Archive for July, 2011

As Summer fades into memory, creative writers among Out of the Box Workshop participants are going to look closely and briskly at technique. And, when we’ve mastered the techniques used in writing fiction or in writing creative non-fiction such as memoir, journaling and travel writing, we’ll move on to a Creative Writing for Publication series! Of which, more later.

Lonely Furrow Company Events 

Current Listings:

(All events will take place at The Conservatory, 28 Park West, Heswall, Wirral CH60 9JF unless otherwise stated.)

September 10th 2011 (10am – 12.30pm) Creative Writing Techniques – Memoir and journaling. (£20)

September 24th 2011 (10am – 12.30pm) Creative Writing Techniques – Finding your voice (Part 2) (£20)

October 22nd 2011 (10am-12.30pm)  Creative Writing Technique – Plotting (£20)

November 26th 2011 (10am – 12.30pm) Creative Writing Techniques – Memorable Characters (£20)

December 3rd 2011 (10.am – 12.30pm) Creative Writing Techniques – Place and setting (£20)

January 21st 2012 (10am – 12.30pm) Creative Writing Techniques – Travel Writing (£20)

In the Autumn, place and dates yet to be fixed, Lonely Furrow Company will also run a series of monthly lunchtime meetings for ‘blocked’ creatives – people who don’t know where to start or can’t keep going. These will be based on the programme devised by Julia Cameron in her international best seller The Artist’s Way. You’ll be expected to bring your own lunch – soft drinks, tea and coffee provided – but you will – more importantly – have the opportunity to monitor your own progress while supporting other creatives through their recovery. A low fee is meant to encourage as many creatives as possible to commit to this programme.  Please contact me on elizabeth@lonelyfurrowcompany.com for further information and to register your interest in joining us.

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You start off with a carefully-garnered list of twelve agents. Then you send out your well-crafted book proposal. And then, your book proposal comes back.

Is this the end of the road?

Very few experienced writers would assume it is.

The agent may feel justified in rejecting your proposal because:

1)You misjudged the market  – for example, you have sent in a collection of colonial stories – reminiscent of Rudyard Kipling – when anti-imperialist views prevail in society as a whole.

2)You have misjudged the agent’s area of interest – you have sent the agent a book on military history when their main list (ie where they make their money and concentrate their efforts) contains romantic comedies.

3)Your prose style is poor. (ie you actually prefer wood-carving – or give that impression.)

4)Your plot is full of inconsistencies – Where was your mind when you were writing this? And have you made friends with your Inner Editor yet?

5)You haven’t got your MS polished and ready to go. (Well, really.)

These issues demonstrate a lack of professionalism. Remedies exist. (more…)

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According to industry figures, eighty per cent of submissions to agents are rejected. So give yourself the best chance and make sure from an entry in the Directory of the Association of Authors’ agents (www.agentsassoc.co.uk), that the Agent you’d like to meet handles your sort of book. This is your starting point.


But what next?


So you’ve got yourself an interview with an agent. Second only to an interview with the commissioning editor of a mainstream publisher, this is a major step on your career path. But, if you go into this conversation without understanding The Agent’s Role, the next stage will disappoint. You’ll be hoping for what the Agent cannot or is not prepared to give. And that makes many a relationship founder.


Understanding the Agent’s Role is crucial. And clear-cut.


Driven by commercial imperatives, The Agent will:

  1. Sell your work in the UK and overseas (taking commission (15% in the UK) (10% overseas)
  2. Negotiate your ‘deal’
  3. Keep an eye on the publisher for you (in case your ‘product’ is gathering dust blocking open a door somewhere in the publisher’s office)
  4. Mediate between you and your publisher in language you can both understand
  5. Manage your career – recognizing opportunities for you and generally regarding you as more than a one-trick pony
  6. Edit your work, adapting it for potential markets. (It’s advisable to resist any suggestions to change the book which do not relate to marketing. The Agent is the expert in the market. You are the expert in your book.)


Underpinned with this ‘understanding’, that first meeting with the Agent will be more productive.



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