Friday, 16 November 2007

Reading a Manuscript Part Two (Part Four): That’s All Folks

Asides from these general comments, I have also given Dave a set of specific notes – about fifty or so – on particular sentences/ phrases that needs a tweak. And that’s it. I always think these notes sound a lot in one go, but (I hope) that once digested, they all make sense and don’t seem half as much work as they might do initially.

How do these compare to other editorial notes? I would say that they’re broadly representative of the kind of comments I normally give, though certainly at the upper end of things: Dave is an experienced writer, having written a novel before, so I know I can challenge him on a technical level that newer writers might struggle with – and also, that he’ll have the confidence to take it. Every book is different – I’ve had manuscripts come in at almost double the right length, and have had spent weeks deleting and editing down; I’ve had others where I’ve picked up the pen myself and got stuck into the rewriting. So it all varies. But Dave’s book, from an editorial point of view, is one of the nice ones: there’s 60,000-odd words that only require tweaking rather than rewriting, leaving space for us to play with and bring out some of the book’s best bits.

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