Tuesday, 5 December 2017

Scary amount of work to do

It turns out, changing genre was a lot more work than I anticipated. I'm mostly there, I still have 70 pages (of 500) to sort out, including a whole scene that needs rewriting. Of course, it's just about the busiest time of the year with family... I'm making myself work, and I'm getting there.

It's humbling to have some many edits to do. Editors know about the impact your words will have on a reader, because the writer is always very close to it by the time they hand a much tidied and rewritten draft in. It would be easy to get really defensive about a word change or a question, but if they impact on the editor they will raise questions in the reader. My terrible tendency to repeat words has been thoroughly reviewed. My painstaking research has been challenged - it's no good knowing something is true if I haven't convinced the reader. It doesn't have to be true, it has to feel true, as well. For example, I know women didn't curtsy in the 16th century - they bowed. But would a modern reader know? Would they expect a curtsy? I don't want to be wrong, but it needs to feel correct when you read it. I want to reader to feel they can trust the writer's research, and just enjoy the story without being distracted. So sometimes we have to find a compromise between correct and plausible. 

When I first started writing seriously, accepting being edited was one of the hardest things. It's still difficult sometimes, but mostly I'm hugely grateful for that distant perspective. And happy to keep making the book better (and who knows, more successful).  

I can't wait to get this back and take a bit of a breather. I feel like I've been deep in Sage's world with two books back to back, and it will be a relief to step back for a few weeks over Christmas. 


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