Final edits

So, Mr Poole, we’re all really excited here about your
novel.  It’s going to be huge –
absolutely huge.  It just… well, it just
speaks to that kind of nameless angst we all have, you know?  Draws you in from the very first page.
Anyway, hope you won’t take this amiss, but it’s my job to
make a few suggestions about style, here and there?  Just – you know – in a first novel it’s often
hard to judge just what the reader will find in something you wrote.
I mean, I have very little to suggest on this one,
obviously. I don’t want to interfere with your distinctive voice.  But there were a few passages where I felt you
could convey your meaning a bit, well, a bit more succinctly…
Like what? Oh, well… erm… when Peter first sees Julie, at
the concert.  I mean, it’s brilliant,
obviously, that scene.  It’s like you’ve
taken a photograph of Julie as he sees her and you’re just playing it into the
reader’s mind a few lines at a time from the very top… her hair, her necklace, her top, her skirt… and then her
shoes.  Yeah.
Actually it’s the
shoes.  I just thought… you know, you’ve
done from the top of her head to her ankles in about a page, so then three
pages just on the shoes… It just seems…
Yeah!  A bit
much!  Exactly.  Just a little too long!  And then again, on their third date, when she
comes back to his apartment.  When she takes off her shoes, the way you’ve written it, it’s erm… the reader’s attention might wander a
bit after the first page or so, that’s all.
Oh – yes, and much later on, during the Raquel episode, where Julie’s furious with him and she
goes running, really pushing herself hard? 
And she gets back to her place and she’s run herself so hard that she’s
sweated stains right through her trainers? 
I mean, that is such a brilliant image! 
Of her rage, you know, just expressing itself but then emerging in kind of a tawdry way.  But, you know, once the
point’s been made, once the image is there, you could move on rather faster.  I mean, at the end of that section I felt
like I knew every millimetre of her sweaty trainers!  Every stitch, every shade of every sweat stain… Like my face had been pressed right up
against them for pages and pages… not a very pleasant image!  I mean, really.  Is it?
Moving on… anyway, there’s one more thing we have to talk about. Quite embarrassing!  Yeah – that’s right: I’m afraid it’s
the sex scene! Sorry… just doing my job. 
Look – don’t worry about it, OK? 
I mean everybody finds it hard to write a really convincing sex scene.
I just thought… the change of mood was really weird and I didn’t quite get why
you did it.  I mean, it was so heavy
and moody and then suddenly it’s more like farce as if you’re playing it for laughs, and –
What do I mean?
Oh.  Well… take this
bit. “Slowly drawing her hand back from his unbuckled belt, Julie gasped in
silent awe as four inches of manhood rose to sway proudly in front of her.  ‘Be gentle’ she whispered, wanting the full
experience of this behemoth, yet at the same time dreading – “ anyway, you get
the point?  I mean why play it for
Isn’t it? Oh. I thought it was funny. 
Erm… no, I don’t think I know why.  I just thought it was, erm… funny.  Doesn’t matter.
Anyway!  Later, she’s … well, she’s getting…the full four
inches, right, and she starts giggling a bit, then laughs out loud, just at the
point when he… when he climaxes.  That’s
fine, obviously.  But then later they’re
talking in bed and they both say what a great orgasm they’ve had and – I didn’t
really get that bit.  I mean, she didn’t
have an orgasm, did she? She just laughed at him.
What do you mean, that was the orgasm?
Oh.  Oh, right.
So later, when Peter has a fling with Raquel and he unzips
his pants and she just laughs straight off the moment she sees his… his full
four inches, that’s – ?
Right.  OK.  I misunderstood that. On the first reading.
So!  You might just
want to take those thoughts and just, you know… maybe a few short
rewrites.  Actually, if you could get it
from the 90,000 words it is now down to less than eighty that would be really
good.  It’s a better size for the
booksellers. Losing 10,000 words sounds like a lot, but actually I reckon you
could get that just from trimming the bits about ladies’ shoes. Maybe more.
Brilliant!  So –
what’s next?  Amanda told me that you
mentioned you’re already working on a second novel. That’s really
exciting!  Good for the marketing too,
actually.  Got a title you can share with
“Sales incentives?” 
Oooh!  What’s that about?  Yeah? 
Life and loves of the owner of a high street shop, eh? Falling for one
after another of his lady customers, I expect, if he’s anything like
Peter!  Sounds great!
So what does he sell? What sort of shop is it?  Oh hang on – on second thoughts, don’t tell
me.  Let me see if I can guess.

0 thoughts on “Final edits”

  1. As someone who works in publishing, I declare this to be the most realistic, spot-on thing you have ever written. Thank you for making coffee come out my nose, again. 🙂

  2. Thank you, Declan. Personally I consider this (Tomorrows World) to be the most realistic, spot-on thing I have ever written. I reckon I nailed it. But you have to be of a certain age and from a certain geographic region to get it (and I'm not sure whether you are or not…).

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