Hardback

I ease into the spine,

careful not to rip or tear,

hearing that new page sound;

a spreading of toes

preparing to feel the ground

in case it tries to slip away

from me.

A deep inhale

before setting the fingers to work,

elegantly stretching from right

to left

as eyes blur left

to right.

Strength flows up my arms

congealing in my head.

The saliva on my tongue

tastes

of salt;

bittersweet meetings,

conversations left unsaid

where

there was so much to say.

I arch upwards,

clearing away the tide

that fills my lungs,

exhaling

the raw.

I step back to mountain;

the cover shuts.

My body tingles

with satisfaction.

My mind

is famished.

A day in the life of Agent X

An excellent short story, and I’m pretty sure not too far off for most agents.

jessicanorrie

Agent X stretched after a poor night’s sleep. She really ought to get more exercise…spend less time staring at screens…eat more sensibly.

But a new day beckoned. She had a fascinating submission to read – she’d requested the full ms after tearing through the first three chapters and was looking forward to finding out what happened next. She wasn’t entirely sure how to place it, but the writing was so good and the premise so original, she was expecting competitive bids from several publishers. If, of course, another agent didn’t snap it up first, like the author she’d been slightly too slow to respond to last year who ended up with a six figure advance.

Agent 4Her existing authors were clamouring too. There might be answers to their questions among the 112 new emails in her inbox. She made coffee, cut a crisp pear into safely unsticky wedges and took them…

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How to Work With Beta Readers

A Writer's Path

by Hope Ann

There is no one secret to producing a good book. Hard work, patience, more hard work, dogged determination, and did I mention hard work? Yet it is so worth it. And, the more I write, the more I value one particular asset every writer should have.

Beta readers!

Beta readers are wonderful. Sometimes they are friends. Sometimes they are other writers. Sometimes they are people you’ve never met before but who have signed up to help you. Whatever the case, they provide an excellent new look at your own work, commenting on points you’ve missed because of your closeness to your story. If there are problems you are trying to ignore, they will be quick to point those out too.

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Waves in a teacup

I have this feeling

in my chest.

Like those soapy-water bubbles

you make as a child,

trying to blow the biggest one you can –

a lot of the time,

they pop

before you can release them,

but once or twice

you get one that works.

Proudly, you watch it float away

until you’re not sure

if it’s burst

or simply gone out of sight.

That’s the feeling I have.

It’s warm and cozy;

a squishy memory

you cling to

as long as you can,

snuggled up in a blanket

with a book

and a blissfully hot

cup of jasmine tea,

wishing for nothing more

than that moment to last

for as long as it can.

I don’t have a name

to put to this feeling,

but if I had to choose one,

I think

I’d call it:

hope.

 

Opening credits

Pretending it’s okay

not to be cast

as the main character,

to always be left behind

while others race to the moon

and bathe in its shimmering

light.

 

That’s you all over.

 

I’ve watched you

calmly accepting

year after year

day after day

hour after hour

that you’re second best.

 

I can’t hold back any longer.

 

I reach for the mirror,

grasping it firmly,

and force you to look

into it.

 

You do.

 

Your eyes meet mine.

You realise that you don’t want

to

race

to the moon, anyway.

 

You strap rockets to your feet

and fly

instead,

capturing its light

in your hands

to sculpt

the moon’s tears

one by one,

each different to the last.

 

People pick them up where they land,

marveling at their uniqueness.

 

Finally, you’re proud

of who you are.

 

Finally, I’m proud

of who I am.

 

The First Rule for Writing a Modern Novel

A Writer's Path

by Lynne Stringer

You may not know it but there are rules for writing a modern novel. Now, every good rule needs to be broken at some point but is it a good idea to say that all rules should be ignored because writing is a creative exercise?

I don’t think so but I think there are times and places for them and so I’m going to tackle each one in turn. Here’s the first:

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Mountain climbing

I can see the top of the stairs.

It doesn’t look far.

 

Just like a mountain doesn’t look that tall

until you stand

by its roots

gazing up at the sheer

enormity

of it, and all your hopes

skitter off along the horizon,

with barely a wave goodbye.

 

But I know I’m not facing a mountain.

I’m facing fifteen rectangular boxes

stacked vertically yet veering forwards

to create an upwards path.

 

Should I convince myself,

yet again,

that my wasted muscles will let me walk

to the top?

 

I don’t know.

 

Maybe I should just tackle

the stairs like a mountain –

my mountain –

and climb.

 

I think I could do that.

If I try.