Getting around in London...


Author Reply
repairmanjack
Flag
Posts:4135
Comments:206
Thread Kills:94(2%)
AATG Pts:240
Star Rating
Silver Medal
Otherwise known as "RMJ is off to the city to seek his fortune".

I'm an utter bumpkin, I admit that. I haven't been to London in over twenty five years - and now I find myself with a reason to go. I've been invited down by the literary agency, who very generously emailed again this afternoon. Two agents have now read my novel and described it as a "tremendous debut - challenging, exciting and unsettling".

Ok, self back-slapping over. They have an office in/around Picadilly/Regent Street (it's Hayworth to be exact). They're prepared to work comepletely around my timetable to see me. All of this is fabulous, except I haven't got a clue how to find the bloody place. If I get a train into Liverpool Street Station, what's the easiest way to get to where I need?

I, obviously, don't have a bloody clue about the Underground. Is this simple enough? Will a cab ride be extortionate?
#1 at 00:00:10 - 08/09/2009
NewYork
Flag
Posts:5237
Comments:1481
Thread Kills:105(2%)
AATG Pts:330
Star Rating
Gold Medal
TANGENT: I want to know more about this book :)
#2 at 00:23:44 - 08/09/2009
Micro_Explosion
Flag
Posts:3361
Comments:83
Thread Kills:129(4%)
AATG Pts:220
Star Rating
Silver Medal
Can I get a copy. I feel I've played a small part in your success and think it would be only right.
#3 at 00:45:42 - 08/09/2009
repairmanjack
Flag
Posts:4135
Comments:206
Thread Kills:94(2%)
AATG Pts:240
Star Rating
Silver Medal
Actually, it was almost leaked onto the internet by accident last week... :)

Ok, I'll fess up some details when I get a chance. Or when I know what the hell it's about.
#4 at 01:09:56 - 08/09/2009
Syrok
Flag
Posts:3720
Comments:452
Thread Kills:81(2%)
AATG Pts:155
Star Rating
Bronze Medal
I have never been near London.

Using google maps: Liverpool Street Station to Regent Street = 4miles
Link. Click on the tube symbol next to A1211 (that's the one next to Liverpool Street Station) to find out which to take and where to get off. Or just walk.
#5 at 01:43:10 - 08/09/2009
mal
Flag
Posts:532
Comments:165
Thread Kills:40(8%)
AATG Pts:85
Star Rating
It may be only 4 miles, but the roads between liverpool st and picadilly circus are going to be hellish any time during daylight hours.

Most reliable option is going to be underground. I would suggest taking the central line to Oxford Circus, since this is direct.

To do this, go to the underground station inside the train station, buy a return ticket from one of the machines (or, even better, go to a window and buy an Oyster card - 3 pounds deposit - and put a fiver on it - they're a lot cheaper and the money left on them doesn't expire). Then go through the gate (using either a paper ticket or by swiping your oyster card), and follow the signs for the central line westbound. If you miss the signs and end up on another platform, don't worry - follow the signs off that platform and pick up the signs for the central line once you see them. Most important thing is not to look lost - try to avoid looking like a tourist in London. It's pretty uncool, mmkay?

Once on the platform, get on absolutely any train - they'll all go via oxford street, provided they're headed west. The TFL journey planner (google it, it's cool) says it'll get there in ten minutes - but they'll announce it when you arrive anyway. Then follow the signs for the way out, go through the gates (again - if you're using paper tickets, the machine will eat your ticket for you) and find your way above ground again.

Only problem at oxford street is it's hellishly busy both above and below ground and it's a crossroads - and the underground surfaces at at least three different points, so orientation is tricky. Anyway, find the crossroads if you don't pop up right on the corner of it, and two of the roads are oxford street and one of them is regent street. The exit you choose from the tube station might be helpful enough to signpost where you'll be getting out.

I'm not sure where you're going exactly - googling Hayworth Regent Street only gives me gibberish and this thread (damn, google's quick these days). If what you want is on Picadilly (which is a road, surprisingly enough) then head down regent street until you hit picadilly circus (it's famous - it's the one with the statue of Eros and the big advertising signs wot was in American Werewolf) the take the first right, past the tube station entrance.

