Dispatches From The Querying Trenches - February. Guest Post by Kirsten Hesketh.

Posted on 24th February, 2017

Well, it's the last weekend of the month again and time to welcome Kirsten back. Last month, her guest post received a wonderful response filled with good wishes for her son, who was going through a tough time, and I know Kirsten was thrilled and touched by the outpouring of warmth and concern her post generated. She's back again this week to share how things have gone in February.


Over to you, Kirsten.


* * * *


Gosh that month went quickly! And here was I thinking I had a couple more weeks for something exciting to happen …!


You’ll be pleased to hear things are on the up. I don’t think we’ve quite heard the sweet, silver song of the lark, (can you tell I’m married to a Scouser?!) but things are definitely much better. The teen has shown enormous courage and grace under pressure and is back in school. Who knows whether the storm has passed or whether we’re in the eye of it, but - either way - I’m so proud of my lovely boy.


But this is a writing blog and … I’m writing again!


In fact, writing last month’s blog post proved the catalyst to get me going again (thank you Susanna) and, since then, then I’ve not wanted to stop. I’ve recently started writing in coffee shops - does anyone else do that? I’m working through the dozen or so contenders in town and I love being surrounded by people, yet apart from them. The coffee and cake doesn’t hurt either….


Strictly speaking, I’m editing and it’s involving a pretty fundamental rewrite of the last few chapters. Before the critique by the wonderful Debi Alper, I thought my WIP was pretty good. Now I’m cringing that I sent it to agents! Whatever happens, at least I know it’s going to be much better now. After another critique through the RNA’s New Writer Scheme, I’ll be sending it back to the agents who wanted to see (and re-see) the full manuscript at the end of last year. I’m really excited. And scared!


So that’s a quick round up of my February writing life. Thank you for reading. How are you guys getting on?



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Comments (27)

That's all terrific news, Kirsten! You must feel so proud of your lovely, brave son and much relieved and excited to be on the manuscript writing trail again.

...I am so impressed with your progress and your determination... Now onto March... The beginning of the next month developments. I wish you all the very best, doll :-) xxx
Thank you, everyone, for your lovely comments - I'm touched and thrilled. I look forward to seeing you all in March. xx
Sounds great, Gill - thank you very much for the invitation xx
Thanks Jen - sound advice. I guess we're all learning and improving all the time. Re the coffee shops, I live in a small town too although it is quite touristy and punches above its weight on the coffee shop front! Most times I will know someone who comes in and there is often some chatting involved - but the laptop means most people don't linger! And I tell myself it takes up less time than Twitter and Facebook would at home!! xx
Would you like to be featured on my Creative cafe project. I run an occasional series about writers in cafes?
Hi, Jen. I agree with you about how we develop and improve as writers; and looking back on previous work is the best way to show us this. Although you joke about not being able to write in your local cafes because of knowing everyone, I rather like the sound of that. It shows what a close community you live in and how well you have settled in there in a relatively short time. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. xx
I'm so pleased that your son is doing better, Kirsten. That's a huge blessing. And you're writing again too. Well done! Good luck with the edits and then the submissions. Irrespective of where we are in our writing journeys, I think we all look back on things we've written and cringe. However, that shows we've learned and grown.

As for writing in coffee shops...I wish! I live in a small town and if I wrote in any of of (few) local places, I think there would be more chatting than writing! xx
Thank you from me too, Julie and I'm looking forward to your post next week! Will you be mentioning Poldark .....?! xx
Julie, how lovely to hear from you. Thanks for sending Kirsten your good wishes. I'm looking forward to welcoming you here to my blog next week. Thanks for dropping by.
So glad to hear that things are better for you both personally, and professionally with your writing, Kirsten. Good luck with the editing and with your submissions :)
Wow! So many comments. Thanks, everyone.

Moira, I love the thought of your being distracted by all the cake. I remember being fairly distracted by the lovely cakes made by you and Jane at Weobley.

Karen, I think one thing that has come out of this is that we all love coffee shops. Thanks for visiting Kirsten's blog.

Christina, I'm glad you enjoyed Kirsten's blog. It's good to know that after a rocky start to the year, she is writing again. Good luck, Christina, with your writing xx

Vanessa, I agree with you. It's great to take the writing out and about, because home is so full of distractions.

