Not sure how I have managed to ignore Jane Wenham-Jones’ Wannabe a Writer ? until now. I suppose I felt I had read every book, been on every course, and generally heard everything there is to hear about how to get published – without any of it having had the desired effect. How could even Jane, whose sparky writing I enjoy in Writing Magazine and elsewhere, have anything new to say? (Doh, I forgot that it’s not what you say, it’s the way that you say it!)
Luckily I decided to buy the book because it contains the entry form for a novel-writing competition, and when the package duly arrived (and after I had ripped out the form and thrust it into the envelope with my submission) I thought I should get my money’s worth by reading the damn thing. Needless to say, Jane and her fellow contributors had me laughing straight away and realising what an old cynic I have become.
Have I learned anything new? Well, I have only dipped in, but I’ve already been inspired to (re-)rewrite my synopsis, and suddenly the desire to complete a novel (and the hours of apparently fruitless labour this entails) seems like a worthy if wacky occupation. And I am in good company!
One of the encouraging things about Wannabe a Writer? is the elation (or even ecstasy) Jane clearly feels at having achieved her dream. Not so Michael Stephen Fuchs, whose work I don’t know but whom I discovered via the Macmillan New Writers’ blog. He has recently issued a warning to aspiring novelists that being published isn’t everything it’s cracked up to be. In fact, he makes it sound like absolute hell, and reading his tale of woe makes me feel doubly pleased to have heard Jane’s version.
(Of course, whatever the downsides are of success, I’d be happy to find out for myself!)