Wednesday, 25 June 2014

Under the microscope

Saw a fascinating programme the other day about a famous author who has kindly donated a whole lot of his writing memorabilia to a local university. This included all sorts of things apparently, including many drafts of a particular novel, allowing people to see the thought processes he underwent in the creation of that novel. The novel had been written in longhand by himself and then typed up by his wife, as obviously word processors etc weren't around in those days, which was fascinating in itself but what most amazed me was the care he had taken in editing his work.

Most writers will tell you that the hardest part of writing any novel is the editing process and I'm sure I've touched on the subject in blog entries before. Having worked so hard to create your baby nobody likes to see it carved up and dismembered in the editing process, but it is a necessary evil. What's worse is that most manuscripts require several edits and proofreads and then just when you think that you've got it perfect, your editor comes back to you and "suggests" a dozen alterations. It's not easy to take as most authors are far too precious about their work and I include myself in that.

Now I've no idea how many times this author edited his manuscript but the level of detail and effort he went to, to get it to read exactly as he wished, was incredible. Every single word seemed to have been studied and considered, with many crossed out with an alternate suggestion written in pencil above it. I can only guess how long this took him to do based on my own experience of editing and I take my hat off to him not only for his dedication, but for his patience and determination. To love your work that much and be so determined to make sure that it is literally word perfect, should be an inspiration to all of us authors whether published or not.

And on that subject I pleased to say that the first draft of Vengeance of the sword, is going very well and I'm about 8000 words into the first draft. It's been great fun writing about some of the old characters again but equally it's been good fun introducing a handful of new ones, mostly villains. Devious plot twists and sub plots are frequently popping into my mind as are acts of betrayal from those we least expect it from, so this looks like being a darker book than its predecessors perhaps.

Please keep popping back for more updates.

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