Sunday, 1 August 2010

I Didn't Only Doodle

Technically, I've been a published author for 11 years (I'm young at heart though, I promise), and yet, as the editing and revision of my novel begins in earnest, I find myself almost back at square one.

Having a picture book text edited is not normally a complex or protracted process, though it can be dramatic, with editors saying things like 'love the basic concept, but now try it in the present tense, and set in space!'. And as it's only five hundred words, you give it a go, because we're talking hours and days here, that's all. Yes, getting a picture book text just right can be very difficult, but exploring options is pretty easy, and fun too.

Having had several days to absorb my first editorial meeting about a novel, I can see that I'm in completely new territory. There's A LOT to think about! Having a fourth dimension doesn't help either – why, oh why did I pick time travel?

Oh yes, because it's endlessly -- timelessly -- fascinating, that's why.

But anyway, it's nevertheless an invigorating experience being edited on this scale, and liberating to be given time and permission to slash and burn, as well as reappraise all those discarded ideas. What it all comes down to is writing out the weaknesses of the text to allow the strengths to really fly, though that makes it sound easy. It isn't, which is why having someone experienced point out which is which is beyond price.

I've been told that I might just have an original idea, though I hardly dare type that! Perhaps it would be more accurate to say it's a cluster of ideas that have not been combined quite this way before. I think. I'll probably find out to the contrary when the plagiarism charges arrive. But whatever it is, I've also been told that it's being held back by some rather pedestrian (though core, unfortunately) plot elements that have been done, frankly, far too often. It's no simple thing to nurture and destroy at the same time, but that it seems is what editing is all about.

If only my contract would arrive, then I could talk about it here properly.


  1. It sounds so complicated. I've heard other published authors talk about this sort of thing, though. I guess, once publishers accept you, it's far from over.

    But the story sounds exciting!:)

  2. Thanks, Terry. Yes, FAR from over. This is the third major round of revisions I will have done on this story, but it's worth it. Once the book is out, I obviously can't chnage a thing, so this is my last chnace to get it right.

  3. I'm sure you will take this and anything else that's thrown at you, in your stride, Thomas - and I can't wait to get my hands on "The Ghost Effect" - if it's still called that by then....

    Best of luck - c'mon you publishing lot - give the man his contract!

  4. Thanks, Rachel. It's amazing how one set of worries takes over from another: 'Will I finish it?' becomes 'Will someone publish it?' which becomes 'will it be any good and will anyone buy it?'

    It's quite normal for contracts to take this long. Especially in the summer. I've been told that there's just one point left to straighten out. Like a loose lock of hair or something.

  5. May the contract phase go smoothly. If suffering builds character, you might be nominated for sainthood before your book hits the presses!

    Time travel is fun : I'm doing a serial utilizing it on my blog. Hope your sales go through the roof. Roland

  6. Many thanks, Roland. I spent some time on your blog the other night, and was quickly caught up in your writing. Don't be surprised to see me there again, especially since you're lucky to have some interesting spirits lurking about the place.


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