During the long silence, I have not been kicking back on an eastern shore with a plate of oysters (only for a week in the summer). No, I’ve been channelling Dalton Trumbo and hard at work, as pictured, on the structural edit of my book, Apple Island Wife.
Just before Christmas, the manuscript went off to a lovely lady appointed by my publisher Unbound. Let’s call her Mary of Oxford. Her job was to look at the manuscript as a whole and see if it worked. Themes, style, writing. We spoke on the phone to make sure we were on the same page before she started. A couple of things I wanted her to look at. Its episodic nature – did it matter? The reflective writing giving a sense of place – should there be more?
Just into the New Year, Mary sent it back with a report, and insights on these points and more. This is a process every writer looks forward to and should grasp with both hands and a willing pen. A professional editor, who works with text and has an objective eye, lifts your work to another level. They don’t do the work for you, mind. I spent the next month rewriting, stripping back, and writing fresh material. And the book is better for it.
The next stage is copy edit – think full stops and paragraph breaks, and then design! Unbound use top notch editors and top shelf designers, so we’re on track for a book that’s the best it can be and a class product. With that in mind, I didn’t really edit in the bath, but very seriously, sitting at my desk. And sometimes in bed.
Lastly, in case you’re curious, the gentleman in the bath and the moustache is Dalton Trumbo, Hollywood screenwriter, resister of the McCarthy inquisition, and the man behind the films Spartacus and Roman Holiday. Despite being blacklisted during the McCarthy era, he continued to write and won two Academy Awards, and was finally given full credit by the Writers’ Guild for six decades of screenwriting. He seriously did write in the bath, and If that’s what it does for you, I’ll give it a whirl any day.
Any questions? Leave me a comment! I’d love to hear from you!