September 30, 2017 @ 4:35 AM

Seven Sensible Steps to Success as a Writer

Step 7 (continued): Taking time…

As with everything, I find it’s much better calmly to absorb what is being said by the editor about one’s precious manuscript, and to consider the point carefully from every point of view.

Always look up the reference to confirm the answer to any query that’s been raised on a factual matter. You've done the research and mostly you’ll be correct - but sometimes not, and then you'll be thanking your editor for providing another form of safety net.

Above all, take your time before deciding whether to accept or reject what is being proposed. Even in today’s world of faster turnarounds, you’ll usually have a few .........

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September 30, 2017 @ 4:32 AM

Seven Sensible Steps to success as a writer
Step 7 (cont): Your editor suggests…


It’s not only novice writers who sometimes find the business of pulling the sacred text apart on the editorial desk a somewhat trying experience.

Even those of us who have several books under our belts can still jib and argue when a manuscript comes back with various passages marked in blue pencil for amendment, or questions raised as to meaning or factual content.

‘Surely anyone with half a brain can see that what I intended to say was … Of course that’s correct … I think … Oh, I see … sorry…’

It’s always best, I find, to read an edited manuscript once through .........


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September 15, 2017 @ 11:36 PM

Seven sensible steps to success as a writer
Step 7. Learn to love your editor

The process of self-criticism and constant revision that is the author’s stock-in-trade with each draft of a book, is similar on a smaller scale to what’s required when you come to the serious business of working with a professional editor.

It may by an independent editor you engage on a personal basis - or, more usually in my experience, it’s an in-house editor employed by your publisher. Either way, the judgement, clarity and professional detachment demanded of the author is taken to a whole new level.

And here let me say to every new author, that editors are not just necessary evils, as certain lawyers and politicians may .........


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September 9, 2017 @ 7:23 AM

Seven Sensible Steps to Success As an Author
Step 6 (continued). The wonderful wells…

A work in progress never leaves you, of course; but taking a little holiday from the desk does allow the waters to flow again into the wonderful wells of the human imagination.

It never ceases to astonish me that, just when I think I must have exhausted every idea and image in my brain, I’ll return to the source after a little while and find it brimming again with new words and possibilities.

It’s the font of all our dreams … and while life persists will always replenish itself.

So that when you return to your book, it is as one refreshed in mind and spirit. You look at the pages with new eyes, and the approach is .........


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September 1, 2017 @ 7:33 AM

Seven Sensible Steps to Success As an Author
Step 6 (continued): Taking a break

The second draft usually takes me three or four months to complete. But before getting down to it, I generally take a break of at least several weeks from the work.

Indeed, I will often do so at the mid-way point of a long and time-consuming book.

Like a baker’s loaf, I put the typescript aside and cover it over – to give the yeast time to prove itself, and see if it will rise...

Put it in the oven to cook for a while, if I may extend the metaphor, and discover if the bread tastes as well when I come back to it in the morning.

For me, this short break gives the mind time to rest – to smell the roses, as they say – and to review the book at some leisure without the urgency of the original creative impetus.

It's extraordinary how very worthwhile it can be.


Next: the wonderful wells…



Bread in oven, by Jean-Bernard Vuille. Wikimedia Commons.

Rosa Gold Glow, by Stan Shebs. Wikimedia Commons

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