The TFL website reckons that it's quicker to take the tube from oxford circus to picadilly circus, and it's probably right, but changing lines to go one stop sounds like more hassle than it's worth when it can't take more than a couple of minutes to walk down regent street even if you need to go to the end. Besides, picadilly circus is always full of tourists waiting patienty at the side of the road for the lights to change, and you'll be able to stride in there, full in the knowledge that you did the tube on your own an everyfink. Ta da!
#6 at 04:16:07 - 08/09/2009
billdoor
Flag
Posts:3886
Comments:183
Thread Kills:158(4%)
AATG Pts:180
Star Rating
Bronze Medal
Although depending on which bit of Liverpool Street you're coming in to, you might be better off getting off at the mainline station Tottenham Hale which is a couple of stops before it on the Cambridge line and getting on the Victoria Line down to Oxford Circus- if its not rush hour, it should be quieter than battling your way round Liverpool St :)
#7 at 10:16:31 - 08/09/2009
mal
Flag
Posts:532
Comments:165
Thread Kills:40(8%)
AATG Pts:85
Star Rating
That's a good point. Takes about half an hour to get from Tottenham Hale to Oxford Street, but it's a simpler interchange and it's still direct.
#8 at 13:21:23 - 08/09/2009
JimJam
Flag
Posts:2586
Comments:189
Thread Kills:162(6%)
AATG Pts:180
Star Rating
Bronze Medal
I can't add any more than Mal or Bill really rmj, but wanted to say again congratulations. This must be incredibly exciting ! It's exciting enough for me, and I only know you in text form from down the interwebs !
#9 at 14:39:09 - 08/09/2009
peej
Flag
Posts:14637
Comments:4691
Thread Kills:462(3%)
AATG Pts:400
Star Rating
Gold Medal
Yeah, talk about jealous! Well done you though - just remember your pals at AATG when you finally slide one into J.K Rowling's knickers at a literary awards ceremony :)
#10 at 15:01:07 - 08/09/2009
Carlo
Flag
Posts:931
Comments:67
Thread Kills:39(4%)
AATG Pts:80
Star Rating
Bronze Medal
Post a teaser, like the opening couple of pages or something.

Come on, give us a sniff!
#11 at 16:44:01 - 08/09/2009
billdoor
Flag
Posts:3886
Comments:183
Thread Kills:158(4%)
AATG Pts:180
Star Rating
Bronze Medal
Carlo said:

Come on, give us a sniff!


/scratches bottom
/holds out finger

There you go, sniff away.
#12 at 17:22:35 - 08/09/2009
repairmanjack
Flag
Posts:4135
Comments:206
Thread Kills:94(2%)
AATG Pts:240
Star Rating
Silver Medal
Guys, thanks a million for the help. Looks like the meeting is set for saturday afternoon.

Keep 'em crossed, eh?
#13 at 22:15:03 - 08/09/2009
NewYork
Flag
Posts:5237
Comments:1481
Thread Kills:105(2%)
AATG Pts:330
Star Rating
Gold Medal
If you need to practice your fellatio before then... ;)
#14 at 22:30:09 - 08/09/2009
repairmanjack
Flag
Posts:4135
Comments:206
Thread Kills:94(2%)
AATG Pts:240
Star Rating
Silver Medal
Ho ho, heading off tomorrow, but the plan has been changed. The agent rang this evening. We're not meeting at the office - she fancies a cafe, somewhere. Got my instructions, get in to Liverpool street, take the Central Line to Tottenham Court Road, ring and await further instructions.

