Manuscripts, Mortal Peril and Pasta
This is my first post for GHB, and I’m really pleased to have been asked to join the team! I did do a guest blog ages ago (you can find it here if you want), but if you don’t know me I’ve written the Small Blue Thing trilogy. I finished that a while back and this year I’ve been mostly writing about a whole new set of characters.
Two weeks ago I sent the first draft of my new book to my editor, then sat back to gnaw my nails. It’s a scary business, submitting a manuscript. What if they don’t enjoy the story? What if they don’t think it’s original enough? What if they (deep breath) pour scorn on your efforts? However many books you’ve written, and however successful they’ve been, I’m sure that we all still have that moment of self doubt.
So I waited for the email. My editor wanted to discuss her response over lunch but I asked for the ‘big picture’ comments first. These are the sorts of comments like ‘London is a great setting for this book, but I think Paris would be a more compelling location’, or ‘Have you considered making your champion gymnast a beginner at horse-riding instead?’, or even ‘This is a wonderful story about a dog, but I think it would be better if it was about mouse’ and you realise six more months of research and re-writing is going to be needed. As I waited for that email I chewed my nails again. The email came and I stomped around and shouted at the dog and stomped around some more. Finally I read the email more slowly and realised that, as usual, my editor was right, and I needed to change some bits. Luckily I get to keep London, but some other things will change, and actually the book will be better for it.
We had a great lunch and over pasta discussed ways in which I could put my main character in mortal peril (which caused quite a few raised eyebrows from the people sitting at the next table). I’m looking forward to telling you more about the book in the next few months!
Which brave person do you get to review your stories? And shall I drop my MC off a tall building?