What has the superbly designed Pitlochry Fish Ladder in Scotland and a book by a respected author have in common? Answer: They both offer an alternative to being stopped on a quest. The Fish Ladder was built in 1952 alongside the Hydro Electric Power Station. It means that when the trout and salmon return to the River Tummel after their arduous trans-Atlantic journey they have an alternative to being stopped at the reservoir dam.
Thanks to the ladder they can continue their task, swimming upstream so the life cycle goes on. The fish follow their natural instinct to swim upstream but they use the large plastic tubes fitted into the locks of the fish ladder. There are even three ‘rest’ tanks which must surely be appreciated by the fish. Anyway, I digress.
‘Write to be Published’ by Nicola Morgan is a ‘How to …’ book like no other I’ve read. It’s not written in the accepted format of telling the writer what makes the recipient say ‘yes’. It helps the writer leap over the hurdles by presenting what provokes the recipient to say ‘no’. When I say recipient I mean agent, editor or publisher. In other words, instead of the writer being stopped in his or her tracks having completed their writing mission, Nicola has offered sufficient advice to help the writer move on.
This book is written with a real sense of ‘been there, done that,’ and Nicola’s humour shines through page after page as she makes many relevant points. I’m sure she’d agree that much of the information is logical or common sense, but she presents it clearly.
I read this book in three days if I include the time I spent going back to make notes whilst certain things preyed on my mind. This will join my small shelf of ‘must have’ books for writing reference.
Nicola takes the writer from the point before writing, through the various stages of writing and editing and on to submission. Four main sections followed by a resources list make it easy to return to an area of particular interest. The language and tone are aimed at writers of all abilities which is always a positive step and there is no preaching to the newer writers.
I’ve already made changes to my new novel purely by heeding advice given in this book and I thoroughly recommend ‘Write to be Published’ to writers, no matter how much you think you know about the writing process. Thank you Nicola.
Before I leave the subject of common ground, which is where this post started, I think it’s only right that I mention The Watermill Bookshop in Aberfeldy. It’s only a few miles south of Pitlochry and it was during my visit to that bookshop that I found Nicola’s book. Now with any luck, as the trout and salmon go on to procreate thanks to the ladder, I’ll go on to have my book, ‘Ten Days’ published, thanks to Nicola’s advice and guidance.