Editing for Novices

So the edit came back and I must say it is impressive. I haven’t completely absorbed it all yet but mostly I think the changes made improve the book and will make it clearer and easier to follow. There are one or two cuts that I can’t agree with but I assume that’s normal. I don’t actually know how best to go through the document and rework it, but one of my fellow authors at Unbound, James Ellis, who is also a professional editor, has offered to help. Meanwhile I am totally chuffed with the editor’s opening paragraph – I pretty much stopped reading when I got to the end of it, thinking “it’s not going to get any better than this!”:

“Your memoir has a great (and commercial) premise, and I really enjoyed reliving your father’s earlier life experiences and learning more about this fascinating period in WWII history. He was a stoic, level-headed and resourceful personality who lived a fuller life than most, but chose not to shout about his achievements. WWII is of perennial interest as a genre and Princess Anne’s Foreword helps to give this gravitas. Your writing is polished, your descriptions are vivid, your questions are intelligent and you’ve clearly done a lot of research”.

I am away on an osteopathy course this weekend and I have a course that I am teaching in early November which I need to finalise my preparations for, so I am going to have to squeeze editing in around the edges. Oops – I just read James’ top ten dos and dont’s – number one don’t is to blog about writing when you should be writing!


Originally this blog was intended to keep friends and family up to date with my travels in China. It worked far better than sending postcards and it was great to be able to share photographs and videos of my adventures. Now, though, I am going to start blogging about my publishing journey. The book is written but that seems to be a relatively small and simple part of the process – a journey from ‘twinkle in the eye’ to embryological development. I now have to get through the gestation process.

I am anxiously awaiting the return of the manuscript of “Stranger In My Heart” from the editor. I was expecting it last week but nothing has turned up yet. This is like the 12 week scan, when I shall see if there is a healthy heartbeat and the right number of limbs. After that I will have to do a lot of work. Everyone says that you have to ‘kill your darlings’ – allow cuts and changes even to your favourite passages – in order for the book to work well. I will try not to be too defensive but I hope that there isn’t a total rewrite to do as I am rather busy doing other things. I am also looking for people who might write reviews for me. I have contacted some celebrity supporters of the Riding for the Disabled Association (I’m donating some of the book proceeds to the RDA) and I have a well known author or two up my sleeve, but any suggestions gratefully received.

I am going to the Greek Islands in a couple of days for a holiday – it has been a tough year for me, healthwise, and I am hoping to come home with renewed vigour. I may or may not post while I’m away, depending on WiFi availability, inclination and newsworthy news!