Cally Taylor wrote two sparkling romantic comedies, Heaven Can Wait and Home For Christmas, before turning to dark psychological suspense under the name C.L. Taylor. The first of these, The Accident, was hugely successful, shooting up the Kindle charts and selling over 150,000 copies in the UK alone. Last year, Home For Christmas was made into a film by JumpStart Productions and, since this interview was recorded, Cally’s second thriller, The Lie, has shot up the bestseller charts.
Books recommended by Cally:
Into The Woods: How Stories Work and Why We Tell Them by John Yorke
Cally mentions the importance of taking ‘artist dates’ as recommended by Julia Cameron in The Artist’s Way: A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity
Also, I mention that my debut novel, The Language of Spells is now available in paperback (meep!)
This episode’s listener question comes from Maggie Jones – thanks, Maggie!
‘How ‘sucky’ can a book be when you send it in?!’
‘This question is definitely something I struggle with as I have very little confidence in my own work and never feel that something is good enough or even safely passed the ‘it sucks’ stage.
And therein lies the problem. We are probably not the best people to judge the suckiness or otherwise of our work.
Also, it’s worth remembering that ‘sucky’ is a subjective term. I think it might have been Jenny Crusie who said ‘your book is not a $100 bill, not everyone is going to like it’ and that is so true.
There may be published books that you don’t like, that other people love.
So, a book’s merit is a subjective thing. There is no opposite to ‘sucky’ which is ‘perfect’, only opinion on what is good or bad or fun to read or boring.
Once you’ve accepted that there isn’t an ideal you can achieve before sending your work out, you only have to ensure that it’s as good as you can make it.
Whether you’re sending your book to an agent, an editor or hitting ‘publish’ yourself to put it into the Amazon store, there are steps you can take to make sure that it’s ready.
Things like finishing it first, and rewriting it as much as you can stand to get it into the best possible shape. You can also get perspective through feedback from critique partners or by letting it rest before you edit for a final time. Four to six weeks is a good amount of time to leave it, so that when you come back to it you can see it anew. When I do this, I find I can detach my writer self from the reader, and I often find there are plenty of things I like – and have forgotten writing. It’s like magic. It also makes the dull or awkward or confusing parts glaringly obvious.
I hope that helps, Maggie. Thanks again for the great question.’
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