Monday, July 6, 2015

Elementals - The editing begins...

Well, it's that time again - the latest 'Work in Progress' begins the transition from my lap top to (eventually) the next Amazon publication - Yes, it's editing time. As I hand over the manuscript to Judi there is an air of excitement building in the pit of my stomach, or it could be nerves! 

This story is of Young Adult genre, sort of Harry Potter meets Indiana Jones, meets Lord of the Rings. I think I'm always nervous when I hand over the script, all the questions race through my mind... is it good enough, is it the best it can be, what if Judi doesn't like it... I still have the doubts. Strangely the doubts don't go away, ever! If you look at Russian Redemption and Invictus Part 1, they have some brilliant reviews, huge compliments from complete strangers, but it still doesn't eradicate the doubts or fears. 

Something else that doesn't help is rereading the story - not just the five or six times, that's fine, but when you get to the point that your mind 'auto corrects' spelling or grammar errors so the eye doesn't even see them, then it is time to stop, it is no longer effective or efficient. But it is so bloody frustrating.

Anyway, the WiP - Elementals. We start the editing phase, and I hate it. When the sections come back with red ink all over the place I feel depressed - we're not talking throwing myself off a tall building depressed, more of 'humph, how did I get that so wrong' depressed. I dream of the day I'll submit a manuscript to Judi and it comes back with almost no red writing highlighting my errors - I fear we are a way off from that place. On the upside, at least it stops Judi from getting bored, eh? I absolutely loved writing it though, probably more than any I've written to date. To immerse myself into a child based fantasy was like washing off forty years of grown up. To reconnect with an innocence that sees the world a whole lot differently than adults, and to be able to walk, talk and observe the world without the burden of real life was exhilarating. I had the help of my twelve year old daughter to keep me 'young' as we planned story boards, explored scenario's and recorded details through the eye's of a child, another fantastic experience - talk about role reversal!

There also seems to be a bit of a perception that a YA story requires less research - this is completely untrue. As an author there is a responsibility to have just as much detail as any other book, the challenge is to communicate it in an appropriate manner. Why? Well, it is my view that a good book fuels the imagination of the reader, and no one has an imagination quite like youngsters. My writing is fiction, it's not real, but I love to weave the story's with facts, with real locations, with actual truisms; during a recent visit to the Amazon forums I saw a poster called Anna Karenina describe the difference between fiction and fantasy as being:-

"One hasn't happened, but could - the other hasn't happened and can't"

And that is why I research so much, I want the reader to think 'hmmm, this could be true', it brings a different dimension to the story.

An example is a book titled 'View from the 6th Floor - an Oswald Story' by Elizabeth Horton-Newton. A really enjoyable read that makes various references to the JFK assassination; it's not a conspiracy theory story, it's a kind of romance between old friends but suggests enough fact to make the reader ask 'did it happen that way?', it certainly lays it out in a manner that suggests that it could have - and that's a great achievement from a book.

That is the same reaction I want from readers of my books, I want them to be drawn into the story, invest in the characters, and have enough fact to anchor them to the real world, whilst encouraging the imagination to wander outside of the confines, to explore alternative avenues, not quite alternative realities.... yet.

So now Elementals starts to breathe. With Judi's skills and advice the story of Granddad Bert and the family adventure will take on it's own life, released onto the Amazon stage to do it's own thing. (hopefully before Christmas). Now I have to look at cover options and the other peripheral requirements needed to complete the wrap and pack. If anybody fancies reading an Advance Review Copy let me know.

Onwards and upwards!

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