How To Write A Book & Bag A Literary Agent

Yesterday went to the seaside for civilized cup of coffee/herbal tea with the lovely Anne. Anne is the wife of Emma, who originally taught me how to create a blog. (I’d like to take a moment here to pay homage to this creative wild sparkle, without whom NONE of this *looks around blog page lovingly* would have come about in the way it has.)

Anne and myself spent a brilliant hour or two letting our conversations lead us all over the place – through a corn field, over a style, over a nettley bridge and down a coastal path. Don’t you just love it when conversations weave like a journey, unhindered, unhampered, just off on an adventure? We’d never met before, but it felt like we knew each other through our connection with Emma and so we were both comfortable to let the convo go off on skippidy undisciplined tangents.

Eventually Anne said, “I’d like to hear more about your Boot Camp experience. It sounds as though it has really affected so much since you came home.”

“Yes,” I mused, musingly. “It really, really has.”

And then, I half told Anne about the latest thing it has infiltrated. Not sure how WELL I told Anne because I think we might have headed off in a completely different direction half way through, but I would want to tell everyone.

Boot Camp has made me pick up my pen and start a new book.

A fictional book.

Which I haven’t even contemplated for a very, very long time.

About seven years ago, my dad died. I was five months pregnant with Roo and in the midst of having my two children’s books published. I’d dreamt of being a writer since I was 5 and finally, at 24, my dream was coming true. The first copy of the book was sent through the day that Dad was being cremated and so I slipped it into the coffin with him, so he could see that the dream had happened.

That day I also stopped writing fiction. At the time I didn’t think anything of it. I had grief and a new born baby to contend with. In fact I didn’t pick up my pen until about two years later and when I did, it was to write personal development material. I got a job as copy writer at Lift International (it was here that the lovely Emma taught me the ways of blogging).

I’ve been blogging and writing p.d ever since and then about six months ago, I got this itch. A fiction itch. Not children’s books this time, but grown-up books for people who are nice and grown-up.

Like us in fact!

I feel that in the seven year absence of not writing any fiction, Life has filled my store-room with a massive abundance of experience, stories, emotions, understandings, conversations and characters and without realising it, I’ve generated a whole Harvest of fictional possibility.

Thank you Life.

You Are A Star.

Now. This is the other thing. Before I stopped writing fiction, I often used to launch into the experience the same way I would run. A massive energy burst in the first third would die out by the middle point and I’d be left breathless, directionless, wanting to go on but inevitably turning around and walking back home.

Boot Camp Bethan has no intention of doing this. I’m determined to write this book and get it written. Like I said in an earlier post, I have managed to plan the bones of the book whilst jogging. I’m now in the process of writing down the chapter plan and developing the plot as I go. I have no intention to dawdle my way through this process. I’m going to get this book written, completed, edited and published in the same way that I have been washing my clothes, drying them and putting them away (as opposed to letting them sit around in crumpled albeit washed piles for weeks).

And then I’m bloody well going to buy this coat.

Is this not the most beautiful thing you’ve ever seen? I love it. I’ve loved it since I set eyes on it. Makes my heart actually RACE each time I set eyes on it. Not cheap though. Really not cheap. It’s about £1,400. I’ve never brought anything for £1,400 other than a house. Can I justify spending that much money on a coat? After all, a really snug coat is like a house isn’t it? It keeps us safe and dry while we’re out and about taking over the world. Very house-like, a coat.

Anyway. Thanks to Life, I have a book that is ripe to be written. Thanks to Staff R and Boot Camp, I am going to write it. No questions asked. And thanks to the gorgeous Ads, who has taught me that the difference between a beautiful meal and an average one (you know what we’re talking about here The Pond – AND Lugleys of Cowes where we ate a few nights ago and who would lose a mash-off if they had on with even my mother! But the chef did look like Justin Timberlake, so he was slightly let off the hook, but not really as his Sicilian Lemon Posset wasn’t set and he served it with M&S biscuits. Fay-ULLL ) – is the love and care that the chef/maker puts into his/her creation …

Long sentence.

Must have quick full-stop break to breathe.


Am okay now.

… thanks to Ads, I am confident that I, Bethan Christopher/Stritton/Whatever You Are Mid Divorce, am going to write each chapter with my absolute heart-infused best.

And finally, thanks to Steven Covey, who wrote one of the most famous p.d books ever to hit the consciousness of Waterstones – The Seven Habits Of Highly Effective People – who said, “start with the end in mind!”

So I have done this and composed a beautiful email to my literary agent of choice, telling her NOT about my proposed book, but asking her to accompany me for a fully-paid for meal at the best kitchen on the Isle of Wight so I can introduce myself (whilst wearing new jacket).

Turns out that Literary Agents also like fine food.

As she said yes!

And so now all I need to do is work my way backwards.

Ahh. Life. So simple. You know?


4 thoughts on “How To Write A Book & Bag A Literary Agent

  1. Bethan you are such an inspiration and I love your blogs. I am a pregnant blogger waiting to give birth to my inner blogger and each time I read one of yours I feel that bit more confident. THANK YOU. And go for it with the fiction – can’t wait to read it. Love Elaine.

    • Hi Elaine! Thanks for your lovely comment. A pregnant blogger … I love that. How far gone are you? When you are ready to push it out and if you need a bit of a hand squeeze, let me know. I’ll happily co-midwife. Am loving the idea of creating a work of fiction and am just sussing out how to create some sort of time schedual to get it done. Did you do that when you were writing your book? x

    • Haha, love the frank response! It’s funny cos the vibe I get from that jacket is lightyears away from the label. It makes me think of prehistoric times, tribal people wearing leaher and furs and earthy connection. Not that I would wear real fur … unless I was in an Arctic tribe and then I’d consider anything x

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