Editnig in Progress

EditingNobody can cheer you up quite the way a mate can. Especially when you’re unemployed and living hand to mouth on the crusty edge of the breadline. Take yesterday, for instance. After my last post I got a lovely comment back from one of the guys. Something along the lines of: ‘Great essay, Ian! I may have a small job for you.’ Wow! Fantastic! Tears of joy and adrenalin coursed down my cheeks. A job! For me! Clearly my mate is in need of my highly under-rated literary genius. Maybe he needs me to draft a business proposal! Or come up with a press release. Jeez, maybe he needs someone to write his Memoirs! Okay, easy tiger, maybe he’s just after a wedding speech, or it could be, he simply needs his CV proof-read. No matter, I’ll take it! It’s all vindication of my change in career! Eagerly I approached him, ‘Sven, old boy. What’ve you got for me? How may I put my sublime skills to use in your service? You merely have to ask, Sir, and it shall be done!’
To which he replied, and I quote: ‘Our grass is getting healthy as the weeks pass – cause no one’s picking up the dog shit!’
‘Sven, you are a rare gem. A scholar and a gentleman. Words fail me….’

Moving swiftly on then to my literary progress. I received my manuscript back from the editor on Monday. Red ink was all but dripping off my computer screen once I opened the file but a lot of her comments were positive. I’ve included the relevant parts below:

‘I have thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to read this book and to comment on it and I think you are an extremely proficient writer with a really beautiful turn of phrase at times … delete, delete, delete….but you have a real flair for descriptive text … delete, delete, delete.’

‘You have a talent for wonderfully lyrical prose, however…. delete, delete, delete.’

‘I think this is a wonderful story with many great elements. There are magical ‘moments’ in the novel. Some moments are not as … delete, delete, delete.’

Most of her comments centered around my characters, with questions such as: What was X doing up the water tower with a bottle of vodka, a hermit-crab and a tub of Aloe Vera? Why does Y not seem to have a purpose when he drives the tank through the sewage farm? And what made Z act like a complete dork over the missing party balloons, etc, etc? Completely dismissing my explanation that he was a dork and that’s what dorks do when they’re awake.
She also seemed to get quite confused in places but I don’t think she’s been editing for that long so I’m going to give her the benefit of the doubt and stick with her for now.

As to next steps: I’m going through her suggestions and corrections this week. Next week I’m going to sit with her and triangulate some of her comments with the comments made by a friend who kindly ‘beta’ read the manuscript before I sent it to the editor. A ‘beta’ reader is basically someone you trust who reads the manuscript through with a view to critiquing the plot rather than the language. You’re aiming for an objective and independent viewpoint with this! From there it may take me a few weeks to implement and get approval from The Grinch for all the changes. Once that’s done I’ll get down to the nitty-gritty of formatting for kindle etc.

In-between all this I’m still wrestling with a cover. When you don’t have many resources this is a pretty tough nut to crack: I recently found what could well be the perfect pic to use on the cover – at the bargain basement price of R5000. Yup R5k for a photie that I would have to tweak! Needless to say the search continues….

Have a good weekend. The Sharks are due for a big one! I fear the real sardine run may begin on Saturday…!

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About iantennent

Ian was born in Durban in 1973 but grew up in Zululand and loved it. Thereafter, he got himself a degree, a wife and a child (in that order). He's lived and died several times in the UK and now he and his family are back in KZN, where they belong. He can play squash but he can’t kite-surf; he can make beer but not biltong. View all posts by iantennent

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