A Writer Writes

Feeling ‘drafty’: the highs and lows of editing!

What I love about editing

As I mentioned in the last newsletter, the first draft of my book was sent off and I was awaiting the response. When it came, it was largely good – at least my agent and editor loved the story, the twists and the structure. But as is often the case (with me, if not with any other writer) there were parts of the novel that seemed as clear as day to me, but not to those reading it!

Back came the comments, some so good I wanted to do a little jig around the room, others less favourable. And that’s when it becomes important that, as a writer, I love my job – because each of the comments should be seen as an opportunity to make the book better, to improve the narrative or strengthen the personality of a character.

I want readers to have the best possible experience, and to make that happen I have to take on board every comment and assume that the editor – as a reader – is right. Always. If she tells me that one of my characters (who I happened to like) comes over as an idiot, then I have to appreciate that what was in my head has not been adequately conveyed in my writing. It makes me think – very hard – and question myself.

And then comes the moment when I rewrite a section – whether a paragraph or a whole chapter – and I see something emerge that is stronger, clearer and more engaging. It’s a wonderful feeling.

Mind you – I’ve just sent it back again for further comments, and I can tell you now that there will be some. It’s all part of the process. Right now, this is the developmental or structural stage of the edit. Even when the characters and the story are right, there’s still more joy to come with the copy edit!

But more of that later…