Wednesday, 16 November 2011

A novel request

Help! I'm in need of some assistance and advice again! The novel's up to 76k words and I'm hoping to have a full draft ready within the week (eek!). So now I'm looking for anyone willing to:

(a) read first 3 chapters quite quickly - which will be sent to the first of a long list of agents imminently

(b) read a first draft of the whole thing, offer general constructive comments and answer some questions afterwards about specific aspects

(c) join in a less time-consuming way by offering suggestions for the following:

  • Examples of low-level bullying by girls ... nothing too nasty, preferably something quirky/ embarrassing circa 1980 (I was lucky enough to not have been subjected to or witnessed any bullying at school)
  • Examples of saints with silly names
  • Examples of bureaucratic jargon or local authority political correctness 
If you'd like to do the actual reading (a) and (b), please send me your email address to clare at clarekirwan dot co dot uk. It's expensive and laborious to send hard copies out, so please only say yes if you're happy to just get a Word file to read on screen.


  1. What age are your girl bullies? Those at primary level have very different tactics and techniques to teenagers.

    Do you want a modern saint (they tend to have surnames attached) or your regular old-fashioned kind? Hilarion of Gaza for instance, or Josaphat of Polotsk (bit of a martyr).Taken from my ‘Day Book of Saints’ by Terry Matz, which was invaluable when you had to produce a daily act of worship for children age 4-11 - stories of saints always went down well. Give me a a few more clues and I’ll see if I can come up with one made to order.

  2. Glad to see this post has touched down, on target. I could do (a). You have my email.

  3. Little Nell - I'm thinking early teens but it isn't crucial - it's a back story thing. re the saints, I'm looking for a silly name for a church (no specific denomination) and possibly statues - probably Catholic! Ta!

    Martin - I only spotted I was trying to post it to Poetry 24 when I tagged it - which I keep forgetting to do under Blogger's new layout - so it was a close call there! Phew! Ta for the offer.

  4. Certainly intrigued to have a go at a) (but not until next week, is that too late?) email follows.

  5. I could do a or b. You know my e-mail address, don't you?

    I know nothing about saints, but have you tried:

  6. Definitely up for a) and possibly b) depending upon timescales - Was bullied a bit in my teens because I resembled a much hated, and possibly also inept, maths teacher - Same glasses, hair colour and style - It was older girls who said hateful things, which I have somehow blanked out but who made me feel temporarily and secretly that I might be best off out of this world...

    I was head-butted by a boy in my year in the dinner queue for remonstrating with him about jumping the line - A teacher was on the sidelines and ignored it - Hence my lifelong feelings of occasional bitter and twistedness(!)

    I was bullied for wearing glasses and being a bit barrel-shaped in primary school - Specky four eyes, that kind of thing...

    I've had a game old life! But I'm cheery with it and now practically bomb-proof :)

    Please get my e-mail via my blog, if you wish me to read - All the very best with it all, BB - You are brave! Fhina x

  7. I might be able to help you on the Saint's one. When do you need it?

  8. P.S. You have my email if you need to tell me any more details what you need re the Saints bit.

  9. Gosh thanks folks!

    Tim & Dave - already on board and thanks again!

    Fhina - Thanks so much - it is winging its way forthwith. Sorry to hear you were bullied at school. I feel very lucky that I wasn't - especially being a specky four-eyes too!

    LLG - Less urgent that (b) but I'm liking a suggestion I got by email from a 'lurker' - St Pantaleon. It wasn't something very serious - I just wanted an unusual church name with some interesting resonances, and possibly some statues in a graveyard I could make cheap gags about - does that help?

  10. I could help with (a) if I'm not too late and you'd like another pair of eyes, as it were.

    Was consistently picked on at school for wearing home-made school skirts, hand-knitted jumpers and Clarks shoes - I was never, ever in fashion!

  11. Karen - 'It's in your inbox!' ... and it's all coming back to me now... my mother made me wear my uniform even on the last day of term when everyone else was in ordinary clothes... and I could never do handstands... and I still have a scar on my wrist from Diane Gaffney's finger nail...

  12. Not sure if it's "silly enough", Clare, but how about Saint Vitus? Here a link to some info re him:

    I'll keep asking my Catholic friends for names.