Saturday, 24 March 2012

Holding the whole book in my head

This is the point I haven't quite reached before - I have both strands in my head, letting them overlap and touch where they need to, and they are much stronger at the end. The agent suggested a few (major) edits, one of which was bringing the main historical antagonist forward, and the other was adding some violins to the big emotional scenes at the end. In October, I was under a lot of pressure to complete the book, and I threw a few brief scenes together so now I'm writing them in full.

The most flattering thing she said about the book, was that she cried at the end. So a few more violins for the other chapters, and I've written six more historical chapters, put epigraphs at the beginning of each historical chapter, tidied and sorted and worked on the prose - but repetitions still catch me out. This is one of my favourites, discovered today:
The house was a mess, a bottle of vodka open in the living room, papers all over the room. Photographs of Sadie covered every inch of the windowsill of the living room, with vases that scented the room with the bitterness of decaying flowers.  
 What was I thinking? There's loads more of those to go through, and I don't see them, although I do hear them. So I have to read out loud, to some willing victim (because I skip over it and read what I meant to say otherwise) to recognise where I've gone horribly wrong. I feel guilty about printing off so many pages but it seems to be the only way, reading with a few coloured pens in my hand.

I need to go through the second half of the book, now, ready to send it off to the agent's line editing. Then more edits... At least I will have a bit of time to breathe and work on the next book(s) and get back to Sage. The next Borrowed Time is writing itself in my head, which is lovely, but not at 4a.m. 


  1. Oh dear this whole process sounds far worse than writing the book! Hang in there though it will be worth it when I can buy a first edition from a talented new author :-)

  2. Thank you Gilly! They see what you see on the shelf hasn't been written, it's been rewritten, and I'm finding that out. But each edit is more fussy and small, I'm getting there! Hope you are enjoying the glorious sunshine down there, it's lovely here. I'm not too sure about getting published, but it won't be for lack of trying!