Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Verbose? I Would Have to Respond to That Charge in the Negative

The edit on the first draft of Old Friends arrived this morning. That's extremely exciting, not least because it's my first opportunity to read the book as a whole, with Marc and Jonathan's stories in place. The three of us (and editor Simon) spent weeks firing emails back and forth, thrashing out the plot across the three tales, so I obviously know how the other stories play out. To be able to read them in toto is a bit of a treat, though.

As far as the nuts and bolts side of things go, I've not had a chance to do more than quickly scan Simon's notes. What is immediately obvious is that there's a lot more 'red ink' on my story than on the others, meaning I've succumbed again to one of the most persistent flaws in my writing.

Regular readers won't be too surprised to learn that I'm incapable of using one word where 27 will do. Try as I might (and despite spending years cutting other people's copy) I find it impossible to edit my own work. Can't do it. It's a blind spot. As a result, my writing's always much better for a merciless slashing, which is why it's great to have someone like Simon who can chop out a paragraph and replace it with a sentence so spot on you'd never notice there was anything missing.

Incidentally, the two novellas and my short story will be out in November.


Blogger 0tralala said...

Hello, slave.

Sorry you get the lion's share of the red ink. Don't take it personally, though. I think there are two important points to consider:

1) You're a bit newer to this than those other two chaps.

2) Your story's also tying up the whole book, so some of those notes are just to clarify the book as a whole, rather than "No, Pete, you are wrong."

Anyway. Get on with your work.

12:16 AM  
Blogger Pete Kempshall said...

Oh, hi! What are you doing here?

[Shuffles papers, looks busy/furtive]

I'm actually extremely pleased with the red ink. Waffly prose has always been my weak spot and it's good to know someone's out there who'll chop it out. Saves on bored readers breaking out the torches and pitchforks further down the line.

Still, it is handy for getting the word count up.

Sorry. Working now. Honest.

7:35 AM  

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