wine and The Cave

Filed under: writing

My editor rang me with my revisions to the current novel on Tuesday: nine pages of changes, some of them structural, and every suggestion is a gift. I love the moment where you see your work through someone else’s eyes and suddenly the weaknesses become clear—but also the solutions become clear, and all at once you see how what you wrote can become so much better, so much more like what you meant it to be in the first place. In this case, there were two major problems with the novel (actually there was only one—it was all about characterisation and techniques of revealing it, but it presented in two different ways). One issue was something I’d thought about and wrestled with, because it’s the core of the book, and my editor suggested I handle it in a different way than I’d chosen to. She’s totally right, of course. I couldn’t see it myself, because I was too close to the story, and too convinced that I’d thought about the issue and come up with the correct solution.

Anyway, I am now in the Revision Cave, and although it’s hard work being here, it’s an extremely exciting place to be. I really like tearing apart my work and making it better, and when you have lovely clear instructions and suggestions from your genius editor, it’s just wonderful.

With this book, there are actually two different scenes I wrote originally and cut, and which now need to be re-instated. Fortunately I was able to find them. Never throw anything away, that’s my motto. Though I quite often do throw things away, by mistake. Then I spend a lot of time swearing.

I took a break from the Cave on Thursday, to go to London to the Romantic Novelists’ Association meeting. There was a panel of editors and agents talking about the newest trends and what they’re looking for (and NOT looking for) and as always, it was very interesting. Then we went to the pub afterwards. It’s always funny when a group of romantic novelists take over a pub en masse. Wine suddenly appears on tables and other punters suddenly look a bit bemuddled. Afterwards, Biddy and I went to our favourite bonding restaurant for some calimari and bonding. And more wine.

Needless to say, Friday I felt a bit delicate.

But today I’m back in the Cave, and I’m going to be here for a little while.

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  1. Happy revising! x

  2. Me jealous….yes.

    Good luck with the revisions!

  3. You can do it! It’s great having a fab editor isn’t it? Hugs

    • It is great, I think I owe her some cookies!

  4. Oh, dear God, what I’d give for some lovely clear instructions to improve mine!


    • It is, I must admit, a major perk of having a book deal: you have at least one, and usually several, professionals examining your work and doing their best to make it better.

      But a good critique partner can be equally useful.

      • I’m sure that would help. And then it’s about finding the RIGHT critique partner, I guess.

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