All posts by Brenda McHale

Busy Busy

Breakfast in a youth hostel on day 4 of my placement. The fact that I’m interspersing my porridge spooning with keyboard stabs at 8am should be enough to tell you my placement is full on. I’m not complaining – everyone there is working beyond capacity, but still managing to be very nice and show me things. It’s good when I’m doing something that actually feels helpful. So far I’ve done a first edit on a 200 page book, written blurbs and a reader’s report for it and done editorial notes. I’m pretty sure that all this will be done again by one of them too, which is quite right: this book is someone’s new baby, they don’t want to leave it in the care of some incompetent spotty teenage babysitter! I’ve also proofread the new catalogue and stuck new labels on tubes of fruit pastilles (don’t ask – I’m not sure if they come under the confidentiality clause I’ve signed).
So right now I need to get on the move and leave the dining room – youth hostels in February seem to be the domain of women who might be making a stand against the age discriminatory name of the place, or maybe we are all just on placements and want somewhere cheap and warm to rest weary heads. .My desk awaits, and at least this morning I’ll know how to turn on my computer – that was embarrassing!

Heading North

Tomorrow morning, an hour before sunrise, I will drive north up one of my favourite roads to my placement at Sandstone Press. Like I think everyone before their placement, I’m both excited and nervous. Oh, and worried about what to wear! I’m really looking forward to seeing from start to finish the process of publishing a book, and maybe to finding out some hints to increase the likelihood of getting published myself (hint 1: write a book).

I’m hoping I might get a chance to do some proofreading too. I’ve done it before, but a bit of Googling has introduced me to digital proofreading and marking up, something that’s new to me and obviously I’m panicking even though I don’t even know if I’m going to be doing any: classic self sabotage. Anyway, a placement is a chance to learn – after all there wouldn’t be much point in going if I already knew everything, would there? So I’m running with that thought, and packing my suitcase with my entire wardrobe – which should cover the first three days there, if I don’t spill anything on me.

 

 

Placement Proceeding

I feel a bit behind others who are already up and running, but my placement at Sandstone Press in Dingwall is now all sorted, to start on 18th February. I’m really excited, especially having looked at their site and seen some of their great books. I’m interested to see Cameron McNeish there, an outdoorsy person after my own heart – although he literally walks the walk, while I tend  to talk the talk. I’ve also been promised an interview with Moira Forsyth, the editorial director, as she wears her other hat of author of five novels. It feels good to have things on the move.

5 Things About Brenda

Hi, my name is Brenda and I’m a writer.

Here are 5 things I’d like you to know about me, because who doesn’t love a list?

1. I’m also a cook. My favourite thing to make is Viennese whirl biscuits with a cherry on the top, because they’re so pretty.

2. My favourite writing is essays of the creative kind, but I’m coming to love short stories too.

3. I listen to audiobooks when I go walking, which is great multitasking. I’m listening to The Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula Le Guin just now, and really enjoying it.

4. My favourite possession is my mini camper van, and in the summer I hope to go off in it to write my dissertation.

5. The quote I’m living by right now is: