Guess what came through the post today!
On second thoughts, don’t guess – you’ll never get it. It was a brooch – a Cranachan raspberry brooch, actually – which I will wear with pride.
You might have noticed that the blogging went a little bit quiet there – and there is a reason: I have got my head down to the final edits. As we speak, the book is being typeset. After that, I’ll proofread (as well as a handful of others) and then… then Fir for Luck is being posted out to a reviewer near you.
To be honest, the whole editing process has been a lot less bruising than I expected. I had visions of old-style teacher red pen, crossing out precious sections of the book, wreaking havoc with my characters and imposing changes of every description. The reality has been very different: a proper dialogue, about characters and word choice (I use ‘just’ a lot), punctuation (I’m fond of ellipsis…) and all sorts of debates about whether something makes sense or not. I’ll give you an example:
As you can see, it follows the pattern: the editor raises a concern, I argue my case, she agrees. Or, more often: she raises a concern and I see reason straight away and change it without argument. Sometimes the exchanges go on for longer. But what is lovely is this – they are not trying to edit out Me. They are making sure that there are no obstacles to understanding, nothing that could be criticised or come back to haunt me. They’re protecting me. They are making sure that by the time the book gets out there, it’s absolutely the best it can be. They are giving me the best chance of success.
Of course that means having to take a bit of criticism on the chin at times. Sentences like ‘This is clunky’, ‘This doesn’t make sense’ and ‘Still clunky’ appeared in the margins fairly regularly. But I’d much rather they told me than that some reviewer shredded me on Goodreads (though they probably still will).
I have decided that the best way to look at it is that it’s not just (tee-hee) my book anymore. Anne and Helen of Cranachan have invested so much in this manuscript, that I owe them that. It’s become a team thing.
The other thing that has me buzzing is seeing what’s ahead. You know that feeling on a ride, when you see the car in front go over the top and into the dip, and you hear them screaming with exhilaration, and your stomach knots because you know you’re going to be next? Well, one by one, my fellow Cranachan authors have had their cover reveals – their books covers are out there for people to see, recognise, to buy.
First there was Helen MacKinven’s Buy Buy Baby, out NEXT WEEK. Then John Fulton’s atmospheric cover for The Beast on the Broch hit the Twittersphere…
…followed only last weekend by Michelle Sloan’s The Revenge of Tirpitz.