And my editor said…

I love my editor. I have never met her and she may already be married but make no bones about it, I love her.

I sent my first book, ‘six months to get a life’ off to her a few weeks ago. I have been a nervous wreck ever since.

By the time the book came back, my nails were shorter, my hair greyer and my blood pressure higher.

But the wait was worth it. She likes it! She thinks it’s funny and that it could be a commercial success.

Of course she didn’t just say that everything about it was perfect. In fact she has provided lots of really constructive suggestions that I will now be enthusiastically working on over the summer.

In particular, she has challenged me to develop the characters more. Particularly for those of you that are writing your first book at the moment, I thought I would share some of her comments.

At specific points in the text she has posed questions like:

“Does he think Julia fancies him?”

“Is it OK by Graham? Does he mind being told he isn’t great in bed?”

“Shouldn’t Graham acknowledge that he’s being a bit of a dickhead?”

“Could you use this as an opportunity to show us what’s going on in Sean’s head?”

“More of a reaction/comment here from Graham, please.”

“Pretty twattish response from Graham – we should see her anger.”

“Wouldn’t Graham think about sex more? Wouldn’t he want to know about Dave & Helen? Has he slept with Amy? Does he want to? Does he think he will?”

“So what’s he like? Describe him. Can we see Graham being bitchy/jealous/competitive.”

“Does Graham fancy ‘short skirt Sarah’? He’s single again – he’d be considering the idea, wouldn’t he? Space here for him to think about whether he’s attracted to her/feels attractive himself/is he ready for anything new/what’s his self-image/how confident does he feel? Etc. Try to do it via physical details, eg might he check to see if he’s got a beer belly/does it show/should he go to the gym later.”

My editor also said a couple of things that I would love your views on.

“Really? I don’t believe a parent of teenagers wouldn’t have heard of au pairs.” What do you think? Have most parents of teenagers heard of au pairs?

“Coffee? Teenagers don’t drink coffee.” Is she right here? Are my kids odd?!

And whilst she liked a lot of the funny lines in the book, she didn’t think this one worked. Do you?
“I actually took my ring off on Christmas day and chucked it under a sofa in my family home in disgust at being bought a ‘beard care set’ for Christmas. I haven’t even got a beard.”

5 thoughts on “And my editor said…

  1. samulraney July 31, 2014 / 7:50 pm

    That’s the kind of feedback everyone needs. Good for you.

    I don’t have teens, but I’ve heard of au pairs.
    I hate coffee (I know!), but know of some teens who drink it, especially now that it’s just a conveyance for sugar and cream.
    I can appreciate the humor in the ring line, but it seems a bit clunky. Do we need to know it’s”in my family home”?

    Good luck with your revisions!

  2. blondeusk July 31, 2014 / 8:42 pm

    Good questions! Good luck on your journey 🙂

  3. Wendy Clarke August 18, 2014 / 2:45 pm

    When my children were teens, most of their friends didn’t drink coffee (neither did they). It’s highly unlikely that someone wouldn’t have heard of an au pair and, actually, I liked the beard-care joke… but what do I know!

  4. Emmy Curtis August 29, 2014 / 10:27 pm

    Some teenagers drink coffee without a doubt – mostly iced coffee / fraps type things in my experience.

    Yes they would have heard of an Au pair

    Your editor is right, the joke doesn’t really work. So this character has a tantrum and throws his wedding ring under a sofa? No. The beard-care kit as a gift IS funny, but you need to find a better way for him to react. “I seriously considered trading my family in for a sports car when I got a beard-care kit for Christmas. I don’t have a beard. Seriously.” OK, that’s not great, but you see what I mean!

    If you really need a line about the ring, just think of something different. Buried it in the dog food?!

    Gah, this writing stuff is hard, yo. 😉

  5. davidprosser September 3, 2014 / 3:00 pm

    Sounds like a great editor but I like the last joke/reaction. It’s the kind of thing I’d say and many people would feel.

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