So, (I love that we can break all the rules now and start a paragraph with ‘so.’) one of my Curtis Browns buds asked me what the editing process is like when you have an agent and it occurred to me that some of you out there might like to know a bit about it as well. I can only tell you about my own experiences with my own agent – Marianne Gunn O’Connor – and I’m sure every agent does things a bit differently. When I write my novels, I have a few beta testers, namely a handful of teenagers who might write me a paragraph of what they loved or didn’t like quite so much, but mostly I get a ‘yeah’ or a nay.’ Thankfully haven’t had a ‘nay’yet! But its not quite the in depth analysis that ever writer needs. I suppose I could have paid for a critique, but then I met Marianne and she set her freelance editor on me.
Marianne is a one-woman-band agency in Dublin, Ireland. She has a couple of sub-agents in Europe and America and thus is very busy handling her already published authors and getting stuff out there to sell, sell, sell. So she employs a lovely editor, Paddy, to read everything I write. Which is fab. Not only does Paddy pretty much give me a line by line feedback on my grammar and punctuation and where a sentence might need tightening, she also points out plot holes or where I could add an extra story strand or if an area isn’t working, all those things that you really need to know. Because, by the time my work gets to Paddy I’ve already written several drafts and can’t tell if its good anymore or just utter twoddle. I become too close to it. Paddy steps in and shines a light on those things that need fixing. And then of course I ‘see it’ so clearly (why didn’t I before?). But she gives me the motivation to attack the manuscript again to a point it will be publisher-ready. She reads it again and we go back and forth until we feel it is polished. Marianne then takes it out to publishers (I have two out at the monument, one since Easter and the waiting is AGONISING!!!)
You can read the first chapter of The Unadjusteds for free here. Which is now on like, draft number 10 and is one my novels out with publishers.
Some works didn’t require a major re-write, just an extra story strand here or there. One I recently re-drafted was the most time consuming as it involved changing the tense from past to present. But its much more effective. And then I had to create and extra story strand that rolled through the whole book, plus add a lot more social media references (I’m still learning). This novel is Panic and the first chapter can be found under novel extracts above.
Some authors are afraid of the re-writes. I quite enjoy them, especially when I’m given such good direction. That’s when you make the changes so it is most appealing to your market. And that’s pretty much it. If you have any questions, please drop a comment in.