Posts Tagged Cornerstones Literary Consultants

Little Museum of Hope – Cover Reveal!

I can hardly believe that Little Museum of Hope now has an actual cover (isn’t it beautiful?) and a pre-order link. This book has been a decade in the making and now it’s becoming a reality! Museum of Broken Relationships Zagreb

Around 10 years ago I read a newspaper article about The Museum of Broken Relationships in Zagreb. Its website describes the sole purpose of this museum as ‘treasuring and sharing your heartbreak stories and symbolic possessions. It is a museum about you, about us, about the ways we love and lose.’ This sparked my imagination and I decided to write a series of linked short stories based on a fictional version of this museum.

For a short time, I dabbled in self-publishing these stories on Kindle. The first was ‘Maxine’s Story’ about a teenager who has an unplanned pregnancy. The story went through various rewrites and became one of the six stories shortlisted for The 2016 Just Write Creative Writing Competition organized by Writing Magazine and John Murray Press. The prize was a rooftop reception at the London offices of the publisher Hachette. As well as the other shortlisted authors, there were several industry professionals present at the reception and a conversation I had with a representative of Cornerstones Literary Consultancy made me realise that these stories, about individual donors to the museum, could be woven together as a novel.

Creating a novel from short stories was more difficult than I expected because it needed an additional storyline or two which could run through the whole of the novel, thus binding it together. There were several stumbling blocks along the way but I stuck with it because I was convinced that the concept was strong. In 2017 the novel gained an agent’s attention in a Twitter pitching competition and I was given feedback on the whole manuscript. I edited the novel following this advice but the agent decided not to take it further.

In 2018 I was signed by a different agent on the strength of the novel. Together we did more editing but it failed to sell to any of the large publishers. Last year I decided to independently submit to smaller publishers and I was delighted when the ‘tasting panel’ at Ruby Fiction enjoyed Little Museum of Hope – I had finally found a publisher for the book.

Over the past few weeks there have been structural edits to hone the story for the readership of Ruby Fiction – mainly to add in some additional ‘bright spots’, in order to provide light relief from the emotional stories which the donors bring to the museum. There will be more work to come before the publication date of 25th April 2023. But today I’m sitting back and enjoying the satisfaction of seeing something that’s been brewing for ten years take its first faltering steps in the big wide world – and I’m really glad I didn’t give up at the first hurdle!

Little Museum of Hope is now available to preorder and will then be automatically delivered to you on 25th April. Fingers crossed that you think it’s worth the ten year gestation period!

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A Consultation With Cornerstones

Just before Christmas, Cornerstones Literary Consultants ran a Twitter competition to win one of several half-hour consultations with Helen Corner-Bryant. I was a lucky winner and this morning Helen phoned me for a brainstorming session. Helen had no prior knowledge of me or my novel but she was quick to take on board my story concept and where I am in my writing journey.

The good news was that characters (like mine) aged around 50 are popular at the moment.Cornerstones Literary Consultants

The not so good news was:

  • It sounded to Helen like there was passivity on the side of my main characters so I might like to gee them up a bit and make them more active.
  • My working title isn’t brilliant – it’s likely to get lost in a morass of other books . This is a small problem that can be sorted out later.
  • The structure of the novel might need attention to make sure that it fits the standard three act structure that publishers like. We talked about rising tension peaks and the low point in the novel, where the main character is worse off than she was at the beginning of the book. On the plus side structure-wise – I do have an obvious inciting incident.

Moving forward, my plan is to re-write the book’s synopsis against the three act structure so that I can see what fits and if anything is missing.

The thirty-minute consultation went by in a flash. There was no sales pitch about Cornerstones’ services but, having spoken to Helen, I’d have confidence using them should I ever decide to go down that route. A half hour well spent!

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