Beth Miller

Writing and tea

Fonfer

Someone who talks through their nose (Yiddish)


A sporadic blog about writing

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On setting a book while living in interesting times

Posted on July 7, 2020 at 8:20 AM

‘May you live in interesting times...’ Damn you, apocryphal Chinese curse, I want my uninteresting times back. When you’re slap bang in the middle of interesting times, all your usual certainties vanish as fast as my interest in The Archers now they’ve gone monologue.


Living in the maw of uncertainty causes a great many problems, large and small. But none are as small as the issue of when to s...

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The song went on forever

Posted on January 11, 2016 at 4:00 PM

Everyone over a certain age – and some under it, too - has a David Bowie story. This is mine.

 

My first proper gig was on the Serious Moonlight tour, in the badlands of Milton Keynes. It was 1983. I was too young, alas, to have seen Bowie in Ziggy times. Here’s what I remember. The horrible crush outside the Milton Keynes Bowl; an uninspiring support set from The Beat, who’d I’d been keen on up till then; the thril...

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On being published and being sacked: My crazy roller-coaster fortnight.

Posted on June 9, 2015 at 12:00 AM

 

On 28th August 2014, my first novel was published. Even now, I can scarcely believe that I can type that, or rather, I can scarcely believe that when I type it, it’s not a lie. But it is so. In fact, there is only going to be one lie in this post, and one mild inaccuracy. And I’ll point them out when they come, so you aren’t left wondering.

So, my novel was published, and I was very excited and did all the new-writer thing...

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If you unravel a jumper, do you still have a jumper?

Posted on August 4, 2014 at 4:45 PM

I finished the first draft of my difficult second novel, and showed it to my esteemed agent. The novel has three main characters. Let's call them A, B and C (it's that kind of experimental novel, where people are just, like, not bogged down with the baggage of names). Well, said my esteemed agent, I think Character B is upsetting the focus of the book and it would be better if he wasn't in it at all. Even as I started to protest, I knew she was right. That's why she is esteemed. We talked so...

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Q: What's the difference between books 1 and 2?

Posted on April 4, 2014 at 7:05 AM

A: About eleven-and-a-half years.


The first book, When We Were Sisters, took about twelve years to write. Well, I wasn't writing solidly for twelve years. I took a few breaks, had some children and jobs and things, and a lot of cups of tea. But from the moment I wrote the first sentence, to the moment a publisher said yes, was about twelve years.


I started the second book - working title: The Good Neighbour - in September 2013, and finished th...

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Chapter 1 saved from the knackers' yard

Posted on November 29, 2013 at 6:10 AM

Publisher's edits - tick.

Copywriter's edits - tick.

Feeling like it was all going nice and smoothly - tick.

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I just signed my contract

Posted on July 25, 2013 at 5:15 PM

Oh yes I did. I just signed my contract from my publishers. My PUBLISHERS.

I never particularly wanted to be able to say 'my hairdresser' or 'my gynaecologist' or 'my plumber.' But I did always want to be able to say 'my agent' and 'my publisher.'

The reason this sounds so smug is because I am writing it whilst wearing a big shit-eating grin.

Inching closer

Posted on March 31, 2013 at 2:55 PM

Continuing in the pattern of posting once a year, in March, here I am. Since this time last year

    • I have sent the book off to three or four agents, all of whom hastily rejected it
    • I've been taken under the wing of The Literary Consultancy, whose reader really liked the book, and they have sent it off to three or four agents, all of whom hastily rejected it
    • I have sent it to ...

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Sorta finished

Posted on March 26, 2012 at 5:15 PM

I see that almost exactly a year ago I was knocking down walls. Well, here I am now, with what I'm tentatively calling a 'finished novel.' I've sent it somewhere; I'm waiting. Actually, I'm not waiting. I'm sitting back with my feet on the desk, enjoying the peace. My novel is like a disruptive child with ADHD. Suddenly, after I've spent years being the sole carer, it's been whisked away to a holiday camp for the loud and over-energetic, and someone else has responsiblity. Just fo...

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The wrecking ball

Posted on March 15, 2011 at 1:35 PM

I started writing this novel in 1947, and have interrupted it on several occasions to run a business, have children, eat more cake and so on. So, because I am a better writer now than when I started - not through any clever planning, simply by dint of the passing years - I'm having to make some tricky decisions with the rewrites. It's akin to restoring an ancient building. At what point do I give up on shoring up unsteady old beams, and just knock the whole thing down and start ag...

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