How to write a book…

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Writing and editing a book are strange things.  First of all you have an idea, and you write it down.  Then you have some more ideas, and you add them to the first one.  Before long you’re sitting at your desk, typing away in the dead of night, ideas flowing, desperately trying not to be distracted by the latest sports news on the internet – something that you only checked an hour ago, and let’s be honest, who are Swansea City going to buy at two o’clock in the morning anyway?  And you do this night after night for months and months.  And then you edit your work, time and again, until you’ve got a tightly-knit piece of work.

And then it’s done.

And then you pass your manuscript to your infinitely better half, Becky, to edit – cue many a frosty bedtime when you take exception to the amount of scribbling she is doing all over your pages – and like it or not you realise it’s not done.  But at least then you can go back to writing to produce a second draft from these edits, and then, finally, it’s done.

Then you send your work to a professional editor – in my case the very lovely and eternally patient Jackie Bates.  In fairness Jackie did prepare me for what being edited is like, but it’s still an eye-opener.  It’s a bit like handing in an essay to be marked at school.  I never thought that someone would be so thorough as to consider the merits of every one of the 95000 words I’d written, but by the time you get to the other side of the editing process, you’ll have done the same.  No matter how constructive, taking criticism isn’t easy, but the version of The Hand of an Angel written on the back of these comments is so much better – tighter and leaner with padding removed, and with further development of story arcs where they needed it.

So I now have the book that I always wanted, and it’s done.

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