This is starting to sound like something out of the Bourne Identity...
#15 at 23:24:31 - 11/09/2009
Syrok
Flag
Posts:3720
Comments:452
Thread Kills:81(2%)
AATG Pts:155
Star Rating
Bronze Medal
You'll be told to go to the cafe across the street. There'll be a man reading the Guardian. Follow him.
#16 at 23:43:22 - 11/09/2009
JimJam
Flag
Posts:2586
Comments:189
Thread Kills:162(6%)
AATG Pts:180
Star Rating
Bronze Medal
Well, hope it all went well rmj !
#17 at 18:49:50 - 13/09/2009
mal
Flag
Posts:532
Comments:165
Thread Kills:40(8%)
AATG Pts:85
Star Rating
Shit, it wasn't this weekend was it? The tube was fucked - planned engineering works left right and centre, so getting from tottenham hale was a no no. No victoria, no jubilee, no circle and a few others too - I thought they'd done most of their renovations (on the Victoria at least) months ago.
#18 at 00:49:33 - 14/09/2009
Micro_Explosion
Flag
Posts:3361
Comments:83
Thread Kills:129(4%)
AATG Pts:220
Star Rating
Silver Medal
Syrok said:You'll be told to go to the cafe across the street. There'll be a man reading the Guardian. Follow him.


When he tells you not to run...

DO NOT RUN.
#19 at 00:56:33 - 14/09/2009
HairyArse
Flag
Posts:6388
Comments:1774
Thread Kills:127(2%)
AATG Pts:350
Star Rating
Gold Medal
Come on dude, how did it go? We're all curious.
#20 at 21:27:52 - 14/09/2009
repairmanjack
Flag
Posts:4135
Comments:206
Thread Kills:94(2%)
AATG Pts:240
Star Rating
Silver Medal
I got around! All was cosy - travel wise, at least. Met the agent in a park, got dragged to a jazz cafe... felt more like a blind date than a "business" meeting.

First of all she said again that she'd loved reading it, and that it was brilliantly written. Which is fantastic, of course, as I've had major doubts about my ability as a writer throughout the years.

Then we hit the "however..."

The middle part is ace, and could be sold tomorrow. The first part should be shortened and used as a flashback after part two (which is how it was originally, so I figure we're on to something). The less good news was the next bit of advice: cut 25000 words out (which brings it down to the 100 000 word mark), lose three major characters and change the ending. Now that's a tall order...

But, she likes the writing, likes me personally, and is happy to talk about representation - it's just I need to spend a few more short months doing some fine-tuning before she can represent it. She says I'm on track for the high end of the market (Faber, explicitly), I just need to find some more time, and alter the ending.

The timing of it is a bit grim, as I'm insanely busy... plus, there's a whole heartache issue which is pre-occupying me... :(
#21 at 23:04:52 - 14/09/2009
NewYork
Flag
Posts:5237
Comments:1481
Thread Kills:105(2%)
AATG Pts:330
Star Rating
Gold Medal
repairmanjack said:cut 25000 words out, lose three major characters and change the ending.

Woah! I can't even imagine the process involved with changing all that.


What's the genre, anyways?
#22 at 23:45:49 - 14/09/2009
peej
Flag
Posts:14637
Comments:4691
Thread Kills:462(3%)
AATG Pts:400
Star Rating
Gold Medal
Yeek that's a hell of a change but wow, sounds so positive. Made up for you mate, can't wait to read it!
#23 at 23:49:12 - 14/09/2009
repairmanjack
Flag
Posts:4135
Comments:206
Thread Kills:94(2%)
AATG Pts:240
Star Rating
Silver Medal
Yeah, bit of a mind-boggler at the moment. I'm scribbling a few notes on how to mix things up(but then I'd been jotting down some stuff for the next book - confidence, or what?!)

As people have asked, the book I've just written is a ghost story, but it’s actually based on a real event from the ‘70s. Back in ’72 a team of Canadian scientists tried to prove there was no such thing as the supernatural, that everything was just an extension of the imagination. They created a fictional character and then held séances for eight months, trying to get a response from this one fake “spirit”. And they did. In fact, it was so wildly successful that they ended up with this thing rapping on tables and sliding things around. They concluded it was all an externalisation of their collective imagination. The experiment has been done several times since, all with some degree of success. What I’ve done with my book is put it in the hands of a bunch of amateurs. A group of psychology students attempt to recreate the experiment for a dissertation. We watch them go through the motions over a single day. At the end of that day, there is a car accident, which cripples the protagonist and claims the life of his best friend. The rest of the book takes place three years later. The main character is badly disabled, still grieving, and his dull and miserable life is interrupted by a group of clairvoyants who claim knowledge of the character he was attempting to bring to life. In a nutshell, anyway. It’s about someone who doesn’t believe in the afterlife, coming to terms with the death of his friend, while taking responsibility for the “spirit” he has made.

