Monday, February 14, 2011

Progress report

After a hiatus while I’ve been ill, things are getting exciting again on the publishing front.

Several weeks ago my sister Jen went through the book and made her comments and suggestions for improvement. Thank you, Jen  - especially for your help with crossing out commas, and also for your no nonsense bullshit-detecting.

Now I have got my typescript back from Chrissie, who has had it for a couple of weeks for proofreading and copy-editing. She’s done rather more than the brief. There are pencil marks everywhere and not just where she’s crossed out commas (of which I am apparently over-fond). The margins are full of suggestions and criticisms and questions. I’m grateful to her: she’s spent a lot of time on it and done a thorough job. (Thanks, Chrissie.)When we crit each other’s work we always say to each other – “Take what you want and ignore the rest.”

I have accepted 90% of her micro edits and 10% of her macro ones. It has been a challenge to weigh her comments and to see if I agree with them and if I want to make her suggested changes. Sometimes I think her macro-suggestions come from her crime writer’s stance (where plot is king), sometimes from her personality (which is different from mine but which necessarily informs her characters’ motivations) and sometimes I embrace them as what works best in my novel. I could be wrong of course. Chrissie is better read than me and has a good eye: it could be that I should be embracing them all. But it’s my novel, and what I say goes!

Thankfully, now Dave and I are publishing it, what I say goes for the cover too.  (People outside publishing don’t realise that the writer usually has no control of the cover. And just for the record, when the publisher sent me the pink frilly one for Zuzu’s Petals I cried, because I think it makes the book look frothy and shallow.)

The second bit of progress is that the original artwork which Zoe designed and crafted so beautifully in Sheffield


has finally reached Isaac in San Francisco (phew, I thought it was lost in the post)

Isaac in Isaac and Wendy and Lux

so he can begin to work on the photography and the layout for the book cover. He emailed me his first photograph yesterday and I was blown away by the clarity and luminosity of the photo and yet again by his immense skill. I am VERY lucky to have such a talented, helpful and generous family. Thank you, dear Zoe and Isaac.

And as this post seems to be full of thanks, I also should say thanks to my friend Ella of deadasweknowit for the original idea which Z and I are making real.

This is sounding more and more like a Bafta speech.

Now I need to get the words tweaked and  perfect and ready. Onward and upward.



Christine said...

I hope I didn't overdo it with my comments! I got a bit obsessed and then of course 'to a man with a hammer, everything looks like a nail'. Yes, plot is vital for the crime-writer but the characters are very important too, just as important, I feel, because if you don't believe in the characters and think they act plausibly, you don't care about what happens.

Sue Hepworth said...

It's fine. And the book will be better for your intervention, Chrissie! x