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Guest Post: Author Sue Moorcroft

All I’ve been thinking about for the past couple of weeks is the rewrites on my work-in-progress novel, Love & Freedom, which comes out on 1 June 2011. Rewrites, rewrites, rewrites, REWRITES.

Rewrites or editing or polishing or revisions – they come under several titles but they’re an inevitable part of a writer’s life. As soon as your work comes under the scrutiny of a fresh pair of eyes, every scamped piece of research, saggy bit, hole in the plot or break in the continuity might as well be highlighted in neon pink. To the fresh pair of eyes, that is, not to you – or you’d put it right before you sent it in.

The way that Choc Lit, my publisher, works, is to give me preliminary edits, first. In other words, they focus on big changes. In the case of Love & Freedom, that meant tightening a couple of early chapters into one and expanding a later chapter into two, putting in a few more hints leading to a twist in the plot etc. A few research questions were raised at the same time – but, yes, I was sure about an American getting a UK bank account, sure that there are buses that travel from Brighton to Rottingdean via Woodingdean and that the shops on Brighton beach are open on summer Sundays. I was equally as sure that if Honor, my heroine, stood in the entrance to Brighton Pier she’d be able to see the West Pier … But, just to be sure, I texted my son and he went and stood in position before he rang me – and said Honor would have to be about seventeen feet tall to see over the kiosks.

Oh-kay … So never be sure of your research before you’re really sure of your research.

Having spent about ten days making the changes, I’m now reading through the book on paper, because it looks quite different to the screen, and doing my final polish.

Final, that is, until the copy editor sends the whole thing back again – this time focusing on all the small stuff.

But, I really don’t mind. I like rewriting. I like the feeling of making the book as good as I can and finding the exact word or phrase that’s going to make my sentence dance or my hero smoulder. I like the publisher working with me to exactly the same end. It’s worth it.

Sue Moorcroft writes romantic novels of dauntless heroines and irresistible heroes. Want to Know a Secret?, All That Mullarkey and Starting Over are all published by Choc Lit. Combining that success with her experience as a creative writing tutor, she’s written a ‘how to’ book, Love Writing – How to Make Money From Writing Romantic and Erotic Fiction (Accent Press). Sue also writes short stories, serials, articles and courses and is the head judge for Writers’ Forum. Check out her Author Website, her Blog for news and writing tips and you’re welcome to befriend Sue on Facebook or Follow Sue on Twitter.

Comments

kath
Reply

How gorgeous is the cover to Love & Freedom? Welcome to the Nut Press, Sue! It’s lovely to have you here.

I’ve only been fortunate enough to work with an editor on my non-fiction writing so far but I do enjoy editing. I like tweaking something until it’s the best I think it can be.

Rebecca Emin
Reply

I so agree, edits can be so enjoyable, when you think of the end result. Isn’t it strange how things look different on paper as well, I often spot mistakes on paper that I’ve read through multiple times on screen and not noticed.

The cover of ‘Love and Freedom’ is so gorgeous. I’d add it to my wish list, if it wasn’t already on there!

leah fleming
Reply

Having just finished massive re writes for the forthcoming Titanic novel The Captain’s Daughter. I heartlily agree with your article re. edits. We learn so much from that process, hard as it sometimes is to see lines crossed out or queried. My editor has made me look at last sentences of every paragraph etc and tightened up sloppy dialogue. You have to be humble in this business and flexible but able to stand firm to things you feel must be left. As Stephen King said, ” Write the first draft with door closed and second with it open.”

Liz Harris
Reply

An interesting posting, Sue.

I totally agree with your comment ‘I like rewriting. I like the feeling of making the book as good as I can and finding the exact word or phrase that’s going to make my sentence dance or my hero smoulder.’

There is little as exciting as seeing your book get better and better as you make each change – every improvement brings the story and characters alive to a greater degree, and that’s wonderful.

Liz X

Sue Moorcroft
Reply

Thanks for all your comments, folks, and glad the cover is exciting so much favourable comment.

Was just thinking that I treat editors as I used to treat my children: say ‘yes’ to everything I can – and when I say ‘no’ they know I mean it. 🙂

LSX

kath
Reply

Thanks Sue for your post and comment – treating editors as you would your children/squirrels sounds like good advice! Thanks everyone for dropping by and commenting.

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