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Thursday, 9 October 2014

Writing - Catching up while standing still

Sometimes, it feels like that. At present, I’m coming to the end of a final edit for Maureen, my editor of Catalyst, which is due for publication by Crooked Cat in a few weeks. The book has been edited a number of times, but when Maureen asked me to check it over and sign it off, I couldn’t resist having another read-through. The temptation at this stage is to let it go, as it has been read more than once by several critical eyes. Always, always, there will be something that has been missed, even with the best will and experience and diligence in the world. Mostly, it will be style things – such as echo words appearing in the same page or even paragraph. I’ve caught four instances of that. One instance where it should have been ‘he’, not ‘she’; it happens. I’ve said it before and will doubtless repeat it again often, but you will never catch all the typos or errors, but you need to strive to do so.

Next is the edit of The Prague Papers, due for publication by Crooked Cat later this year. I’m giving it the final check as requested by my editor Jeff. Some radical surgery has been committed on this book, and it’s all to the good. Quite a few thousand words have been excised by me since really they don’t move the story forward. Those lost words are interesting back-story, but they slow down the tale. I will probably include some of the missing material in a forthcoming blog/website for the protagonist, Tana Standish, psychic spy.
Tana Standish, psychic spy
The moral here is that just because you’ve completed a novel and it has been accepted, that doesn’t mean it is really finished. Approach these final edits with the same diligence applied to the manuscript prior to being despatched to the publisher.

And I’m still in the throes – getting to the exciting end – of Catacomb, the sequel to Catalyst. That’s taking a backseat while I clear the above edits. Yet even so, the characters are busy in the back of my head, jostling for a place, attempting to overcome the obstacles I put in their way before shunting them into a temporary limbo.

Finally, when I’ve completed Catacomb I need to return to the fantasy world of Floreskand, to get on with the sequel to Wings of the OverlordTo Be King, which has now been plotted in depth after a visit from my co-author, Gordon Faulkner.


Roland D. Yeomans said...

It is a seductive trap to let that final edit slip by. Yet, we can over-do it and never let go.

Like with children, we have to do the best we can, and then let them go out into the cold world!

Tana Standish, huh? One of my protagonists is Victor Standish. Maybe they are related. :-)

Nik said...

Hi, Roland. Thanks for the input. I agree, a book is never finished, it's abandoned - which I said on p146 of WRITE A WESTERN IN 30 DAYS. Interesting about Standish. Tana's adoptive father Hugh was in the RN and died in a car crash in 1944.