Thank you all for visiting Kirsten's guest blog. I'm glad you enjoyed it. Like last month, Kirsten has touched on a topic that lots of people identify with.
Hi Vanessa, Love the image of you writing furiously in the coffee-shop because it's too embarrassing to sit there with an empty notebook in front of you. I know exactly what you mean! I bring my laptop and I, too, feel I have to keep busy. Although, if no one can see my screen, that sometimes means a quick game of Spider Solitaire! I make sure I don't go online though. That could be fatal .....!! xx
Thank you Christina. Submitting is really nerve-wracking, isn't it? I tend to sit on it for a while and then get all impatient and press 'send' on impulse. Good luck with your own writing - I have everything crossed for you! Kxx
Hi Karen. Good to hear from you. Coffee shops are energising aren't they? I love people watching and - particularly - people listening. A couple of weeks ago I was eaves-dropping on some 70+ women and they were saying some particularly outrageous things about Aidan Turner. I had a good giggle at that. Proves some things never change!!!
Hi Moira, Thanks for popping by. It's really reassuring that you have had those cringe moments after submitting too. Especially now you have an agent and things are going so brilliantly. Am so excited for you and thank you for all your support. xx
Hi Catherine, I never knew you liked writing in coffee shops! I love that! Idea - next time we meet in Windsor, we write for a couple of hours before we have lunch. Would that work? Would it work for the #LLs? Or does the writing-in-coffee-shops thing only work when you are on your own? Discuss ... xx
Hi Julie,
Thank you so much for popping by and for the lovely comment. It's fab to be writing again, isn't it and I'm thrilled you've got the time and space to get back to your own WIP. What happened to the historical novel we discussed in Derbyshire? I loved that - so evocative! With your contemporary one, I think I'm inclined to agree with Susanna - it sounds like you have the bare bones in place so I think I'd stick with the draft and then edit as necessary. Probably in a coffee shop! Lots of love xxx
Hello You Two - I love writing in coffee shops because there are no distractions (such as house stuff) AND, once I've got my notebook out in public, I have to write or it's plain embarrassing. :D Great to hear the mojo's back.
So pleased to learn that things are on the up for you, Kirsten. Hope the writing flows! Wishing you all the very best with the submissions. C xxx
So glad things are looking brighter, Kirsten, and very glad to hear you're writing again. I love writing in coffee shops too. There's something energising about them, isn't there? Wishing you loads of luck with the next submissions - even though I'm sure you won't need it :) xxx
Great to hear things are on the up Kirsten. And especially pleased to hear you are writing again. I keep meaning to find a cafe where I can write but I fear I would be too distracted by the CAKE! We've all been through that cringe moment when we realise our 'perfect' WIP wasn't quite so marvellous! But you have agents who are definitely interested so let them have it! x
Julie, thanks for your lovely long message for Kirsten. I'm delighted to hear that your own writing has recently started up again. That must have given you such a boost. As for your dilemma - my inclination would be to keep going with the partial, get the whole first draft written, then go back and do lots of editing if you need to. You will have to think carefully about what is the right way for you to tackle your book. Good luck!
Glad to hear you are one of the coffee shop brigade, Catherine. Thanks for visiting Kirsten's blog.
So pleased for you Kirsten. I'm just having my own little celebration; after a time when work was all-absorbing, I've returned to my contemporary novel and started outlining afresh tonight while babysitting for my granddaughter. Although I've had a long period away from it, I kept having occasional ideas which I'm now incorporating. Feels so good to be back in it! Now the dilemma is whether to use the partial first draft or start again...
Coffee shops were made to write in, they are where I do my thinking. Glad to hear that the curve is upward xx
Thank you, Sue. It's so lovely to be back when things are calmer and happier and I've actually done some writing. I feel like less of a fraud!! xx
Kirsten, thank you for coming back to give us all an update. Your first guest post provoked a huge and generous response and I hope this one will as well. I'm pleased that you have started writing again. Although most of my writing is done at home, I also like to write while I'm out and about. I don't find it distracting at all. As you say, you feel separate from the people around you. I hope you are enjoying the editing - me, I love editing!