Diary of a Booker Winner (in waiting) – 5

February 29th

D Day (A)

(Time to take the Leap Day)

D Day (B)

(Determined to do it Day)

(Well, strongly considering doing it today anyway)

A once every four years day – hence a special D Day – what better a day for a D Day! Surely the date held significance? Feb 29 – an extra day – a bonus day – a gifted opportunity. A celestial sign from a gentle God? A subtle nudge from a benign Universe? An alignment and alliance of the two. Do it now… do it now…

Yes! I was ready!

Well, I guess you could more accurately say I was (am) in the process of approaching D Day. I’ve been doing the prep, the groundwork and the research. Most of which is psychological. I’m assertively pushing aside all dubious doubt, dismissing all self-harmful pride, pouring ridicule upon all pre-emptive bitterness.

And a lot of it of course is the ferocious fight against that mortal enemy – Procrastination.

And today I’m winning!

Because not only does the date demand action but I think I’ve finally found what I’ve been looking for. I’ve been scouring google and the algorithm deities have determined that I’ve discovered one that could be the one. The Lucky One. A Literary Agent with all the right attributes. With great taste and fine wisdom. Indeed, a discernment unrivalled. (I won’t reveal their name here yet though. Not until the reply has been received, the lunch meet invited and partaken, the handshake solemnly shook, the contract produced and the ink fully dried.)

Here’s how I chose:

They were actively looking for:

Character-driven debuts, original voices, quirky storytelling. Tick, Tick and Tick.

Fear-inducing suspense. Tick. (Well, at least half a Tick. There’s definite suspense – possibly panic-inducing at times.)

Moral dilemmas. Definite Tick

Fiction that mixes up the genres. Tick

Thought-provoking story. Tick

Emotional journey. Large Tick

Inspirational story. Tick. (Though hopefully not too inspiring – we must lead our own lives and not attempt to fully emulate certain of our heroes. You’ll know what I mean when you read it.)

Love story. Tick Tick Tick Tick Tick

Narrative memoir. Tick (if of a rather idiosyncratic kind)

Writing I cannot put down. Huge Tick. Likely to break all records for coffee gone cold and no dinner cooked reporting.

I read on and the good news continued:

I work across all genres – both literary and upmarket commercial.  Excellent because I’ve written a splendid example of upmarket commercial literary fiction. This was surely kismet…

I’m always on the lookout for new writers, Tick

The key thing for me is a unique voice and a strong, compelling protagonist. MASSIVE Tick

When a really special book comes along I feel it from the moment I start reading, Brace yourself!

I look for a concise covering letter Hmm.. could be tricky… but no, I could do this!

and then I look for a gripping and unforgettable voice: a narrator who is going to pull me in and never let me go. No problem whatsoever. Horatio Robert Foxley is undoubtedly your man.

I’m seeing a trend for quirkier narrators. Serendipity !

Whether they’re unreliable, ✔️

Struggling with mental-health issues ✔️

Social awkwardness ✔️ (of a kind)

Relatable to readers. ✔️ (Hugely)

Wow. Now I really did have no excuses. What more encouragement did I need? This was it! The pass to navigate the pathway! The gilded gates were finally creaking open! The final motivational kick up the jacksy I required was duly being delivered. A friendly face with the finest of taste – a literary kindred spirit.

I’d start on the cover letter straight away!

I’d just put the kettle on first.

And wasn’t a new series of Better Call Saul releasing this week? I’d check.

And maybe it wasn’t worth starting until after Match of the Day?

And then I might be tired and/or emotionally drained.

Actually, beginning now would be ridiculous – surely I’d need to free up a whole day to do it justice…

H. B. O'Neill

H. B. O’Neill is a London born writer inspired by the City and its myriad opportunity for comedy, pain, drama and adventure. He is a prize-winning poet and short story writer, a screenwriter, playwright and author. His much-anticipated novel According to Mark is due to be published soon.

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