An editor for your novel – what’s the blooming point?

My second novel has been pummelled and cut, puzzled over and well and truly tinkered with – and it’s time to push it into a drawer for a few weeks so I can see its other faults when I pull it out again.

I got my editorial report back from literary consultancy Cornerstones a week before Christmas and prepared myself for a let down. But the corners of my mouth started to lift: The ending worked, the middle too. The story is compelling and marketable. There was even a few compliments thrown in, quite a few actually. Oh my. Of course, in true self-deprecating fashion, I zoned in on the negative. The first third needed work; lots of it. And one of my peripheral characters was really quite annoying.

Isn’t it weird? I have to confess I hadn’t seen any of these things. Well, maybe I had my suspicions that that peripheral character was a right royal pain in the jacksy, but why is it that it’s only when an editor points these things out that you can truly see them? Maybe it’s just as Stephen King says in On Writing, that:

‘To write is human, to edit is divine.’

So anyway, I’ve done loads of work on the second novel – I’ve slashed out the waffle at the beginning and a few weeks ago, I met a magical and inspirational woman who has become that now not-at-all-annoying peripheral character.

I’m feeling good about this book, very good about it, very hopeful in fact. But then, isn’t this always how these things start? Well, we’ll see.


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