Monday, 25 July 2011


I forgot how good it is to edit on paper! I just printed the novel out for the first time in at least six months -got myself a luminous pink biro and covered the novel with pink ink. I've cut out swathes of beautiful description, phrases I loved and it feels great!

Two of the three agents who saw the complete MS of this novel have rejected it, one with detailed comments. The third, thank goodness, hasn't read it yet. I asked her to wait to read a new version and she said yes.

So here I am, editing a new, improved version. I even re-wrote the synopsis. For the billionth time. I've been working on this novel since March 2010, thought it was finished about ten times and sent the outline to almost twenty agents.

I just finished editing. I destroyed ten thousand words!

Sunday, 3 July 2011


I decided to go back and do another edit on the novel. Yes, I know I already sent it out to agents and two of them are still considering it. But one of the agents who rejected the complete MS said she didn't like the narratorial tone.

I have been super-busy with work, but have been thinking about this. I wondered if the most recent re-write made the book quite grim. When I found time to re-read it, I realised the main character does seem to have a bit of a thing for wanting to punch his sister. It's a pretty dark book - what with it being about a post-apocalyptic landscape populated by cannibals and a Hitleresque villain. There's not a lot of joy in it.

Today I had a big chunk of free time so I decided to do something about the tone of the book. It's quite a subtle thing to change. Though doing a 'find' sweep for the word 'punch' seemed a good place to start - that and 'blood spattered', 'terrible' and 'horror'.

I put more joy into the book - in the start at least, with more of a sense of wonder at the amazing locations. I've also made my main character gentler and now he hardly ever thinks about punching his sister. I think it works well, though in my experience of my own kids it's not exactly realistic. They're mostly adorable, but do seem to spend a lot of their time punching each other.