Tuesday, 22 November 2011

On Finishing

Yesterday I sent the line edit back for Haunters. Since then I have been wrestling with a very odd feeling: the dawning realisation that the bloody thing’s actually finished!

Now, obviously there’s going to be some comeback from the last edit, and I’m sure I’ll be tippexing the screen right up to the end, but right now -- and for the first time in the three years and seven drafts it has taken to reach this point -- I honestly can’t think of anything else I could do with it.

When I signed the contract, my agent gave me some very sound advice. In response to my flapping about how craptastic the book was probably going to end up, she told me… well, first she told me to get a grip, but then she told me that the only way to protect myself from critics, detractors and one-star Amazonian book demolishers was to be entirely sure that I had done everything I possibly could to make the book as strong as it could be. If there was a stop, I had to pull it out. If there was an extra mile, I had to plod down it, hacking at the nettles -- yes, even in the rain. I probably looked like a frightened rabbit when she told me all this, but I took that advice to heart.

Of course, the book could still be utterly craptastic. But objectivity? Well, that’s a whole other subject.

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Being Edited

I am currently working through the line edit of my Science Fiction thriller Haunters (blogged about before as ‘The Ghost Effect’ and due to be published by the Chicken House next May). For those who don’t know what a line edit is, it’s the part of the editorial process that involves the most red ink, the part where the text is scrutinised line by line in search of errors, inconsistencies and crapness. My editor has cut 6,000 words. That’s a lot of crapness. Here is some of it:

  1. Purple prose. Of the ‘behold my literary sensibilities’ variety. I don’t know whether to be grateful or embarrassed about this, so I shall be both.
  2. Repetition. Saying it clearly the first time means not having to say it loosely again and again.
  3. Waffle. My book isn’t set in Belgium. And even if it was, characters should never be allowed to sit about in comfy chairs, explaining the plot to each other. At least not in front of the reader.
  4. Un-warranted non-verbal communication and other narrative ticks. Such as staring, gasping, sighing, eye-rolling and arse-scratching. Actually, no-one ever scratched their arse in my book, but if they had, they wouldn’t be doing it now.
  5. Seeming. When things patently are.   
  6. Many instance of the word that. On the whole I think that this is a good thing.
  7. A policeman. Yes, a whole policeman. He was a rubbish policeman anyway. I like to think that he’s now in the next street, scratching his arse.
  8. Repetition. Oh…

I’m told some writers actually go ahead and publish their own e-books without any input from an editor. Don’t do that. 

Friday, 4 November 2011

Harry Potter and the Good Cause

Okay, okay, I know. But at least this time it’s for the benefit of others. I have donated a book with a signed sketch in it to Team Hannah. Please take time to visit the site.

I've seen these sell for 4 figures in the past (not for my benefit, I should add), and since I don’t often do this kind of thing, there could be the chance of a rare and unusual Christmas bargain here. And if you can’t bid, you can always spread the word…


Tuesday, 1 November 2011

Covers My Book Won't Have

Borrowing an idea from top comic book artist Dave Shelton, I thought I’d post one of the many cover concepts that won’t make it to the finished version of my illustrated comic novella Dan and the Dead.

This image was thrashed out between the designer and myself, using elements from previous roughs and new sketches made both in and out of Photoshop. I really liked it (as an idea), but those who will be marketing the book thought it looked a tad too ‘young’. And so, for once, ‘back to the drawing board’ wasn’t a cliché. 

This book was created with reluctant boy readers in mind so anything that might put them off has to be addressed. The story is voice driven, so there’s much more emphasis on Dan’s character and attitude in the new version. I’ve just sent it off. Let’s hope they like it.