Six weeks to go until My Mother’s Secret comes out! For an author waiting to see how her book will be received, this is a… Read More »My Mother’s Secret – What other writers are saying
Writer Isabel Costello kindly asked me to write a guest post for her blog, The Literary Sofa. I hope you have a chance to read some of her other posts, all highly informative with some interesting tips.
I had the unfortunate fortune to be barely edited when my first two novels, Theory of Mind and Angel Bird were published by Black Swan. Fortunate, because editing is a painful process, especially when the person who is paying you is pointing out your shortcomings. Unfortunate, because it gave me the misguided impression that writing a novel is all about the writing. As Ernest Hemingway said, ‘The first draft of anything is shit.’ For your work to shine, you need to write, rewrite and then get some help!
I used to be dreadfully bad at spelling and grammar. Now I’m just bad. I’m better than I was thanks to spell check, practice and copy editors. Necessary as good punctuation and the correct use of the English language is, though, editing is so much more than this.
You can – you probably should – pay for a copy editor to go through your work before your book wings its way into the world; you should probably also hire a professional editor (more on this another time), but I thought I would share with you my editing procedure. Not that everyone needs this kind of approach – it’s simply what helps me with my rubbish spelling and blindspots when it comes to typos and story structure!
So. I’ve finished the first draft. I drink copious amounts of alcohol, preferably fizzy, and then: