From A to P – F – Frantic Editing
This post was posted in September 2011.
In July 2011 I put up a post here on editing my novel, The Istanbul Puzzle. I had spent six weeks doing a thorough edit based on suggestions from my publisher Harper Collins. I submitted my heavily edited version soon after and hoped that that would be it, bar a final check for minor problems.
I was wrong.
A few weeks later the manuscript came back. Another editor at Harper Collins had gone through it and had a number of general issues for me to consider, as well as cuts and suggestions for every page. At first I wondered was this unusual, was my manuscript in need of extra help because it was so poorly written. The monster of self-doubt doesn’t need much encouragement to come trampling across the garden!
So, I called a long published author friend, with a dozen novels under his belt. He told me what was happening was more common that not these days and was called a “second pass” edit. Slowly I learn the truth.
And the thought that came to me as I scanned through all the suggestions was this; don’t ever get involved in trying to get published with a major house if you don’t want to work hard. Very hard. Like seven days a week 3 – 4 hours a day until your brain hurts and your patience frays atomically thin.
But I’ve survived. And it’s over. I submitted the revised version yesterday. And I have to say that the suggestions from HC were really very good. A much better novel is emerging. The changes are in the following areas:
- cuts for pace, there were many of these and every rambling paragraph or word has been spotted by HC,
- cuts in myths and legends. I had packed in too many. The new version sticks to the very best.
- Sean and Isabel, getting their relationship right, and describing Sean more clearly early on will help readers understand the main characters better.
- The ending. I have twisted the ending further, adding depth and a smoother ride to the bloody finale.
The novel stands at 100,700 words now. About 7,000 have been cut. It is with my editor. I await her response. I am quite happy to have another run at it, if she feels it needs it, but with the date for publication fast approaching (Jan 19) and a self-imposed deadline for a first draft of my next novel in the series, The Jerusalem Puzzle, coming up in January too, I do hope the next edit will be a little less taxing.
For a first time published author with Harper Collins UK the big surprise for me in the past few months has been the level of hard work and the nitty-gritty editing that has been required. The editors at HC spotted every little thing that I let go, that niggled and I passed over. Don’t let any one ever tell you that the art of editing is dead at major publishers. It certainly isn’t at Harper Collins Avon.
Here is a slideshow of scenes from The Istanbul Puzzle. I will be posting more of my story from aspiring to published author over the next few months. Please subscribe on the right, down a little, if you want to learn more.
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What is The Istanbul Puzzle?
The Istanbul Puzzle is a thriller/mystery novel, first published January 19, 2012. It's the first in a series of novels featuring Sean Ryan and Isabel Sharp, being published by Harper Collins and a series of other publishers around the world. The Istanbul Puzzle starts when Sean discovers a friend and colleague has been beheaded in Istanbul.
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