God knows how I rewrite the end though. It depends on one of the characters I've been told to axe...
#24 at 00:03:08 - 15/09/2009
Kay
Flag
Posts:2120
Comments:342
Thread Kills:51(2%)
AATG Pts:160
Star Rating
Silver Medal
That sounds really interesting, would love to give that a read when you're done. But this whole business of the agent telling you specifically what to chop and change... isn't that a bit weird? It is your book after all, you seem to be happy with the way it's turned out, and yet she's asking you to make some pretty major changes to it - presumably just to get a few extra sales. Or maybe I'm looking at it the wrong way - could be seen as constructive criticism, and she is an expert after all.

How old are you btw RMJ, if you don't mind me asking? I sort of gave up dreams of writing years ago... doubt I'll be able to pull something like that off nowadays. You seem to have been very busy lately though, really hope things work out for you. :)
#25 at 01:39:12 - 15/09/2009
repairmanjack
Flag
Posts:4135
Comments:206
Thread Kills:94(2%)
AATG Pts:240
Star Rating
Silver Medal
I'm 36, Kay. Started writing at the age of 17 (and was awful). As it turns out it's one of the few things I've stuck at in life. I had a major career change brought about by spinal injuries (which comes out in the book), took four years getting over it, went back to school to study at uni and train to be a teacher. In my final year at undergrad, I befriended a very famous writer, who liked what i was doing. He coached me to go for the MA in creative writing. Got on, began the book... met an agent, agent died last year, this one maintained her interest, and here we are today.

You're never too old, but you're frequently too damn tired. :)
#26 at 01:47:39 - 15/09/2009
NewYork
Flag
Posts:5237
Comments:1481
Thread Kills:105(2%)
AATG Pts:330
Star Rating
Gold Medal
Sounds neat. Hope you find your new ending agreeable :)
#27 at 01:55:39 - 15/09/2009
repairmanjack
Flag
Posts:4135
Comments:206
Thread Kills:94(2%)
AATG Pts:240
Star Rating
Silver Medal
I'll be honest, I'm tempted to get a second opinion before I carve up four years of graft. She did express that this was all only her opinion and that another agent would say something completely different... but that she sold an awful lot of books.

I hate to sound like a whore, but I'm incredibly strapped for cash right now since the missus walked out last year and created a huge mess for everyone. Poverty is why I moved the damn teaching career up a year, and now it's buggering up my writing schedule.

I think it's time to get that Born to Lose tattoo I've been promising myself...
#28 at 01:59:21 - 15/09/2009
billdoor
Flag
Posts:3886
Comments:183
Thread Kills:158(4%)
AATG Pts:180
Star Rating
Bronze Medal
Sounds like a really interesting premise RMJ.

I was reading an authors blog recently that described the book retailers power in shaping the books that are written. Anything much over 100,000 words gets tuts, 200,000+ gets shakes of the head and epic fantasy puts them in a sulk. Why stock 5 copies of Peter F Hamiltons latest when you can fit 15 other books in the same shelf space is the argument.

I also remember reading something interesting on Stephen Donaldson's website. His 1st and 2nd revisions to his latest book knocked a few hundred pages off his manuscript length and he expects further work from the agent/publisher end.
#29 at 09:10:36 - 15/09/2009
Whizzo
Flag
Posts:2712
Comments:146
Thread Kills:51(2%)
AATG Pts:165
Star Rating
Bronze Medal
Sounds like a good story, the changes the agent feels are necessary seem pretty dramatic though, shortening it is one thing, ditching characters and changing the ending is another. I'd certainly think about getting a second opinion.

Good luck with it.
#30 at 11:42:46 - 15/09/2009

home