So, the ongoing plunge towards Hobson & Choi self-publication continues. I sent my manuscript of Book One off to an editor, because if my trip to London Book Fair taught me one thing, it’s that you gotta let someone else loose on it.
After all, I’m competing with an array of authors who have editors, I’m bothering to get a decent cover done, so I might as well make sure the insides are up to scratch.
With that goal in mind, I got my book back from the editor about a week ago, and have just blasted through the whole lot of edits once, making changes accordingly. It’s a strange experience, getting edited for the first time, and even after chatting to other people beforehand, it’s still… interesting.
A lot of writers say that when they first get professional feedback on their work from a professional editor or agent (or perhaps other professionals such as doctors, lawyers and accountants), they hear the bad parts and their first response is to admit: “Yes… yes, I knew all along, I was just hoping I was wrong.”
Are they telling the truth, or do they want to sound like they know what they’re doing?
I don’t know about others, but I can tell you that I totally knew everything all along, and the feedback from my editor served only to echo my own genius back at me.
To be honest, as edits go, I probably had a fairly easy ride. Lots of good feedback about my actual story, characters, pace, etc, but quite a lot of language stuff. To be precise: I sometimes over-narrate, which is something I’m aware of, but apparently need to chop more thoroughly.
Long story short, a fair chunk of over-elaborate narration to be cut, got a few new additions to compensate. The main problem, to be honest, is that a lot of fun observations or witty jokes tend to be buried in internal narration, and in removing that to avoid over-telling things, I also lose some good turns of phrase.
All comes back to that whole Killing Your Darlings thing again, doesn’t it? I love these words, and some can be salvaged with a move to dialogue, but many will simply need to die.
I struggled with it for a bit, to be honest. Even wondered whether me and the editor were well matched – all the time aware that I was probably just being precious. Part of me feels that the very close third person narrative, including inner thoughts and fun character theorising, is a big part of the style, and by chopping it back, I lose a bit of the fun.
On the other hand… it does read better now. A lot smoother. I’ve saved a decent percentage of the jokes I really liked, and the ones that are still in narration are a lot less buried in blocks of text. We’ll see how it goes, I suppose.
So, long story short, Hobson & Choi Book One is getting alarmingly close to happening now – hopefully late July or early August. I may even get my new title and cover up here on the blog in the nearish future, and won’t that be fun?