. But will I find a publisher to take it on?
With a Moon-Pluto square in my astrological chart (see my Astrocharacters:
A Writer’s Guide to Creating Compelling Fictional Characters With the Signs of Zodiac) I’ve been on a lives long learning curve on how to handle alienation, abandonment and rejection and turn them into creative fuel (that resulted inThe Hades Moon). I’m acutely attuned to the nuances of ‘constructive criticism’ and the ‘I loved it but…’ rejection letter. Being in an excellent writing group helped me hone not only my words but also my attitude. I’ve learned to kill my darlings where necessary. But, through my long interaction with the publishing world, I’ve also learned how to stand my ground when something really matters. My books both are and are not me. I won’t compromise my integrity but I will use my imagination.

This current novel began with a dream and a memory. A dream I am now ready to launch onto its journey in the world. But I won’t measure my own worth by how it is received. As always I did my best. I enjoyed writing it. And that’s what matters. But I hope you will be getting an opportunity to enjoy it too!

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