Sally-Anne Lomas is a writer, film maker and artist. For most of her life she has worked as a television producer making documentaries and short films for BBC, C4, ITV, and Animal Planet. She also works with children and young people to make films.
Your work has recently been featured in the A.M. Heath TLC Free Reads anthology, tell us a bit about that!
I completed a final draft of my novel at the end of the Escalator programme and began sending the manuscript out to agents. I was really pleased with Live Like Your Head’s On Fire, and my mentor, Yvvette Edwards, was enthusiastic. Sadly the agents I approached did not share our optimism. I was very disappointed.
When the opportunity to get a Professional Read came up I thought this could provide a way forward. I was delighted to be accepted onto the Free Read Programme. Having dedicated so much time to my novel I was extremely poor!
I received the Free Read report with excitement and ….was devastated! The opening line was ‘this novel is not up to industry standard’, and there followed pages of examples of the ways in which the work was lacking. I cried for three days, vowed to give up writing, and went back to my day job.
Three months later I got out the Report and read it more carefully and with less emotional involvement. The final paragraph said ‘Congratulations on writing such a brilliant, lively, entertaining novel.’ I made myself go through the report underlining the positive comments in green and the critical in red. The green far outweighed the red and when I engaged with the analysis I found that much of it was accurate and helpful.
I began work on another draft to address some of the challenges the Report had thrown up. I also entered, without much hope, the first Chapter for consideration for the AM Heath Free Read Anthology. I was delighted to be selected and that helped build my confidence back up.
My new draft, shaped by the Free Read Report is nearly finished and will be ready for the launch of the Anthology. It is stronger and who knows maybe someone in the industry may one day find it of a suitable standard.
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